From this point on, I will refer to only one of the above mentioned applications, because it is my preferred work environment. That is Microsoft Excel. I believe users of other spreadsheet applications will be able to adapt whatever I say from here for use in their own peculiar environments.
1. The Pareto Principle _ Using spreadsheet tracking, you can easily apply the Pareto principle in deciding which of your income sources and expense channels(i.e. products and services sales) to focus on in order to maximize profits. Considering that you are most likely to use the same marketing/sales resources to serve your customers, it only follows that if you focus on your biggest margin selling products/services, you will get increased profits at more or less the same cost.
The visiting head of the technical function only needed to look at the most recently plotted point on the chart (relative to preceding ones) for a Key Performance Indicator like. Cost per Hectolitres brewed(One Hectolitre = 100 Litres), to know if the brewery had stayed within the approved upper limit of spend(plotted as a straight line target across the same period) or not. Discussions would then take place based on identified "Exceptions"(which could be "good" e.g. savings made or "bad" e.g. monetary loss due to materials over_used), and "Actions To Be Taken" to correct or maintain observed performances agreed upon.
Custom spreadsheet solutions which survive long after the developer has "left the scene", are often those which users accept because they discover it _ among other benefits _ makes their work quicker and easier to do. That is why the best person to develop such solutions tend to be one who works in that area, and is therefore familiar with the way the manual system operates. S/he would have an "insider's" perspective of the best way to introduce automation other users will readily adopt _ even as it solves the identified problem(s).