Have you ever uttered the phrase, "These Excel spreadsheets are turning into monsters!", or perhaps you've heard, "Excel is the place where data goes to die"? At MSN Media, we often hear this complaint - or variations of this - from our clients. Today we asked our Senior Developer, David Weiner, to recount one of his favorite Excel to FileMaker success stories. This is his story.
Excel to FileMaker - A Success Story
One of my favorite clients, an animation company, came to us using several spreadsheets to keep track of hundreds of digital assets with notes for all of them. They were doing some of the typical Excel things: using the color or text formatting of a cell as data, pasting in notes from emails, adding columns when they had more notes to add, filling cells with an "X" to show it was completed, etc. They were also experiencing some of the typical pain points of using Excel as a database: inability to easily sort or filter the sheet without messing up their data; complete inability to sort by formatting; inability to generate reports easily; multiple outdated copies of the spreadsheet floating around; no custom screens or UI for simple data viewing; no way to easily search a vast amount of data, and so on.
We took their spreadsheets, imported them into FileMaker, added some fields, created customized task screens, built a few reporting scripts, and added some buttons to make it easy for them to find, arrange, update and export their data. We also hosted their data on a server so they could access it from anywhere -- and all under 40 hours! Now they use this FileMaker solution on a daily basis to keep track of thousands of assets and moving parts, sending and receiving information from overseas studios, and keeping their teams informed and on track, so they can focus on what they do best: creating animated feature films.