Application distribution

How many users does your average Excel/VBA application have? and how widely distributed are they? and who are your users?

Most of my stuff is only for a handful of people. The most widely distributed Excel/VBA application that I look after is officially for about 30 people worldwide, although we know at least double that use it. Most of my apps are for 1 or 2 people in the same office. They may run multiple copies though.

I have done projects for operations teams and for marketing types, but in general most of my work is in finance for accountants.

Not really supporting multiple simultaneous users has only once been an issue, normally with a target user base of 1 or 2 its a bit of a non issue. What about you?

As I visit clients I dont see many spreadsheets that the whole team all use. I do plenty of ‘probably similar’ versions of spreadsheets, but the users are probably still from the same small group.

VB6/web/.net apps that I have worked on are much more widely distributed, but the Excel stuff tends to be very localised.

Some of the codematic addins have 000’s of downloads, but I’m thinking here more of custom work for clients.

Is your experience similar or have you got bazillions (Dick are you there?) of users?



7 Responses to “Application distribution”

  1. Marcus Says:

    It’s probably misleading to state an average as they range from 1 to well over one hundred.

    The solution with the largest user base largest solution is a wizard driven Excel Add-in which stored data in Access. This had about 130 users, although the database only had about 10 concurrent users as it used disconnected record sets. The data collected by these process staff feed reports to an audience of about 60 – so there’s about 200 people in the chain. The user base extended from Perth to Sydney; 4,000 km apart. The Access data was eventually migrated to SQL Server.

    Most other solutions have a user base of less than a dozen, some only one or two although that’s rarer now. However, even in smaller groups I usually try to separate the data from Excel.

    The oldest solution that I know is still in daily use is seven years old. The most common reason for maintenance is software upgrades (e.g. 1-2-3 to Excel, relational to OLAP reporting) rather than features.

    I’m currently working on an Excel reporting tool which I hope will have ‘bazillions’ of users. I also looked up Bazillion. The most accurate definition I could find is here:

  2. Dennis Wallentin Says:


    Between 1 to xxxxx (NDA closed) at xx locations around the world. But when disregarding the smallest and the largest number I would say about 14.

    Kind regards,

  3. Ross Says:

    I think I have a few applications that are maybe used by about 20 or so people. I write and distribute an addin that maybe 50 -100 people use. But that’s about it really. Every thing else is small user base.

  4. Will Riley Says:

    Funnily enough, the most widely used app I ever wrote was a budgeting app in Lotus 123! The large insurance co I worked for deployed it to every Cost Centre Manager in the Group & therefore it got used by around 350-400 or so people worldwide.

    What I do nowadays gets distributed on a much smaller scale. Depending on the audience it could be anywhere from 5 (Finance) to 25 (Sales/CRM) end users….

  5. Jon Peltier Says:

    My heavily customized apps are used by anywhere between one and a few hundred users, with a median of probably less than five. Probably a dozen apps in the last six months were built for a single user, and only about three are targeted at over a hundred. I have a few utilities on my web site which have been downloaded hundreds to tens of thousands of times, but I don’t know how usage matches these numbers (sometimes to help a user with a problem, I’ll download the online version, so I’m sure we’re comparing apples to apples).

  6. Steve Hansen Says:

    Usually between 3 and 10. The most widely deployed app I had was distributed to about 1,500 analysts and managers throughout the US. I tend to work with a lot of finance departments – the end user is typically financial analysts.

  7. Simon Says:

    It was the presidential briefing ‘bazillion’ that I was laughing about.
    Well done for finding a reference.

    So it looks like a few of us are similar, and a few have more broadly distributed apps. But no-one yet is regularly distributing Excel VBA apps to 100’s of users, right?

    thanks for the info

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