Phew! I finally ran the exercise which I had been discussing with some of you. Got a few super duper DB Architects, Marketing leads and the Accountant type business users from Enterprise and Small Business in one meeting room and asked them the same questions:
(a) What task occupies 70 percent of their time everyday?
(b) What tools do they use to accomplish this task?
It is no surprise that they all are busy managing their regular data. Except they all do the same thing in different ways depending upon their preferred tool of choice. See the attached white board snapshot and you'll know what I am talking about.
While the DB architect is definitely advanced and uses a custom made .NET application to do the job, both the Marketing and Accounting leads find using a spreadsheet ideal. Organized Data collection via forms, Data archiving ability, secure sharing and personalization capabilities stood out as the major differentiators and Microsoft Excel fails miserably here.
We wonder why the marketing and accountant guys did not look up to online database providers such as Google Docs, ZOHO Creator, Dabbledb, Trackvia? Aren’t these tools meant to fill these gaps very efficiently?
Well it turns out that most of these users and the others with whom we followed up later -- "perceive" an online database tool only brings marginal improvements - not worth the effort to learn or change over from easy to go spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel. For obvious reasons, Enterprise teams are more reluctant than the personal developer/professional to make the switch over mentally.
I know we are missing something, explains why some of these tools have not caught up with the enterprise markets and with small to medium business users yet. Here's one more reason, maybe a small market-product fitment flaw that is holding millions of users to go with online database application tools ...