Enhancing Your Office – Excel and SharePoint

Organizations deal primarily with people. Whether keeping track of suppliers, vendors, customers or staff, updated and detailed records are the cornerstone of any successful business. Microsoft Excel is one of the top tools used by organizations to accomplish these and other tasks.

People use Excel for increasingly creative purposes. Excel sheets that contain valuable information tend to collect on people’s computers. They begin to act as mini-databases that include things like calculations, contact lists, invoices and other information necessary to the day to day operation of your organization.  Realizing the potential, Microsoft bundled useful features that allow Excel and SharePoint to complement one another.

SharePoint’s “document workspaces” allows for the seamless file storage, collaboration, and management of documents created within the Microsoft Office suite. Organizations that utilize information stored in a spreadsheet such as payroll, account statements, inventories, contact lists, or schedules are often modified by more than one individual. To increase productivity and to make collaborative efforts more seamless, many organizations have begun using features of SharePoint that integrate Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.  This capability has allowed organizations of all sizes to work smarter, faster, and with greater precision.

A brief demonstration will help illustrate these benefits.  Suppose you have a list of employees that needs to be shared within your organization.

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Assume that one of the entries needs to be modified, deleted, or a new record needs to be added. While the changes are simple enough to make using Excel, sharing the new data is not as easy. If one person makes any change, all of the other people now have records that are out of date. In order to share the updated list amongst the staff, emails with file attachments must be sent, workstations need to be manually updated, or files must be physically moved using things like flash drives. Even with five employees, making sure everyone has the same updated files can be a hassle. As organizations grow, email and sharing physical disks becomes an increasingly cumbersome process.

By creating the same contact list using SharePoint, information is securely available anywhere with internet access and it is displayed in a familiar form. If one user makes a modification to the list, changes are tracked (with different version numbers), and ALL individuals with access can work with the most updated list.

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Most importantly, if you can use Excel, you will be at ease constructing the same list using SharePoint. For these purposes SharePoint lists operate in similar manner to Excel spreadsheets. Just imagine working with a spreadsheet in a web browser instead of in an office application. In addition, any work done on SharePoint can be exported to Excel with ease. With a SharePoint solution, every person in the organization can have access to either read or modify the contact list. Contact changes can be tracked and synchronized so you are always working with the latest version.