Google Spreadsheet Collaboration

Google spreadsheets are first and foremost a web document.  This tool will allow you to work with your team and your customers in both real-time and sequential times.  As you are building a financial model, planning for an event or tracking a small database of information, Google spreadsheets within the Google Docs suite of products allow you to keep updated thinking and information available.

Google Spreadsheets Are Not Excel

While most knowledge workers have grown up using Microsoft Excel, the expectation is that any other spreadsheet program has to compete.  Google spreadsheets are not Excel.  It is a web-based program which has a subset of functionality of Excel.  It is meant to be a collaborative and secure platform which has the most common functionality of spreadsheet usage.

The fact is that most of the functionality found in mature products are largely unused.  The mass majority of users simply use a core and vital set of commands and features.  More is not always better.  If you are doing heavy quantitative analysis, then using Excel is vital.  Otherwise, Google spreadsheets fits the bill for modeling calculations at a basic level.

Collaborating In Real-Time Or Anytime

Changes can be tracked with the built-in revision history.  Thus, you can roll back to any previous versions of your documents.  This is helpful as anybody who has access to a shared document makes changes and you would like to review the updates.

Google Docs facilitates real-time collaboration using a technology called mashups.  Two or more people can be working on a spreadsheet using a browser and the internet and all changes are managed and appear in real-time.  Group meetings or brainstorming can be done quickly and spontaneously by constructing a new spreadsheet.

There is flexibility in allowing editing or viewing privileges for others.  This allows for people to check in, contribute and be alerted when updates are made to a working document.

Use Cases And Google Apps Strategies

In Google Apps, we like to help teams drive collaboration by using spreadsheets for ongoing metrics or analysis.  Some use cases can include the following:

  • Tracking sales compensation
  • Measuring website activity
  • Organizing event attendance
  • Building a commission plan
  • Developing a business plan
  • Conducting sensitivity analysis
  • Capturing web leads
  • Monitoring a project checklist

Using search to find any past or current spreadsheets is easy within a person’s login account for documents they have access to.  For working documents, users can set notifications for any updates.  This keeps everyone in the loop.  The master copy which is located in the cloud alleviates the back and forth from email and avoids errors which can come from having the wrong version.

Users can start with importing an Excel file to start or initiate a new document.  Working with your customers can be done easily with built-in email, notifications or document sharing.  The spreadsheets can also be embedded within websites or a Google Site to facilitate communications and present data as a continuing resource for those that need to know.  Group collaboration can move work forward faster with greater clarity.

How would such a collaboration opportunity bring value to you and your team?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

2 thoughts on “Google Spreadsheet Collaboration

  1. Clicked the link, although wasn’t sure where it led? I’d be very curious to learn more if you say there’s a practical workaround to get sensitivity analysis (data tables, ‘what if’ analyses) working in Google Spreadsheets!

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