Microsoft Excel was launched over 3 decades ago in 1985. Its simple interface and range of functionality meant it quickly became a staple in almost every business. Its versatility means it can be used to manage data on everything from employee records, to finances, customers and orders. This lead to many small businesses running their entire operation in Excel.

However, for these businesses there will reach a point where you start to outgrow Excel and have a need for something more.

Why is Excel so popular for business?

It comes down to that fact that there are no cost barriers, how easy it is to get started with, to use and how familiar most individual users are with the tool. We are huge fans of Excel, its ability to manipulate and to visualise data is great. Excel is the most logical starting point for small businesses and startups so it’s no wonder most use it. However, there are some limitations of Excel;

  1. Multi-user access is difficult and normally creates version control issues
  2. There is no audit capability to track access, changes or mistakes
  3. The smallest input or formula error can have massive consequences, ruining models and reports that your business needs
  4. There is a limit to the data quantity in Excel and the visualisations available
  5. It’s difficult to control access in Excel
  6. It is difficult to integrate fully into other applications
  7. It can be hard to automate using Excel with most things being manual and any changes taking time to carry out.

What do I do when my business has outgrown Microsoft Excel?

Growing and established companies need to manage their resources and data effectively and the limitations of Excel can be time consuming and risky. Naturally, there are solutions available that are targeted towards SMEs, that grow with your business and help you manage your resources and data effectively.

Solutions like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Business Central, work for most small and growing businesses. Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-round package that manages your operations, accounting, sales, projects and resource planning in the same system. It is cloud based so you don’t have to worry about hosting or servers.  Access can be role based, on any device, and uses a fantastic new visual interface with built in data visualisation as standard. It offers great integration with Office 365, including Excel, to allow easy exports so you will never be too far away from a spreadsheet. It can also be easily extended using AppSource where there are a range of third party solutions available.

Another useful tool that integrates with Dynamics 365 Business Central is Power BI. It is Microsoft’s business intelligence and data visualisation tool that powers all dashboards, reports and charts in Dynamics 365 Business Central. So using it is a good way to take your data beyond Excel as it’s easy to connect to other data sources as well. This can be great for reporting and data analysis.

Manage your customers better

If you’re only using Excel to track your sales opportunities or customer accounts, it’s easy for leads to fall through the cracks. Worse, you may not even know they have fallen through. It’s complicated to assign your sales team to particular contacts or opportunities.

Again Dynamics 365 Business Central gives you this capability out of the box and if you require more you can fully integrate it with Dynamics 365 for Sales. It gives you the ability to prioritise sales leads based on revenue potential. To keep track of all customer interactions and get guidance on best upsell, cross-sell, and renewal opportunities throughout your sales cycle.

You can accelerate the quote to cash process. Act quickly on sales-related enquiries, manage service requests, and process payments—all from within Outlook. Gain a comprehensive overview of your service tasks, workloads, and employee skills to effectively assign resources and accelerate case resolution.


For more information on Dynamics 365 Business Central download our comprehensive product guide or visit our Dynamics 365 Business Central Page for more information.

To talk to one of our Dynamics 365 consultants please contact us today.