Is the spreadsheet the biggest bottleneck to productivity? Factivate is leading the spreadsheet revolution

December 18, 2014

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Spreadsheets are one of the main tools of any business in today’s industry, but ironically, they can also be the biggest hindrance in a business’ productivity. On average, an employee will waste more than 240 hours per year managing, formatting, and analyzing spreadsheets through a series of manual tasks. On top of that, more time is thrown away if spreadsheets contain the wrong information due to human error, the analyst misses information, or even if decisions are made off of old information.

Juan Porras wanted to design a product that would both keep up with how a business operates and acknowledge the benefits of real time information and split second reactions. The result is Factivate.

“Any of our spreadsheet users can turn their Factivate spreadsheets into workflow tools, business process tools, CRMs (Customer Relationship Management), ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning), and more,” said Porras, who now acts as CEO of Factivate.

Porras said the idea came to him when speaking to a VP at a major apparel company. She told him she would spend a few hours every day analyzing her spreadsheets and downloading information from an outside source, hoping she wouldn’t miss something. Unfortunately, during the holidays, one of the items she didn’t expect to sell had shot up in a matter of hours and since she was doing these robotic processes, she missed it and didn’t react in time to order more inventory.

“She couldn’t meet her holiday sales quota, her company lost thousands of dollars in sales, and she was almost fired,” he said. “These are the types of problems that are all too common in a world run by a tool that was invented 35 years ago.”

Porras said the primary use for the product has been sales, marketing, and business operations. While all the company’s clients use spreadsheets differently, there are common themes as to how they’re managing their processes, which can be applied throughout different verticals.

“The hardest part for us has been to tell some clients that we cannot implement our platform for them because the type of engagement and customization they require would derail our vision for an extended period of time,” he said. “Saying no to potential multi-million dollar deals that could move us away from our vision has been extremely difficult and we continue to wrestle with these issues.”

To use the products, companies pay a monthly subscription based on data usage and data storage, and Porras said all of their clients have found the service to be an affordable business expense. Enough so that individuals running their own companies can pay for it out of pocket.

The product is still in its early release, but the team hopes to open it up to more clients in 2015, and they are beginning an Angel fundraising round of $750,000. Porras said the team, which he hopes will grow to 18 members by next year, has a long list of features they plan to add that would enhance mobile capabilities and productivity.

“We’re most excited about making this tool as intelligent as possible so that it automatically detects anomalies in the data,” he said. “Our ability to analyze spreadsheet information, learn from it, and then turn it into context for a user...will really make this tool absolutely incredible.”

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