The big question: how do you want to organise your data?
A database is designed to work with relational data – your information is divided into multiple logical tables that can be joined, while a spreadsheet works best with flat data structures – in a single table or list of information that isn’t related to other data.
How can you tell if you need a relational structure for your data?
Firstly, if you have a lot of repeated data (eg. contact names and phone numbers) and secondly, if you want to track actions or events, a relational structure works best. If you only have a small amount of data and don’t mind looking at repeated information, then use a flat structure.
If storage is your primary goal, then use a database, but for analysis use a spreadsheet. A database can store a large amount of data – spreadsheets are designed to store numbers and perform sophisticated calculations.
Spreadsheet advantages include:
Database advantages include:
Before making the decision on what to use, consider your business process needs, develop a capability wish list and cross reference your needs with those of the spreadsheet or database ability.