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Spreadsheet or Database? What's the difference between them?
An Example of a Spread Sheet
Now I run a company which supplies administrative systems called Custom Business Solutions Online. We supply services to businesses ranging from start-ups to large national businesses and one of the main questions I get asked is do I need a Spreadsheet or a database?
So I thought I’d write and article and direct people to it so that they can make there own informed decisions.
There are 3 main questions which you need to think about before deciding which solution is best for your needs.
- How big is my data project and how large will it grow?
- Do I want control over the data entry?
- How will I use the data?
Difference between Spreadsheet and a Database
Visulisation of Large
How big is my data project?
Now this is meant as a general rule of thumb and should not decide on it’s own which method to use.
- If you have less than 2000 records
- It is only going to be used for short term use
- Only one user needs to access and change the data at any one time
- If you have over 2000 records
- It is for long term use and is expected to grow
- Multiple users may needs to access and change data at one time.
Do I Want to Control Data Entry
Now this is a very important question:
- Not concerned with the types of data for example format, style, data types etc
- Duplicate entries is not a problem
- More concerned with quick entry rather than saving as I enter data
- Concerned with datatypes, format of data or anything to do with data structure.
- More control over duplicate entries e.g. usernames
- more concerned with saving data than quick entry, data integrity.
How will I use the Data?
Finally How will I use my data, this is an important question, but maybe not as important as the others because both excel files can be converted to databases and databases can be converted to spreadsheets. Though converting spreadsheets to databases is much harder and requires more knowledge to be successful.
- Only Viewed Once/used one way
- For Calculations and Graphs
- Manipulated from many prospectives
- Store data,
- Run queries to find small data within big sets
- Produce reports.
An Informed decision
Now that you are in possession of the key questions, you can now make an informed decision to benefit your business and customers. One final point is that databases are easier to control access and security systems. So if you are storing sensitive or confidential data including customer information then I advise you use a database with access privilages to ensure only those that need the data have access to it. I hope this helps and if you need any more information then please either leave me a comment or contact me team.