Transitioning from Spreadsheets to Power Apps: Modern Data Management with Microsoft 365

The Shift from Spreadsheets

Are you considering transitioning from spreadsheets to Power Apps for your data management needs? You’re in good company. Many organizations, like yours, are still reliant on Excel spreadsheets. But if you’re sticking to the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mindset, you might be missing out on the benefits of modern data management.

Using spreadsheets to manage data can be effective for certain tasks. However, as the complexity and volume of your data grows, limitations and problems can quickly arise, such as: 

Challenges with Traditional Spreadsheets

+ Scalability: Spreadsheets aren’t designed to handle massive datasets. As the size of the dataset grows, performance can deteriorate, leading to slow response times and even crashes. 

+ Data Integrity: Accidentally overwriting or deleting data in spreadsheets is easy. Additionally, spreadsheets lack robust mechanisms for validating data entry, which can lead to data inconsistencies and errors. 

+ Lack of Version Control: Spreadsheets often lack built-in version control. This can make it challenging to track changes, identify when a mistake was made, or revert to a previous state. 

+ Security Concerns: Spreadsheets, when shared among various users, can be vulnerable to unauthorized access and edits. Moreover, many spreadsheets are emailed or shared via non-secure methods, leading to potential data breaches. 

+ Limited Automation and Integration: Despite some scripting capabilities, spreadsheets can’t rival the automation of specialized database systems. 

+ Complexity with Complex Queries: Intricate data querying is challenging in spreadsheets.

+ Data Redundancy: Redundant data is common in spreadsheets without a structured system. This can increase the chances of errors and inconsistencies. 

+ Backup and Recovery: Many desktop-based spreadsheet tools don’t offer comprehensive backup and recovery solutions. 

+ Audit Trail: Determining who made specific changes in spreadsheets is difficult due to the lack of detailed audit trails. 

+ Dependency on Individual Knowledge: Complex spreadsheets often become dependent on their creator’s expertise. 

While spreadsheets are a valuable tool for many tasks, it’s essential to recognize their limitations. For larger or more complex data management needs, using a dedicated database system is more effective.  

The good news? Microsoft 365 license holders can upgrade for just a few more dollars each month and discover a better way to handle their data. Here we’ll explain how. 

Transitioning from Spreadsheets to Model-Driven Power Apps

Transitioning from Spreadsheets to Model-Driven Power Apps​

When transitioning from spreadsheets to Power Apps, especially if you’re dealing with a business-critical spreadsheet overwhelmed with data, we can assist in migrating that data seamlessly to a model-driven Power App.

By transitioning from spreadsheets to Power Apps, specifically with Microsoft Dataverse as the backbone, you can manage data more effectively. Not only can you structure and apply a multi-relationship system to it, but you can also shape how the data is displayed on screen to the end user. 

We recently assisted a real estate-focused law firm managing over 600 records for several clients solely through a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet had a column for subject matter, client number, date, assignment, attorney’s initials, deadlines, and status/notes column that colleagues could just keep adding to. 

The downside? Tracking all changes within that spreadsheet was challenging. Moreover, it contained a significant amount of erroneous data. For instance, several records had identical addresses with street name typos, making it prone to output errors.

Single source of truth, saving time, reducing human error 

Screenshot of the model-driven Power App interface, showcasing the organized data transitioned from a spreadsheet

After cleansing their data, we built the law firm a model-driven Power App which displays all their active clients, asset managers, and active properties under management on separate single pages, each with interlinking relationship data. 

For example, the properties page now displays all active properties under management. Click on a property and see for example, multiple tenants and tenancy agreements linked to that property. Plus, it’s easy to see which asset manager is managing the property and which attorney is responsible for the legal side. 

We also introduced a new tenant business process workflow for the law firm, with version history, and set up workflows to alert colleagues when certain tasks are past due. 

Attorneys and asset managers can also see the clients they’re assigned to. And it’s now possible for them to filter data and narrow it down to for example, ‘active tenants’, ‘deals due today’, ‘deals due tomorrow’, ‘deals past due’, or ‘inactive tenants’.  

Colleagues can also now liaise and communicate with each other more efficiently within the platform in real time. For example, instead of using a ‘notes column’ in Excel to add tasks and status updates, they can leave each other messages, email or even call each other within the system, without interrupting their flow of work. 

The Next Logical Step? Introducing Power Pages

Preview of Power Pages interface, the next step after transitioning from spreadsheets to Power Apps

The next logical step for this law firm, with their internal administration now running smoothly, is introducing them to the Power Pages app.

So, instead of manually collecting information from tenants and clients via email, paper, or fax, Power Pages allows these individuals to self-serve – they can log in and directly upload the required documents.

Imagine the potential time and cost savings…

Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you get the most out of your Microsoft 365 license.