Primary use cases are any time I need ad-hoc, quick data handling and manipulation, e.g. formulae, column summaries/calculations, etc.
My very most frequent use case is for tracking of various financial info, where Fibery entities are too “heavy”/cumbersome and making e.g. totals is non-trivial/cluttering with fields, or clunky in a report. For example I have a list of properties with their appraised values, debt, and net value, and I want totals of all values in each column. Or to intermix calculated (formula) vs. manual data within column/rows. Or any number of other benefits you get from totally ad-hoc, per-cell freedom, formulae, etc.
Yes, I can make Tables in Reports to handle the “column summary” case, but I have yet to find a way to do so that looks as good and works as easily as Sheets. The mere fact that I can change data in the table in Sheets is an important enough reason to keep using it. In the future when I can embed a Report in a Doc in Fibery, along with an editable Table of the Entities being reported on, this may be a somewhat acceptable workaround, but it’s still… a workaround. And simply adding in Summary values for rows and columns in Board view would only solve part of the need here.
The value of having this info in-line in a Fibery Rich Text is variable, but it would certainly make things smoother to have that. Two notable examples, one is that we do track all of our baseline property info in Fibery (size, location, ID info, status, ownership, etc.). It’d be great to have any Gsheets financial info for that entity just embedded right there in a Rich Text, or in a Doc that we could share with Partners/Prospective Partners. Another is for meeting agendas and notes where we discuss that kind of data, and again the ability to be able to have the Sheet embedded there, discuss its contents, make notes above/below, and then edit that contents if needed would really be nice. I have definitely found myself juggling multiple docs, open tabs, etc. because of lacking features in Fibery, and this is a prime example.
So is it a necessity? Definitely not. But does it mean I and my team would spend more time in Fibery and be happier with using it? Absolutely! And I think that is the perhaps subtle magic of some of what Notion did, by bringing all these tools inside itself to varying degrees simply by embedding them. Keeping your users “on platform” is an important consideration.
The Google Sheets integration with Reports is definitely great, although I often find GSheets easier to setup simple, quick charts as well. This may just be a matter of better familiarizing myself with Fibery’s GSheets charting options. But as one notable example, I tried just now to see if I was missing something, and immediately saw that simply selecting a Sheet to operate on seems to work rather poorly:
- A sheet that I know is in my account cannot be found, with search or just scrolling through (I have this sheet open in another browser tab, I know it exists, and is one of the most recent I’ve updated)
- It shows all sheets across my entire GDrive, including those shared with me but owned by others, with no distinction between them, no foldering, etc.
All that said, I did discover some immediate, untapped utility for Fibery Report analysis of some of my other GSheet data just by playing around, so I’ll definitely admit there is value here that I’ve been missing.
What I’d love to see for ad-hoc data handling would be, in this order:
- Embedded GSheets
- Direct import/sync of Gsheets data to Fibery Database/Entities
- Built-in simple spreadsheet “blocks”, i.e. Tables but you can do basic Calculations, column summary, etc. (see e.g. Quip)
- Native spreadsheets that can integrate with Database values/fields and operate on them, etc. (i.e. connecting ad-hoc and structured data)
Obviously the trajectory there from 1 to 4 might take a year or more to execute on, but that’s how I’d love to see it proceed.
There are free components that can do simple spreadsheets out of the box, FWIW. I know there are a lot of potential risks in using 3rd party components, but I also know you already rely on several, and I seem to vaguely recall tables maybe even being one of them. So…