We Seem To Be Moving Backwards Sometimes

I just completed an Excel application for a large International client wherein there is a small Excel file that they send out to collect information peridiodically from offices around the world.  This file does not collect any data, it merely takes what they type in and pushes it back to an Access database through a UNC across the WAN that ALL users are connected to.  They can add as many records as necessary and can even edit records they altready entered if they have not been processed.  All the admin has to do is assign rights for users one-time so they can push (and pull) data from the Access database. 

This application is very simple to deploy and maintain and the data ends up in the database instantly in real time. An inexpensive, efficient solution.

Well …  the user just came back to me and asked whether they could just email out the Excel file so the user can type in their data and email it back because HE IS AFRAID THEY MIGHT NOT BE CONNECTED TO THE NETWORK WHEN THEY WANT TO USE THIS THING ….. and also because he realy doesn’t understand how this thng works.

I replied something to the effect that all these users have to be connected to the network SOMETIME (they’re all in major offices) and they should just wait until they ARE connected to use the spreadsheet file.

This is the second time this EXACT thing has happened in two separate corporations in the last year.  A major example of this happened a couple of years ago as well in an especially galling scenario (where not only was the technology not used because they couldn’t get in their heads why the application worked – but I was still told I couldn’t even use the technology I developed for them anywhere else after regardless without their approval). 

People just cannot get their heads around using a spreadsheet in any way other than the way they have always used it.  How is this allowed to happen?  How can we move forward with this kind of attitude in the “wilds” ??

This is a BIG problem and one that should be worked on by all of us.

About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
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5 Responses to We Seem To Be Moving Backwards Sometimes

  1. Agreed, but I don’t know *how* to work on it. I can try to educate my clients, but that only works about 1/2 the time. Should I charge them more for picking the wrong solution? Or refuse the work?

    As much as I don’t like to write “dictator” apps, this is one reason they are good. If the user doesn’t know it’s Excel, they won’t care that it doesn’t act like Excel.

  2. Biggus Dickus says:

    Too true Dick …. frustrating though.

    Other Dick

  3. sam says:

    Store the Excel file as a template on a Network folder, create a shortcut to this template on the users desktop…No Network….No File Open ! problem solved

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Yes I could do that and I have done that many, many times. But the point is that then I end up with a whole bunch of individual Excel files that I then have to collect all the data from all the sources. At the same time I have to worry about them saving the file back into the correct location etc. etc…. No problem.

      I just think that by using OLEDB to move the data back and forth to an Access database I have more control and the data is in there for the manager to use instantly. No fuss no bother – no traditional Excel limitations 🙂


  4. Pingback: Do users not want to use what they don’t understand? « Excel Tips Monster

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