If you're two guys in a garage, you can ignore this post, I am sure Excel works fine for you.


Everyone else, I'm talking to you.


Why rely on Excel when there are so many cool cloud products that can help you manage your business?


For example - - to communicate better w/designers and external vendors, Proof HQ offers an awesome solution for managing feedback and approval of creative projects. To share, manage and access business files online, I love Box.com.


I think for general collaboration, and on the sales/marketing side of the building, there is wide-spread acceptance of cloud products, but when it comes to more comprehensive solutions for managing product data, finances, etc, I think people shy away from the cloud, but I think that is a mistake too.


For example, if you’re still using Excel to manage your product data, you’ve probably   noticed that managing change and collaboration with a global supply  chain is an organizational nightmare. Excel is not-collaborative,  creates multiple versions of the same doc, and relies on a Microsoft  product.


From the Arena Blog, here are 5 reasons why Excel is not ideal for managing engineering data.


  1. As your  product goes through multiple revisions, one-dimensional record keeping makes real collaboration nearly  impossible.
  2. BOMs are highly relational, which makes managing your product record  on several static spreadsheets extremely challenging.
  3. Excel can’t easily track product compliance requirements in the same place as the BOM, which leads to  oversight of critical compliance requirements.
  4. Multiple internal and external teams need access to the BOM to edit  the product record throughout the product life-cycle, and in many cases,  multiple versions are created as “save as” docs - another great way to make mistakes.
  5. Spreadsheets cannot communicate with other business systems such as  ERP.


Arena offers a BOM and change management cloud solution, but are there any other lightweight cloud products you use as an engineer or manufacturer (that can replace Excel?)