10 Steps To Convert A Spreadsheet Process Into A System

10 Steps To Convert A Spreadsheet Process Into A System guides you through the key elements of transitioning from Excel to a business process management system. As you will see, this process is simple when using LEAP by FLOvate.

The benefits are many. First, you will secure your data. Second, you will eliminate many of the issues that you may currently experience, for example, data duplication. Finally, this process will open up new ways to improve process effectiveness, and enhance the customer experience.

Step 1 – Data

To convert a spreadsheet process into system, we must firstly create sound data structures. LEAP by FLOvate includes automated routines that analyse your spreadsheets and suggest how the data structures will be created within LEAP. As a result, LEAP’s Data Management features save significant time manually manipulating data and ensures that the structures are clean.  What’s more, you can amend or enhance the automated suggestions before committing them to LEAP.


Fields to records

Step 2 – Data Fields

The next step of converting a spreadsheet process into system involves reviewing your data fields. Again, FLOvate LEAP has many more attributes that you can easily apply to each field within your spreadsheet. Make sure to review each field and the options available to improve data management going forward.


Identify fields

Step 3 – Data Relationships

LEAP groups fields into collections. Moreover, you can create relationships between them. For example: where a collection of data belongs to another collection (an invoice line belongs to an invoice).  Or, a collection contains many instances of another collection (an invoice has many invoice lines).


Data relationships

Step 4 – Key Process Stages

This is a really simple concept. However, when you convert spreadsheet process into system, it’s important to define your key process stages. It is very powerful and greatly assists process management. In turn, this enhances customer experience.


Claims process stages

Example: FLOvate’s seven stage Claims process

Step 5 – People/Roles

Who is involved in the process? When you convert a spreadsheet process into system, make sure to define the internal roles involved in the process. Then, define all the external parties that play a role in the process. This helps to define your workflow later. What’s more, it also gives you a head start when setting up the different permissions.


Role icons

Step 6 – Milestones

What are the key milestones within your process? What indicates that a milestone has been achieved? To rapidly improve process performance, you need to define milestones. In addition, this is the time to decide what should happen when those milestones are not met within specific time frames (escalations).

Step 7 – Communications and Documents (letters, emails, SMS etc)

You can hugely improve your communication when you convert a spreadsheet process into system. For example, you can configure FLOvate LEAP to automatically update customers. Moreover, you can create template versions of often-used communications to bring consistency to the process. This, combined with process data, allows your business to send personalised messages which are attuned to the precise process context. Moreover, you can also automate document and production to further save time and cost.


Communication icons

Step 8 – Access Rights (Permissions)

Who can see data? Who can update and create new data? At what stage in the process can data be seen? What data is mandatory? When does the data become mandatory?

Spreadsheets do not give up these answers easily. The lack of control over your data is one of the biggest reasons to convert spreadsheet process into system, and represent one of the core limitations of a spreadsheet hosted process.

In addition, you can also extend this step to determine who can access the system, what elements they can see and what they can do.

Naturally, FLOvate LEAP’s User Management features make it easy to control all of these aspects using an intuitive graphical user interface.


Permission screen

Step 9 – Workflows when you convert spreadsheet to system

FLOvate LEAP allows you to define all the steps in your process, and which roles will complete them. In addition, you can even use LEAP robots to automate many of the tasks. (LEAP contains over 100 configurable automated tasks!)

Tasks can automatically request data from external parties as well as making decisions on a human’s behalf. As a result, LEAP can significantly reduce manual data management and maintenance.

Step 10 – Reports and Dashboards

Perhaps the most exciting element when you convert a spreadsheet process into system is LEAP’s Reports and Dashboards.

On one hand, the reports are very similar to the functionality of a spreadsheet and require a similar skill level to configure. As a result, there is a minimal learning curve and need for additional resources.

On the other, reports can be automated and scheduled to be delivered periodically, saving time, Dashboards, which deliver live data visualisations, are fantastic for at-a-glance views of your process performance. And… if you wish, you can export the data to MS Excel! (you can also import data).


Report and dashboard

Convert spreadsheet process into system: the next stage

Now that you have successfully converted your spreadsheet managed process into a system, you have many opportunities to further improve your process.

The following are easy to configure within FLOvate LEAP:


Portals (digital supply chain management)

Publish a subset of pre-defined, process-specific data to an external party – without complex macros. LEAP’s intuitive Portals are zero training environments. Consequently, any authorised user can pull and publish data without formal training. What’s more, people in and outside your process can upload and update documents and data – creating a collaborative hub that connects seamlessly with the core system. The result: less re-keying, better communication and efficiency.


Customer portal

Customer portal example


Automated Data Collection

This is the ability to send external parties electronic forms via an email or SMS link. Data updated in the form automatically updates data within the core system, ensuring integrity and a strong audit trail.


Data collection screen

Data capture example


Integrations with other systems

LEAP Integrations include Post Office Address File, SMS and email as standard. What’s more, you can use the LEAP Messaging server to integrate with any external system that supports connectivity.


Financial Transactions and Ledgers

LEAP implements a simple ledger system to allow financial transactions to be recorded. This can be configured to automatically send these records to external accounting systems if required.

Let FLOvate convert your spreadsheet process into a system

Generally you become an expert when you have successfully completed a procedure many times. The team at FLOvate have successfully designed and implemented hundreds of organisational processes. We are here to help and will happily give you a demonstration of your spreadsheet managed process configured in FLOvate LEAP free of charge.

Simply Contact Us to book a demo.


Further Reading

5 Reasons To Move From Spreadsheets To System‘ gives you an insight into the benefits of leaving Excel for a fully fledged system.