Spreadsheet like Interface for ERP!

Hello All,
I have been pitching ERPNext to a lot of companies.
Although the idea of having single software for entire organisation seems interesting to a lot of business owners/users, a lot of them are still stuck to their spreadsheets.
I often hear that the system is great but I want the system to be as simple as Excel where the data entry is in form of rows and columns and not Forms.
I know this is not practically possible because an ERP is more than just a data source, it has multiple layers to it like the validation layer, emailing, user perms,etc.
It is difficult to convince the users on this so wanted to know community’s opinion on this and how to handle such objections.
Thanks

I don’t think anybody would be strongly against spreadsheet-like interface per se. But I’m sure you will have to provide some solid reasoning to explain why you think such an interface would be worthwile to invest resources to develop in.

The problem with users not able to adjust to a new system is because they are not sure if it is robust. Their excel and paperwork or other software have served them well. They are time-tested methods.

This is a matter of trust which can only be built when people see that whatever they were doing in Excel or other software is easily done on erpnext, they can get on-demand reports easily without having to merge multiple excel files. I myself have seen a senior employee change his attitude of constant disagreement with ERPnext deployment in the office to being the most productive user of the software. It takes time.

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I don’t entirely disagree that people do change their opinion once they get used to a system. However, we can’t use that logic to completely discount the utility of spreadsheet kind of interface for ERPNext.

I work a lot on ERPNext, on Excel and also on SAP. I can think of a lot of business scenarios where an Excel kind of interface can be very productive & useful. In ERPNext (and in most of the ERP softwares) we can visualise data in the form of tables, just like excel sheet. But what we can’t do easily is - input the data in various rows on a single screen. We have a use case in our organisation. We have to update statuses (a custom field) of multiple sales orders on daily basis. We have to go in each order individually and update in individual form and that obviously takes a lot of time and is very cumbersome. Imagine if someone has to update 50 orders. If we had an excel kind of interface it would have been so easy - bring all the orders on screen update statuses and press save - boom job done.

Additionally, excel also provides an ability to form relationships across rows, which is very difficult to achieve in ERPNext. Imagine if we need to establish any kind of relationship between one item field of a sales order with another field from another item. How difficult it would be. Doing it In Excel it is very easy.

There are many other use cases where excel kind of interface can be useful. I know SAP now has an excel interface for production planning. Even in Odoo there are add on apps developed to use excel for data input.

I believe it makes absolute practical sense to have some sort of spreadsheet interface with ERPNext.

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Have you tried report view? You can edit fields from report view like it’s excel sheet and values are updated to actual documents!

We can work on improving UX of this piece maybe, open to feedback :slight_smile:

Excel has very ubiquitous language for this for sure. Most “dependent” things can be achieved by clinet/server scripts. Both JS and python are arguably much much powerful, the problem is they also have a high barrier to entry compared to Excel formulas. An intermediate DSL (like Excel’s) might help.

I had thought of integrating blockly to generate simple client scripts using a WYSIWYG script builder.

(imagine something like this, ref: Blockly  |  Google Developers )

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Thanks Ankush for very quick response.

No, not yet. We have been using version 10 so far. Our new implementation is planned with your latest version. Will definitely use and provide feedback. But based on your feedback, I guess report view should be able to replicate atleast some of the features which excel is good at.

Precisely, that’s my point. By having excel interface you can give more control to the users as very few users can code in python or JS but many of them are quite comfortable working with excel formulas.

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Just an addition to your inquiry to be able to edit multi docs at once.
In the doc list, you can check the docs you want to edit, then from the menu select Edit. Choose the field to edit, and edit at once.
Unfortunately this can’t be used for child tables.

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Old post! Things may have moved on. Here’s an idea: Use RESTApi to let a Spreadsheet Write and Fetch data from ERPNext.

There’s definitely something to let people use Spreadsheets as their UI. However for it to work, it will have to be a spreadsheet with structured data, but I think it’s possible to to this. Again it will have to be for specific use scenarios.

Thanks

Jay

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Hello Everyone,
Looks like this old post has bumped up again. This post was almost 2.5 years back

Here is my experience,
I think organisations have to evolve and be mature enough to adapt an ERP. Ask for a Spreadsheet like interface for an ERP is oversimplification of a problem. There is a reason why Google Form exists and not just Google Sheets. :slight_smile:
If a simple thing like plain forms for data collection requires a separate Application like Google Forms, ERP definitely is too complex for a Spreadsheet like interface.

This comment is still relevant and explains why a Spreadsheet like interface might be oversimplification of the problem/issue

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I think we can close this discussion. It’s not relevant with ERPNext.