The assignment was not an accident. Before being redeployed to Benin brewery, I had been involved in "validating" the numerous complex formulas in the custom Lotus 1θι spreadsheet application during its development. The author _ Richard Chambers _ was at the time in charge(as Training Coordinator) of training new entrants, and upon discovering my keen interest in learning, often gave me his laptop to "proof" formulas, links etc. It was he who had told his counterpart in Benin brewery(Joe Sheehy) that I could help out with a problem they were having using the application. And I did resolve the problem _ resulting in my subsequently becoming responsible for the reports collation using the application.
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.
At times, they would prefer to click a button that says "Print ABC", or "Print XYZ" report, instead of having to crawl all over the huge spreadsheet(and get "lost" every now and then), to highlight and print different report pages. Using a custom built data entry form to make data entries into 14 different cells in different parts of a table(at the same time/with one click) would, for them, be "heaven" compared to making the entries one at a time.
Why Excel Visual Basic _ and NOT Visual Basic? I always answer this question by asking the following question: What would be the point of "Killing A Fly With A Hammer"? Let me elaborate. If a method is available that allows us to achieve the same desired result(s) at LOWER cost, with LESS effort and in LESS time, why should we fail to adopt it? Certain IT persons insist that developing executable applications using the standalone Visual Basic programming language is "better" as it does not limit the user to a particular user application software environment. I concede that this might be a valid point under certain conditions. However, I point out that there are many users who have peculiar needs that do not necessarily require complex solutions. A lot of people today simply want to get their data recording, (re)organisation, and analysis for decision making done quicker and with less effort. They also want to spend as little money as possible to do this. In other words, they want a cost_effective solution that gives them independence from the solution provider in the long term _ without requiring them to undertake laborious skills acquisition immediately. This category of everyday users of technology described above are the ones I believe need Excel VB solutions of the type I describe. One expects that some of these users will over time develop an interest in acquiring advanced skills needed to develop their own solutions in future _ which is why I also encourage them to do so, possibly via self_tutoring, like I did.
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