This last point in my opinion is ONE major benefit you must seek to extract, if you choose to engage the services of a developer. S/he should be able to help you develop (in_house) expertise needed to maintain the application AFTER s/he is gone. If you fail to ensure this, all your cost_savings from using the application might end up being spent paying the developer to maintain the application over time in the future!
This article is meant for those individuals/businesses who sometimes experience a need to use their spreadsheets in the (somewhat "impersonal"?) manner described above, to get the results they want. That need would often arise out of their lack of requisite skills to get the spreadsheet to behave the way they want _ or limited time to devote towards incorporating necessary automation to make it do so.
How A Well Known Corporate Multinational Used Spreadsheet Tracking/Automation To Repeatedly Cut Spending _ And Increase Profits. During my graduate training(while in paid employment), I was redeployed from Guinness Nigeria Plc's corporate headquarters training office(in Lagos) to the Benin brewery training department (in Edo state), where I was assigned the _ additional _ job of using a custom Lotus macros driven Variable Cost Analysis spreadsheet application to generate brewery reports for dispatch to headquarters.
In effect what I am saying is that companies which get the most value from spreadsheet automation(including using it to avoid expenditure on less adaptable commercial off the shelf applications) will be those which empower their users to routinely generate "in house" solutions. In such companies, you will find that only when the requirement becomes considerably specialised or complex, does the IT department get called upon to develop or purchase software solutions for user departments or functions with significant data recording and analysis needs.
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