Jack Webb

In a hurry?

Get just the facts from Joe Friday.

Do I Need a Pro?

Why would I hire an "Excel expert" when I know Excel and I can do this myself? Or "…when one of my IT guys could probably do this?"

Think about hiring a professional Excel developer as you would think about hiring any other type of professional. Consider your needs and whether or not they warrant professional grade work.

Did I hire a professional carpenter to build some shelves in my basement? No. I could do that myself.  Did I hire a plumber to install a new toilet or a flooring specialist when I tore out the carpeting in my dining room and replaced it with Pergo (inlaid laminate) flooring?  No. I bought books and watched videos online and figured it out for myself.

But, if I were going to build an addition to my house, would I hire professional help? You bet! Even if I had the time to figure out how to do it, I don't have the experience to know all the little places things could go wrong (which was one of the many lessons I learned doing that flooring job). Not to mention that I don't have all the tools needed to do a really first-rate job.

It's the same when you are trying to develop a business solution in Excel or Access. Ask yourself:

  • Is the project small enough that I have time (or the person to whom I would delegate it has time) to do it on top of my daily responsibilities?
  • If I don't already have the skills needed to develop the quality of solution I want, am I willing to put in the time and effort to learn those skills?
  • What are the consequences of a little mistake here or there?  Are they going to be severe?

If your answers were "Yes", "Yes" and "No" then by all means go for it!  I love it when folks get better and better at Excel!

But sometimes you just don't have that time. Or sometimes the risks associated with getting it wrong are just too great.  Or maybe you gave it a shot only to find that there was a whole lot more to it than you first imagined. In that case you should probably consider reaching out for some help. A professional Excel developer should be able to help your business or institution get to a solution that is well designed and well executed.

What Can I Expect if I Hire GabrAria?

To help your business or institution get that well designed and well executed solution, I am going to ask you about deployment.  I am going to ask you about your long-term support plan. I am going to ask you about scalability requirements.  I code to a high standard with an architecture that makes my code easy to support going forward, either by GabrAria or by your own staff if you have those capabilities.  This may cost a bit more at the beginning, but it keeps your future costs very low.  In all honesty, after we work together to get the final solution deployed, I rarely get calls from customers needing additional support. 

I already have tools developed to allow me to rapidly develop a professional solution that includes things like:

  • Custom User Interfaces (ribbon tabs and controls, user forms, etc.)
  • Administrative Panels for Configuring Key Application Options
  • Centralized Error Handling and Error Logging.
  • Performance Logging on Key Processes.  This allows me to do performance testing on code blocks that handle key processes to see if there are bottlenecks that need to be addressed.  We don't want users to have to go get a cup of coffee every time they need to "run the macro" if we can avoid it.

I could go on and on (I do love talking about Excel!), but I'll stop there.  If you'd like more information, please look over the development & consulting page or the past projects page.

Another concern might be "would an outsider know enough about our business?  Or would we have to spend a significant amount of time teaching him the business?"  I have a lot of variety in my business background with particular emphasis on logistics, marketing, customer service and foreign trade which helps me understand most business requirements fairly quickly.  However, if there is some very industry-specific or company-specific knowledge that you think is key to being able to design a solution, then be sure to bring that up and we can take a look at it.

So, do you need a pro?  That's your call.  If you think you might, then I would also highly recommend you check out Dick Kusleika's really great blog entry: Excel Consulting Buyer's Guide.  Once you've read that, come on back and visit either our quote request page which will describe the process of hiring GabrAria.   If you look over the quote request page but still have questions then just visit our contact page and let me know your questions.  I'd love to help you solve whatever Excel or Access problem is troubling you!