Are you still using Microsoft Excel to manage your business? Excel is a fine tool. Everyone needs and uses a spreadsheet. And it's a good tool for data analysis. But if you're using Excel to manage your business, then you need to rethink that strategy.

Back in the nineties, our Managing Director was working in the IT business of a large multinational based in Australia, when a new American CEO was appointed. There had been rumours that this multinational was going to outsource its IT services and therefore sell their IT business. A series of townhall meetings were arranged and when the IT business had their turn, this new CEO was asked whether the rumour was true. His reply is still fresh in our Managing Director's mind; "I've just arrived so I'm not fully up to speed, but I can tell you this: a business that's in control of their information is in control of their business." He actually did ended up selling the IT business and outsourcing its IT operators some months later. But the important thing to focus is on the importance of managing your business' information. If you don't do that well, your chances of having a successful business are dramatically reduced.

So if you're still using Excel to manage your business, here are 3 really good reasons to move off it:

  • An Excel spreadsheet is a static document. Usually, it lives on someone's computer. Even if you use the Office Online version, someone is the owner or manager of that document and has to update all the task data after manually getting task updates from the team.

    What happens when the manager is out sick or on vacation? Who has access to the spreadsheet(s)? Who manages the business? Who has access to the facilities provided by your tools?

    When your business tool is shared your team has access to it at any time. You - and more importantly the entire team - can access its functions on their workstations.

    You're no longer chained to a desk or blocked by static documents. And since the team is directly accessing these functions, you are not glued to your workstation. Imagine what other things you could do with your time?

  • Excel is a great pivot-table tool. You can create great looking charts and reports, fairly easily. Only problem?

    Your data is stale.

    With an application supporting your business, your data is always updated instantly and in real time, which gives you instant visibility into potential roadblocks or issues that can derail your operation.

  • When you manage your business, and open your team with collaborative tools, you're giving them the autonomy to work freely. That creates a more loyal team, which you can easily retain, and who will work harder because they buy-in to the day-to-day operation of your business.

    That means, you're not wasting time micro-managing people.

Hope all of the above convinces you it's time to move off Excel for managing your business!

Excel is a great tool, but there are better tools to help you manage your business. We were using Excel for many tasks but grew tired of doing manual calculations in Excel and then copying data from one spreadsheet to another (e.g. risk and issues logs to status reports). In fact, it's why we started developing the products below - to help give you tools that help you keep your business on track.

Castellan Systems' project management applications have been developed based on practical experience and used by our Managing Director and founder, Michael, in the real world for many years. In fact we use them when running any of our internal projects, developing custom tools for our clients or when working on our suite of products.

Our other applications have been developed after significant research and consultation with businesses operating in those industries. Our focus is on assisting small business manage their information, which is one of the most critical factors in running a succcessful business. They are a natural progression from the applications that we have built for ourselves to manage our own business; they represent tried and tested approaches to business management.

Our tools for the most part utilise SQL Server databases to store all information; we don't believe placing sensative business data on the cloud or that an offsite hosted environment provides the security of critical and sensative information about your, or your clients', operation. With our solutions, your data remains within your own firewall and under your own management. You're not dependent on some other organisation to do the "right thing" by your data. If you have governmental clients, this is a vital consideration for them.

We are always looking to improve them. We listen to our clients and respond positively to their suggestions for improvement or enhancements.

And if you're looking for a practical, yet industrial strength, Project Management framework to go with your new Project Management tools, we can help here as well.

Condotiero Warrior Condotiero Banner

Condotiero is an application that helps the project manager track a project’s progress to its budget, generate forecasts and calculate percentage complete. It interfaces with various Microsoft Office 2013 applications like Word, Excel and Project. The package assists the Project Manager to perform such tasks as estimating, scheduling, requirements management, risk management, defect & issue tracking, document control, status reporting and tracking & monitoring status against the plan.

Almogavar Warrior Almogavar Banner

Almogavar is an application that helps manage Agile projects by utilising the power of Condotiero but focusing on what's essential for an Agile project. It's built around the SCRUM Body of Knowledge (SBoK). It records personas and epics, generates personas and epics cards, records user stories and their acceptance criteria, tasks and expenses, maintains product backlogs and sprint backlogs using a graphical interface, records sprints and the allocated user stories/tasks and facilitates project and sprint retrospectives.

Architect Artificer Banner

Artificer is an add-on to Condotiero that assists performing the PRINCE2™ Product Based Planning (PBP) technique. Artificer provides facilities for preparing a Product Breakdown Structure, Product Descriptions and Product Flow diagrams. But Artificer can also generate a draft project schedule using the product flow defined to partly sequence/relate tasks, and an Estimating Workbook which can be used to obtain approval for the project's budget.

