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The Perils of Storing your Membership Database in Excel


Many service-based business owners store and manage membership databases in Excel spreadsheets. Excel can be a great tool for small amounts of data or simple forms. It has limitations because of its manual nature and does not allow you to connect information or perform actions within the system.

As your business grows, most users outgrow Excel’s intended functionality and run into the following common spreadsheet issues:

Difficulties in sharing and editing data with co-workers

Even if you enable multi-user editing and save your Excel file to a shared server, there is still a lack of collaboration support. When multiple users edit the same file, errors can occur, which results in overwriting each other’s work.

It is even more inefficient to edit outside the system and update or merge the data after another user has done so. It is a time-consuming process that can cause multiple copies.

There is insufficient security or user permissions

Excel allows you to secure and protect data with passwords, but there are better options if you need a level of user permission within Excel.

Due to limited security controls, some business managers will receive multiple copies of the data and will be unable to track who has seen and accessed it.

As data volume grows, performance issues arise

Excel limits the number of records per sheet, and separating the data into multiple sheets or files is difficult to manage. The accumulation of large amounts of data results in performance issues.

Lack of data documentation and inability to track changes

People who have unmonitored access to the file—whether protected—can change, manipulate, and duplicate the data.

Users can easily input information because of its simplicity and lack of data documentation. However, this process is prone to error. It is difficult to track who made changes and even more difficult to validate.

Tasks that are tedious and repetitive

Excel is useful for storing and managing small amounts of data. However, if your company grows and tedious and repetitive tasks hamper you, it is a sign that you need to look for better solutions.

Overcoming membership database issues

Most business owners appreciate Excel’s simplicity. They hire an Excel expert to manage and track all the data to avoid these scenarios. However, Excel cannot perform certain functions that are simple for a real database or membership management platform.

A cloud-based membership management platform solves these issues while providing more flexibility and a more robust system for managing your members—all with no coding required. Database-driven solutions can further automate tasks, reduce redundancies caused by human error, and increase data security. It also provides a method of organizing and managing information that users can easily access.

The ability to manage and track members, customers, and even employees in real-time—all in one place—is one of the most significant benefits of a database and can provide a huge boost to your efficiency and productivity
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Marimar dela Torre
AOT Customer Success Executive

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