Losing time collaborating on a slow Excel spreadsheet? Or are your files getting more complicated as your business grows? While Microsoft Excel is a practical option for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it makes sense to consider alternatives too.

Once you hit a certain size or your business processes grow more complex, using Excel alone can get challenging. So if you're considering moving away from it, here are the four alternatives you could consider instead.

Excel & business growth: not the best mix

You might be familiar with using Excel (or programs like it) for business processes such as keeping track of orders, inventory, and more. But here's why using Excel can be a recipe for business slowdown in the long run:

At TRIGO, our clients reach out to us because they've identified gaps in the business software they're using — whether that's Excel or a program like it. So here are a couple of alternatives with their pros and cons.

4 Excel alternatives to streamline your business processes

Switch to a cloud-based solution

You might already be using services like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Workspace — or perhaps you're considering it. Investing in cloud native solutions is great, especially for collaboration.

Which is why it makes sense to consider their integrated spreadsheets as an alternative to Excel in the long run. They bring all the benefits of desktop versions — and beyond. Let's start with the pros:

And now for the cons — all relevant when it comes to expanding your business and collaborating effectively:

Use a low code/no code Excel alternative like Airtable

Airtable is another flexible cloud-based platform and works great as a low code/no code Excel alternative. It's built to connect your data, workflows and teams using database structures that work similar to a spreadsheet. Let's start with the highlights:

At the same time, Airtable's limitations can also disrupt your business workflow:

Install an Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system

An enterprise resource planning system (ERP) is another popular off-the-shelf software solution for SMBs. As an alternative to Excel, it's better for helping businesses to scale and stay on top of business processes. Here are some of its plus points:

ERP systems also come with their drawbacks. Here are some to keep in mind:

Invest in a custom software solution to replace Excel in your business

A custom software solution is another popular choice for businesses — especially if you want a tech stack that's 100% customized to your needs and processes. Here's why:

At the same time, investing in custom software also means:

Custom software as an alternative to Excel is often the choice people consider last — because they think it's out of their range. But we'd like to encourage you to consider building custom software — no matter what size you are.

We've had quite a few clients come to us with Excel spreadsheets slowing them down. Our first step together has always been to analyze whether they should:

Want to discuss your excel spreadsheet with an IT professional and whether moving away from it might make sense? Book a free consultation with me, and let's talk about your needs.