We take orders for developing bespoke automation solutions involving Microsoft Office. We can also redesign spreadsheet models to improve their capabilities and robustness.
We employ professional software development techniques when creating automation solutions. For example, we always use multilayer code architecture (separating code for user interface, business logic and data access), use object oriented design where appropriate, include a central error handling mechanism in the code. Such thorough approach ensures that all our software is reliable and maintainable.
Types of solutions that we develop
A variety of business problems can be solved by automating Microsoft Office. Our applications tend to fall into the following broad categories:
Such tools are used in situations where there is vast amount of data, perhaps frequently changing, that needs to be quickly processed, aggregated and presented in a clear way.
An Excel based application can automatically create summary tables and charts, based on some criteria selected by the user. It can access data in an SQL-driven database (e.g. Microsoft Access, SQL Server, Oracle) or read it from other Excel spreadsheets. The user control interface can be implemented directly on worksheets in Excel, which makes the application clear and easy to use.
These are programs that are used to transform data stored in spreadsheets or text documents, usually in different formats, into a more reliable and consistent format, such as a relational or OLAP database.
The program would read data form the spreadsheets, process it, check for consistency and errors and then save it into the new repository.
This type of software impoves the efficiency of the user by providing a means of quickly retrieving data from a central data system directly into an office document.
In Excel, the data can be put straight into a format convenient for further analysis, such as a pivot table. Alternatively, it can be downloaded directly into a Word document template. The functionality can also be set up so that the user can edit data and save it back to the database.
It is quite common for companies to use standard document design which would preserve branding and ensure a consistent look and feel of written materials. This consistency can be achieved by using standard templates as well as automating certain formatting tasks that the users commonly use. We could integrate such automatic formatting tools into the office software.
Technologies that we use
The native language for automating Microsoft Office is VBA. It is fast and has rich capabilities that are sufficient for most tasks. A program in VBA can quickly interact with spreadsheets, access SQL databases, call into COM libraries,read and write XML files or manipulate other software via OLE automation.
The main weakness of VBA is a lack of code security and a limited scalability. In situations where those factors are important, and also if we need to use full the arsenal of .NET, we use C#/VSTO.
We can provide you with a fee estimate after receiving a detailed job request. Our fees will depend on the timing and complexity of the job.
As a rough indication, our rates can be between £30 and £50 per hour of work of one developer. We can agree either to a time based fee, or a fixed fee for delivering the completed and tested product. We can also provide ongoing support for the product, which can be based either on a retainer fee or an hourly rate.
Please contact us for more details on our services or a fee estimate for a particular job.