Condotiero Warrior Condotiero Add-Ons Slogan

Condotiero is an application that helps the project manager track a project’s progress to its budget and generate forecasts and calculate percentage complete. It interfaces with various Microsoft Office 2013 applications like Word, Excel and Project. As well as the core functionality, Condotiero has optional add-ons that can be purchased separately which add functionality to the core system. At the moment there are 3 add-ons available, Surveyor, Scribe and Soothsayer, with more on their way.

Monarch Monarch

Monarch is an application that helps programme manager or portfolio managers manage programmes or portfolios.

Constable Constable

Constable is an application that provides a central starting point for your portfolios, programmes and projects. It turns the Castellan Systems application into a suite.

Herald Herald Banner

Herald is an application that helps monitor an organisations project/sales pipeline and determines (or marshal) resources required when the opportunity is formalised into a project/sale.

Steward Steward Banner

Steward is an application that helps the support team supervise the information generated by project(s) that contributed to systems in operation. Steward relies on the project teams utilising Condotiero and/or Almogavar to manage projects.

ClockKeeper Knight ClockKeeper Banner

ClockKeeper is an application which enables you to track, manage and control employee time and attendance for uncompromised cost management. But unlike most of similar systems, ClockKeeper has been built with the Project Manager in mind. The package provides all of the standard functionality that similar time recording systems do, but where it excels in in the assistance it provides the Project Manager to track of actual effort charged to their project.

QuarterMaster wagoner QuarterMaster Banner

The Quartermaster Corps is responsible for supplying materials to an army in the field. QuarterMaster performs a similar role for projects, allowing the Project Manager to request resources and helping the Resource Manager supply those requests.

Librarian Monk Librarian Banner

Librarian is a powerful tool that allows the Project Manager, and the whole team, keep track of project documents with its built-in Document Management System (DMS) The project manager can therefore easily locate documents when required. It maintains a register, which meets PMI & CMM requirements, but also allows for the recording of their hard copy location. It can also track import project communications, including the details of who send it and who was the receiver.

RAIDer Viking RAIDer Banner

RAIDer stands for RAID Register. RAID is an abbreviation of Risks, Actions, Issues, Defects. RAIDer helps the Project Manager record and track them. It supports Risk Analysis workshops and the preparation of Risk Management Plans including Risk Watch Lists and Action Plans. It tracks defects in all phases of a project and import defects from review documents.

Chancellor Chancellor Banner

A “Chancellor” is the officer of the royal household who served as the monarch's secretary or notary. Chancellor is an application that helps manage employees as required by the business, including their details records, leave, performance appraisal reviews and training plans. It manages the recruitment process to fill in vacant positions.

Merchant Merchant Banner

A “Merchant” is a person who trades in commodities produced by other people, especially one who involved in business or trade. Merchant is a Supply Chain Management application. Supply chain management systems span the activities of procurement, product lifecycle management, supply chain planning (inventory planning, maintenance of assets and production lines), logistics (transportation and fleet management), and order management.

Teasurer Cofferer Banner

A “Cofferer” is the keeper of the treasures of a king or lord and keeps them in a coffer. Cofferer is an application that assists IT Management in preparing annual budgets so that can be presented to the CFO and other senior managers for approval.

Celador Celador Banner
Free       Updated

Celador is an application that helps manage the operations of a hospital; from ambulance calls, doctors' clinics, inpatients & outpatients, wards & beds, surgery bookings, procedures, lab testing, medication, catering and inventory management.

Caterer Caterer Banner

Caterer is a Supply Chain Management application for businesses or individuals providing food and drink to their clients’ events. Supply chain management systems span the activities of procurement, product lifecycle management, supply chain planning (including inventory planning and the maintenance of enterprise assets and production lines), logistics (including transportation and fleet management), and order management.

Tabernero Tabernero Banner

Tabernero is a Supply Chain Management application for restaurants, cafes and any other type of business preparing and serving food to their clients. Supply chain management systems span the activities of procurement, product lifecycle management, supply chain planning (including inventory planning and the maintenance of enterprise assets and production lines), logistics (including transportation and fleet management), and order management.

QuinielaBall Quiniela Banner

Quiniela is an application that helps run a tipping competition around major competitions like the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, English Premier League, NRL, AFL, NFL or MLB, just to name a few.

Almoner Almoner Banner
Free       Updated

Almoner is an application that helps manage the fund-raising activities of a Not-for-Profit Organisation (NPO) and tracking their expenses, be it running expenses or financial assistance provides to other as per their charter.

Tools CastellanTools Banner
Free       Updated

Castellan Tools is a free download for you to enjoy. Yes, we did say free; We'll charge you nothing. We found them useful and thought we could make then available to others. We have used similar free tools from other developers and they have saved us a lot of work. For which we're very grateful.

Foundations Logo Foundations Banner

Foundations is a practical and comprehensive Project Management framework which an organisation can incorporate onto their existing processes to meet their needs.

Foundations Vendor Logo Vendor Banner

Vendor builds on Foundations to add a vendor selection process.