Organizations that have relied on Microsoft Excel for years are increasingly coming to realize that the tool simply isn’t up to the task of managing projects. As a result, more and more businesses are beginning to look for alternatives to Excel.

The Chief of Finance at Adobe Systems has chosen to move away from Microsoft Excel given the tool’s inability to keep track of which jobs have been filled at the software company, this article from the Wall Street Journal reports. Mark Garrett, Executive Vice President and CFO of Adobe, said: “I don’t want financial planning people spending their time importing and exporting and manipulating data, I want to focus on what the data is telling us.” Mr. Garrett’s comments will ring true for anyone using Excel for any kind of planning.

In Excel, workers spend too much time moving data around, making the management of projects more difficult and leaving less time for analyzing the data to make informed decisions. In this post, we’ll look at some of the limitations when it comes to using Excel for any kind of management, and look at why these limits are prompting decision-makers to look for alternatives to Excel.

Limitations leading to alternatives

Excel’s limitations regarding financial planning are pushing CFOs to look for an alternative. But the problems are apparent across all project planning. Let’s look at some of the most prevalent:

  • Jack of all trades, master of none: Both Excel’s strength and its weakness comes from its flexibility in dealing with data. Excel spreadsheets are not designed specifically for project managers, and therefore require substantial preparation and input to turn raw figures into useful project management data.
  • Changing data: project and resource managers know that resource data is subject to change at any given time. Project timelines change, workers leave, and budgets are cut. It’s incredibly difficult for a project manager to react in time using Excel.
  • Proficiency: to get the most functionality out of Excel, you need to really know your way around the tool. Trying to create resource models—that allow you to visualize the effects of pausing a project or reallocating resources, for example—takes a lot of expertise, and even then can still be very time-consuming.

These problems stem from Excel’s inability to manage tasks and keep track of resources.

Alternatives to Excel: your best option

If a lack of resource planning is the problem, then the solution should be to find alternatives to Excel which focus on resource management. A dedicated resource management solution offers a level of control over your resources that is required to manage projects effectively.

With resource modeling and forecasting, you can make more informed decisions based on the data you have. Project and resource managers can explore the impact of changing project elements—from extending timelines to reducing costs to modifying resource allocation.

Resource modeling is a key component of effective resource management. Where Tempus Resource, our sophisticated resource management tool, goes a step further is in its ‘What-If’ scenario planning. What-If analysis highlights where you are over-or-under-allocated on your resources to let you identify the very best resource deployment solutions for your projects. Advanced foresight lets you discover alternative resource allocations, visualizing how inevitable project changes may affect your costs and your people so you can prepare accordingly.

(Read more on how to integrate your Excel data into Tempus Resource here)

Upgrade your tools

Tempus Resource can integrate your Excel data into our dedicated resource management platform, letting you access functionality like those mentioned above with the data you already have.

And data integration isn’t complex/ At Tempus Resource, we’re passionate resource management mavens, and we understand how resource data is commonly structured and, subsequently, the best ways to deal with it. Tempus Resource includes import templates with audit trails that make transferring your resource data to our tool simple. Once imported, your Excel data is automatically structured, so you can instantly assemble your resources into a centralized pool with custom-created or standard views to group, sort, filter, and search for your resources.

The software also integrates with a number of other project resource management tools, like Smartsheet and Planview, or you can input your data directly into the software. The choice is up to you.

It’s time to find alternatives to Excel, but your search doesn’t have to be tiresome or tedious. Tempus Resource can upgrade your project resource data fast, so you spend less time importing and more time optimizing your resources.

To see how Tempus Resource can power-up your resource planning, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to arrange a free trial of the software.