If you were to ask me what’s the most common source of pain for new, first-time clients, I can say unequivocally that it’s double-keying – the practice of entering the same piece of information in more than one location (e.g. two different Excel documents). Sometimes it’s even a case of triple-keying. This is such a common problem that I would venture to guess that I have not had a new client in a decade who didn’t mention this at some point in the discovery process.
This is a bad situation not only because it’s extra labor for the users; it’s also dangerous because there is always the possibility that the information will be entered differently in different locations. Once that happens, you never really know which one is the correct version, unless you take even more time to look it up or (embarrassingly) call your customer to find out.
Luckily, this is an extremely simple problem for we developers to solve. Much as penicillin is a simple cure for all sorts of nasty, even fatal afflictions, the act of designing and building a database cures the double-key bug. No developer worth his salt will ask you to enter the same info more than once. Instead, you will have a single, authoritative repository for that data that will be accessible from anywhere you need it to be. Time, money, and most of all, frustration saved – yep, we’ve got the penicillin!