Google Docs including Google Sheets rolling out a new and simpler document share UI

June 29, 2022

Toyota became the largest auto manufacturer in the world for the first time in 2008 when it surpassed General Motors that year. The meteoric rise of Toyota was made possible by their intense dedication to the concept of Kaizen. 

At its most basic definition, the Japanese word KAIZEN means ‘improvement’. Applied to business operations such as at Toyota, Kaizen refers to continuous improvement. These are ongoing incremental improvements that never end. Instead of building products at leaps, Kaizen calls for perpetual and incremental improvements. Over time these small improvements applied on small time frames add up to massive vendor advantages and superior products. 

The efforts of an American engineer and statistician named W. Edwards Deming is forever ingrained with the Toyota story and the modern concept of Kaizen. Deming applied his theories of Total Quality Management in Japan in the 1940s. Toyota adopted these principals and the rest is history as they say.  

Leading software companies today use a similar concept of agile development to apply continuous improvements to their products. While Agile and Kaizen are not exactly the same, they share similarities in driving an improvement loop. The goal being to continuously improve the outcome. 

Google comes to mind as one of the top performing tech companies of all time in practicing continuous improvement with their products. 

No wonder, they are now one of the few global companies with a market cap of over $1T. 

One of Google’s marquee B2B software platforms is Google Docs (Google Workspace) which includes various productivity tools including Drive, Slides, Docs, and Sheets. 

An article authored by Abner Li for shares an important new UI feature being rolled out which will make it easier for users to share their docs. 

Abner Li writes: 

“Compared to the previous design from mid-2020, this is easier to access, while the “Copy link” button is much more prominent in the bottom-left corner. Keeping everything in a static, confined box that doesn’t move around is a plus.” 

Google is a global technology powerhouse with the development and design resources only a trillion dollar operation can have. In addition to these resources, Google has always had a mentality of building products with arguably the best UI and user experience anywhere. 

Google continues to make Sheets better. For this reason it is arguably the best online spreadsheet in the world. Similar to Pepsi and Coca-cola, you will always have product fanatics who claim their product is the best period. So some people will claim Excel online is superior. Keep in mind Excel online was late to the game. Google Sheets was the first mover in this market on a global scale, launching Sheets over 12 years ago. If you want to throw Excel online into the conversation, fine, but there is no third option on a global market scale. Again, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. 

Now let’s talk about FP&A software and spreadsheets. 

No matter how a vendor decides to design their FP&A software, one thing is for sure, they need to include a grid. The grid is the core of the spreadsheet which includes the rows, columns and cells. 

Finance and accounting users need a grid, period. Regardless of which bells and whistles an FP&A vendor throws into their product, finance power users will spend the majority of their time within the grid. 

Most FP&A software vendors try to position their cloud-based offering as superior to a real spreadsheet by designing their own inferior grid inside of their platform.

Users of this type of software, also referred to as traditional planning software, are forced to struggle to analyze and model within the rigidness of a proprietary grid. No wonder that studies indicate that 90% of companies who have installed a traditional planning software experience a return to spreadsheets overtime. 

Who cares if the software markets amazing database performance and data security features if the user experience is rigid and overall it simply sucks?

Users want the real thing. They want a real spreadsheet (Excel or Google Sheets) and not a grid of rows and columns a vendor decided to build on their own just for their software. 

Why do most FP&A software vendors continue to go against the grain and believe they can outperform Google and Microsoft in creating the best grid? 

Most launched their products before Google Sheets existed, that’s one answer. Maybe 15+ years ago it made sense to launch a grid within a cloud based software since the only alternative was the local Excel version. 

Companies evaluating a new software to address their FP&A challenges today cannot make a purchase based on what made sense fifteen to twenty years ago. 

For clients who understand the best online spreadsheet today (in other words - the best grid) is Google Sheets, consider as your next FP&A and Accounting Automation Software platform. 

The developers of fully embrace an integration to Google Sheets instead of attempting to reinvent the Grid.