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Blog #22 The pro’s and con’s of using spreadsheets in facilities management

Facilities managers have the responsibility of ensuring that the physical workplace of an organisation is in optimal condition to meet the needs of its employees and visitors. One of the tools used to achieve this is spreadsheets. While there are various software solutions in the market for facilities management, some managers still prefer to use spreadsheets. In this blog, we will explore six reasons why facilities managers use spreadsheets and some of the benefits to moving to software. These are just some of the reasons that spreadsheets are still being actively used in Facilities.

1. Cost-Effective solution

One of the primary reasons why facilities managers use spreadsheets over software is that they are a cost-effective solution. Spreadsheets are typically included in most office software packages, such as Microsoft Office or Google Sheets, which are often already available to organisations. Unlike software solutions, spreadsheets do not require any additional licensing or subscription fees, making them a more budget-friendly option, especially for smaller organisations with limited resources. Additionally, using spreadsheets eliminates the need for IT support, which can be costly in terms of both time and money. Facilities managers can easily create and customise their spreadsheets to meet the specific needs of their organisation without having to rely on outside assistance.

2. Familiarity

Another reason why facilities managers use spreadsheets over software is that they are familiar with them. Most people are comfortable using spreadsheets, as they have been widely used in offices for decades. As a result, there is a relatively low learning curve for using spreadsheets in facilities management. This familiarity also means that spreadsheets are more accessible to different levels of employees within the organisation. Even those who are not facilities management professionals can easily input data into a spreadsheet with minimal training, making it easier to involve more people in facilities management tasks.

3. Flexibility

Spreadsheets are incredibly flexible and can be adapted to different facilities management tasks with ease. Facilities managers can customise their spreadsheets to track specific tasks or data and can easily adjust the layout or format to suit their needs. This flexibility means that spreadsheets can be used for a wide range of facilities management tasks, such as tracking maintenance schedules, managing work orders, or monitoring inventory levels.
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4. Control

Using spreadsheets gives facilities managers greater control over their data and processes. They can create their own spreadsheets, which means they have complete control over the layout, content, and structure of the spreadsheet. This allows them to make changes as needed and to respond quickly to changing circumstances. Additionally, because spreadsheets are stored locally, facilities managers can be confident that their data is secure and that they have complete control over who has access to it. This level of control is particularly important for organisations that deal with sensitive information or that have strict data privacy regulations to comply with.

5. Customisation

Facilities managers often need to track specific data or perform tasks that are unique to their organisation. Spreadsheets provide an easy way to customise data tracking and analysis to meet the specific needs of the organisation. Facilities managers can create their own spreadsheets, tailored to their organisation’s requirements, rather than relying on a pre-packaged software solution that may not be suited to their needs. This customisation also means that facilities managers can add or remove features as needed, rather than having to adapt their processes to fit the limitations of a software solution. This level of customisation ensures that facilities managers can create a facilities management solution that is tailored to their organisation, rather than having to compromise on their processes or data analysis.

6. No internet connection required

Another advantage of using spreadsheets for facilities management is that they do not require an internet connection. Facilities managers can work on spreadsheets even in areas without an internet connection, such as remote or rural areas, or in buildings with poor connectivity. This means that facilities managers can continue to manage their facilities, even in areas where an internet connection is not available. This also means that facilities managers can work on spreadsheets on their own schedule, without having to worry about online access or connectivity issues. This level of flexibility can be particularly helpful for facilities managers who need to work on the go, such as when they are visiting multiple facilities or responding to emergencies.
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The case for software

While spreadsheets are a popular tool for facility management, software offers numerous benefits in terms of efficiency, accuracy, scalability, flexibility, collaboration, and communication. By using software for facility management, organisations can improve their operations, reduce costs, and enhance their overall performance. Change management could present a problem within the organisation however the short-term pain for long term gain cannot be understated, here are just some of the reasons facilities teams have moved to software.

1. Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of using software for facility management is that it can save time and increase efficiency. Facility managers can automate various tasks such as scheduling preventive maintenance, generating work orders, and tracking inventory, which eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the likelihood of human error. For instance, a software could generate work orders automatically based on triggers such as equipment failure or maintenance schedule, thereby saving time for the facility managers.

2. Improved data accuracy and integrity

Facility managers need accurate and up-to-date data to make informed decisions about their assets, maintenance schedules, and budgets. While spreadsheets are popular for storing data, they are prone to errors, particularly when multiple people access and update them. Software, on the other hand, can provide data integrity by allowing access to authorised personnel only and by incorporating data validation rules to ensure accuracy. For example, software programs can use QR code scanning to track assets and update their maintenance records, which helps in maintaining accurate and up-to-date data.

3. Scalability and Flexibility

As organisations grow, their facility management needs also increase. Spreadsheets can quickly become unwieldy and difficult to manage as the number of assets and maintenance tasks increase. Software, on the other hand, can be easily scaled up to accommodate the growing needs of the organisation. Additionally, software can be customised to meet specific business requirements, providing greater flexibility than spreadsheets. For example, software can be customised to meet the specific needs of the organisation by adding custom fields, workflows, and dashboards.

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4. Better collaboration and communication

Facility management is a collaborative effort that involves multiple stakeholders such as maintenance technicians, supervisors, and department heads. Spreadsheets can make it difficult to collaborate and share information, leading to communication breakdowns and delays. Software can improve collaboration and communication by providing a centralised platform for sharing information, communicating updates, and assigning tasks. For example, software programs can allow for real-time collaboration between different teams by providing a unified platform for asset management, maintenance, and communication.

5. Elimination of information silos

One of the challenges with using spreadsheets for facility management is that they can create silos of information, where different departments or teams may have their own separate spreadsheets with different data sets. This can lead to inconsistencies, duplication of effort, and a lack of coordination. Software can eliminate these silos by providing a centralised database that can be accessed by different teams and departments. This ensures that everyone is working with the same data and reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.


In conclusion, while spreadsheets are a commonly used tool for facility management, software offers several advantages that make it a more efficient and effective option. By using software, organisations can automate tasks, improve data accuracy and integrity, scale up to meet their growing needs, improve collaboration and communication, and eliminate silos of information. Additionally, software can offer greater flexibility, customisation, and security than spreadsheets, making it a more versatile and reliable tool for managing facilities and assets. Ultimately, the decision to use software or spreadsheets will depend on the specific needs of the organisation, but in most cases, software offers a better solution for facility management.

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