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!
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.
To experience the type of automation I refer to, you can email FREE demos of sample automated Excel VB driven spreadsheet applications like Ƒ) a Training Tracking Database(TM), ƒ) a Fiveƕ) Year Income & Expense Monitor(TM) or Ɠ) an Export Packing List & Invoice Generator(TM) to yourself using the file mailer on my website.
"Over_used/Over_spent"(Losses) and "Under_used/Under_spent"(Savings) _ on a monthly basis based on data entered, the program also automatically plotted charts showing trends over a 12 month period.
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