Evalutation of a Spreadsheet Essay Sample

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Different techniques can be used to make the data on a spreadsheet easier to understand and interpret. This is very useful for the mobile phone shop manager because it will save them time and effort whilst interpreting the data that the mobile phones shop has produced. It is an important task for the manager to analyse the data because he or she will be able to get a general idea of how well the shop is doing.

Spreadsheets can be useful for interpreting data because it is possible to use many different features which help aid the display of the data. These could be things such as charts, graphs, IF statements, minimum and maximum, and averages. When these are used it makes it much easier for the manager to analyse the data and it makes it easier to make decisions based on the information.

One thing I did was produce a bar chart and a pie chart to show the data as a visual display. When I put this data into a chart or graph it effectively shows a bigger picture of the phone sales. The weekly sales bar chart shows the amount of phones that have been sold in the current week and by using the chart it makes it easier for the manager to see which phones sold the most and which sold the least. By using the pie chart the manager is able to see the weekly profit percentages displayed on the pie chart as percentages.

An “IF statement” can also be used to make the spreadsheet easier to use. This is because you can use one of these to show either positive or negative results. For example, if certain phones are selling under 5 a week by using an “IF statement” you could get these to show up as red. If certain phones are selling over 5 a week then you could make these show up as green. This would make it much easier to analyse the phone sales.

The minimum, maximum, average are also useful features you can use within a spreadsheet to calculate the minimum sales, maximum sales, and average sales. This can be useful because it will give the manager a clear image of weak sales and maximum sales. Custom filter can also be a good feature to use because it can be used to filter data within a spreadsheet. In my spreadsheet I used this to show sales person A and B separately. This would make it easier for the manager to see how each individual sales person is doing.

How has the system improved from the manual system they used previously?

By using Excel to process the data instead of the previous manual system there would be many benefits. By using a manual system there would be many limitations. These include possible inaccurate calculations, editing the data is difficult, filing a lot of paperwork would be difficult, and human errors are likely.

Possible inaccurate calculations and human error – when using a manual system it would be time consuming when performing calculations. Because of this they may get rushed and some of the calculations could even end up being wrong. With the new system, calculations are done for you; this is much quicker and it is impossible for there to be any calculation mistakes. This is a big improvement to the old system.

Editing the data is difficult – with the old system if any amendments need making to the data this is more difficult to do. This is because you would need to cross out the data and re-write it. With the new system you can simply delete the data on the

computer and type in the new data to replace it. Also, it makes it easier to add more data where you

what it to go within the spreadsheet.

Filing a lot of paperwork would be difficult – when filing a lot of paperwork, it may be difficult to keep it organised and on top of. It is also very easy for paperwork to get untidy and over time it will begin to take up a lot of space. When using a computerised system it is much easier to keep documents and spreadsheets organised and structured appropriately in folders and directories. Because of this, it would also mean it is easy to find what you are looking for; rather than having to physically search through folders and paperwork. Also, making a copy of a spreadsheet manually would be very time consuming but when using a computerised system, you could immediately produce numerous copies.

Another benefit you have with a computerised system is that charts and graphs are very easy to produce from the data. When using a manual system, it would be very difficult and time consuming to produce these. Also, with a computerised system colours can be used to highlight important areas of the spreadsheet to make certain areas stand out. Doing this with a manual system would be an impractical task and the colours could not be removed unlike on a computer.

Strengths and weaknesses of a spreadsheet

Strengths:

* Security – password protection can be added to a spreadsheet to prevent unauthorised access.

* Sheet protection – certain areas of a spreadsheet can be locked to prevent changes being made that are not permitted.

* Errors are kept minimal – Excel performs calculations for the user automatically, thereby eliminating calculation errors. The only time an error could occur is if data is entered incorrectly or the wrong formula is used.

* Calculations are done quickly – after telling Excel which type of calculation a user would like to perform, the calculation is done instantly. If done by hand, it would be a lot more time consuming.

* Versatility and portability – once a spreadsheet has been saved it can be duplicated and sent to other people instantly. This is very useful because if a spreadsheet is copied by hand, it would take a very long time. If it is copied on a computer it would take less than a second and it is then possible to email it to other people who would receive it immediately. This is much easier, quicker, and effective way than the traditional method.

* Graphs and charts can be produced quickly – Excel is an effective tool when producing graphs or charts and these are produced instantaneously and accurately.

* Data validation – this is a good feature to use because it prevents a user from entering invalid data into a cell. This is done by limiting the range of data that can be entered into a cell. This is beneficial because it would decrease the likelihood of errors being made, and could even help minimise the risk of fraud.

Weaknesses:

* Training or experience may be required – in order to use all the features and functions that Microsoft Excel has to offer, the user may require some basic training. This is because there are so many different functions that it allows you to do and this could be overwhelming for a first-time user.

* You have to pay for the software – Microsoft Office is fairly expensive software.

* Data corruption – there is a risk that if a spreadsheet has not been backed up, the data could become corrupt and the spreadsheet could become unusable. This is why it is always a good idea to back up.

* String of errors possible – if once piece of data is entered incorrectly into a cell, it could have an effect on various other things on the spreadsheet. This is because cells use formulas that rely on the data in other cells to be correct, and if one thing is wrong, it can cause many errors on the spreadsheet.

* Viruses – it is possible for a virus to corrupt a spreadsheet. It is always a good idea to back them up and use up-to-date anti-virus software.

How can the mobile phone spreadsheet be improved further?

* Avoiding using more than three colours – it is best to limit the amount of colours you use on a spreadsheet to a maximum of three colours. This is because it makes certain areas stand out opposed to using many different colours which would not highlight key areas or symbolise anything. Minimising the use of colours will mean the user should be able to know what the different colours indicate, and it should help them to get a clearer view of the spreadsheet.

* Protect the formulas – this would be a good idea to do so that users at the mobile phone shop cannot change the formulas which would cause wrong results.

* Use a password – this would be a good idea because it would mean only authorised users at the mobile phone shop would be allowed to access the spreadsheet.

* Use an “IF statement” to show most and least popular phones – an IF statement could be used to highlight which phone has sold the most and which has sold the least in the current week. This could make it easier to decide which phones may need their price adjusting.

* Use an “IF statement” to show the busiest day of the week – if this is done and the spreadsheet shows a regular pattern, doing this would help the mobile phone shop decide which days they might need more staff working.

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