Estimation, Software Development

Postcovid era: will you use Apps or will you continue to use Excel?

Nov, 09, 2021 | Read 3 min.

La época postcovid es una época de Apps, usa Apps

A new way of working

A pandemic such as the one we are experiencing brings inevitable changes. It is the capacity of adaptation what has made humanity grow. Many companies that did not believe in teleworking have had to adopt it in a forced way and in many occasions it has been for good, but what will happen when the vaccines take effect? will we continue working remotely or will we return to the traditional systems?

Many organizations are deciding to return to previous paradigms without paying attention to the productivity of their teams. In many cases, workers used to perform their tasks efficiently without having to come to the workplace, but don’t they realize that this is no longer possible?

No, it is not possible. The post-pandemic world, the post-covid world, will not be the same and companies will not be able to go back to the model they had before without risking losing everything. The same thing will happen with the digitalization of companies in general, in a world governed by Apps, they will no longer be able to go back to using Excel as a tool for everything, and they will not be able to do so because apps represent a competitive advantage that they must be able to see.

COVID cases lost by Excel

A clear example of this is that a few months ago the UK Government acknowledged that it had mistakenly forgotten to count 15,841 COVID positives and therefore there were some 50,000 people who should have been informed of their contact with infected people who were not. Why?

Although specialized software was developed for the COVID-19 follow-up, the data were still compatible with Excel. In this case, due to a limitation in the maximum number of rows in the file, the program made all the cases that exceeded that number to be discarded.

A mistake that a specialized App would not have made, but this is not the only error attributable to the use of Excel.

When Excel could have completely destroyed the West’s economy

Not to be sensationalist, but I have used one of the newspaper headlines of the time that reported another glaring failure to use Excel.

In early 2010, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, both Harvard economists published a paper entitled Growth in a time of debt where they claimed to identify a critical threshold for public debt; a threshold that once exceeded caused the country’s economic growth to plummet. The threshold they identified was 90%.

Both had great credibility from previous work, so major media outlets began to warn of how close some economies were to the 90% threshold. Until other voices began to show that the results did not reproduce, they investigated, looked for the original Excel sheet and there was the error, again the Excel had led them to a wrong solution. What would have happened if they had been able to count on an App?

Not the exception, but the rule

The reality is that the abuse of using programs like Excel, which can be very powerful for many tasks but limited for others, can lead us to make mistakes that are paid for with a significant part of the budget. And this is no exception, as we see it in many cases

On 2018 the Government of Costa Rica presented a plan based on a large savings calculated through the reduction of luxury pensions. Upon further investigation it was seen that the figure was tripled by mistake, error in manipulating Excel.

Earlier in 2008 a Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton associate representing Barclays Capital Inc. in an asset purchase deal mistakenly included 179 contracts that should have been excluded from the deal. The error came when exporting from Excel to PDF certain rows hidden in the former. Yet another error in manipulating Excel.

Adapt to the postcovid era, use Apps

We live in an era of Apps, which fortunately or unfortunately the COVID-19 has brought abruptly to our companies. But we have to learn from these situations and not make mistakes like going back to what we did before and not taking advantage of it

Working with development companies, we see how mistakes of this type happen constantly due to the intensive use of Excel, instead of specialized applications. These are mistakes that can be avoided with Apps like Quanter.

It is an era of cost optimization and for this we must move from using expensive Excel to using an App that quantifies and reduces the price as much as possible.

Welcome to the age of Apps, embrace them and get the best out of them.

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