Why use VBA?

Why spend a fortune re-creating Business Systems and Databases, or expensive Data-analysis and Reporting tools?

(Explore a powerful yet relatively inexpensive method of developing and integrating information systems)

Most businesses already own a programmable suite of Office applications but, instead of leveraging it, spend large sums on additional development-tools and custom programs to (almost) replicate what they already have. Many avoid tapping the vast benefits of Office-automation due to a lack of awareness of this relatively inexpensive approach, or a perception that it is too ‘inexpensive’ to do the job properly. An indication of the capability and power can be found in SAP BEX®. If SAP (one of the largest data systems in the world) can use Excel® as its front-end to fiscal-reporting and analysis then it must be good enough. The ‘inexpensive’ argument doesn’t hold water either. It cost more to develop most popular Office technologies than any company could afford to spend on custom software.

Through scales-of-economy and mass-marketing you already own some of the most sophisticated and well tested software available; all you have to do is use it. One widely used Office suite has a common programming language (VBA) that allows all members of the suite (i.e. Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, PowerPoint etc.) to communicate with, and utilise, each other’s intrinsic strengths and programmability. They can also communicate with, or use, the object-models of all other products from the same manufacturer (i.e. Project; SQL Server etc.), as well as many third-party applications. VBA is the same language as Visual Basic; used by millions of developers around the world.

Some examples of applications of this technology are:

  • Connect spreadsheets to almost any database, allowing very powerful reporting and ‘what-if’ analysis of financial and production data. The sorting, pivot-table and goal-seek tools are excellent and provide an invaluable source of business intelligence through data mining.
  • Complex quoting-systems (input forms) based on spreadsheets containing advanced formulae, navigation-control and conditional calculations linked to databases for storage of look-up tables and data.
  • Automated e-mailing using data from any database, Or the reverse; automated processing, filing and notification of inbound e-mail.
  • Web publishing of reports and documents. (Most Office products can generate HTML or XML output for immediate web viewing and processing).
  • Extend project-management software by tapping into the data-schema or through VBA-controlled graphical extensions.
  • Access (bundled with Office Professional) is far more powerful and user-friendly than many more-expensive database-systems, and it is fully VBA programmable. If you suddenly find you have billions of records to store, use Access as a front-end to a much larger database system e.g. SQL Server – they are designed to work together and use each other’s strengths.
  • There are as many applications of the technology as there are requirements – get with the program and ‘save your money’.

Deployment is usually very straightforward – most users already have the platform so remote maintenance is simple, with rapid turn-around times.

Before you let someone talk you into a horrendously expensive custom solution, which will probably have less functionality and life-span than your existing Office programs, get a second opinion – why re-invent the wheel at your expense?

VBA DATA SERVICES specialises in the automation and programming of Microsoft products.