Need to create locally-hosted, searchable database of vendors--help!
April 22, 2014 11:56 AM   Subscribe

I maintain for my company a spreadsheet that contains a list of vendors and their associated information: address, contact(s), service area(s), service(s), website, and so on. It's becoming rather unwieldy as a vendor might have up to 5 different services, 2 addresses, 3 contacts each with their own email and phone number, etc. The information's all there, it's just very annoying to use. I had the idea of creating an "intranet" type website that staff could use to filter vendors by name, service area, service type, and so on, with the results displaying in an easy-to-read format (easier than a mile-long Excel sheet, anyway). I am open to solutions like Wordpress and Joomla, just not sure how best to implement. Any ideas?

I would also like to keep in mind that I have to update the spreadsheet on a regular basis as there are constantly new vendors to include, so any viable solution should also be fairly easy to keep up to date.
posted by erinsaurus to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You need a database - specifically, it sounds like you need a CRM. There are plenty of options out there - your choice depends on your specific needs and budget.
posted by ssg at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2014

Database is definitely needed, but the solution needs to be free. Trust me when I tell you this company would rather hobble along with an awful Excel sheet than shell out $. Also, the reason I prefer to use a locally-hosted solution than a web-based one is because I don't want the information to be publicly available or for my staff to have to log in to something to access it.
posted by erinsaurus at 12:46 PM on April 22, 2014

Salesforce is what you're looking for.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:13 PM on April 22, 2014

Unfortunately Salesforce will not work. I did mention that it needs to be free and locally hosted, and that is a pay service hosted in the cloud.
posted by erinsaurus at 1:25 PM on April 22, 2014

Do you have the Microsoft Office suite of products? Do you have Access and SharePoint? If so, you can build your database in Access and then put a front end on SharePoint.

A cheap and cheerful solution would be to download PowerPivot.

Then you can create Pivot tables with slicers. The slicers can then be selected for service, provider, contact, etc.

Check it out on YouTube.

I learned it a few months ago, and it has ROCKED my world!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:43 PM on April 22, 2014

Here's an offline solution using Access.
posted by jcatus at 1:46 PM on April 22, 2014

I have Access and we are running SharePoint Services 2.0 on Windows Server 2003, but we're going to be replacing our server in the next few months and the likelihood of paying for a new SharePoint installation is not high--but this is getting much closer to what I want to be able to do.

Not every staff person has Access installed, so I have to get around that too.
posted by erinsaurus at 2:04 PM on April 22, 2014

Spiceworks is free, runs on a pc, and the purchasing module has a "My Vendors" which may work for you.
posted by Sophont at 2:37 PM on April 22, 2014

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