Published April 14th, 2017 by

5 Cases Google Apps Script Will Fail You

The straight-up easiest way to get all of your Google Apps to talk to each other is with a simple Google Apps Script. Whether it is Google Docs, Google Sheets, Calendar, or Forms, a quick snippet of code enables you to add custom menus, define custom functions, publish web apps, or build add-ons.

It’s even great for quickly transferring information from one app to another, and best of all it’s completely free.

So why don’t more people use them? And why is it that they might not be the magic bullet solution you are looking for?

  1. When Business Rules Change Often

Business rules keep your processes flowing on the right track without any anomalies. Consider a sales incentive process that uses a specific formula to calculate the incentive amount. You might set up a Apps Script to automatically calculate the incentive directly from your sales form.

However, these calculations often change and grow in complexity. Every time you want to make a change, the apps script has to be re-written. A one-time change may not seem tedious, but when the rules change often, your Apps Script will become more frustrating than helpful.

  1. When the Application Takes a Long Time for Data Manipulation:

Normally, there is a six minute limit for script execution that can be raised to 30 minutes for G-Suite business customers. For instance, if you try to link up a data-intensive budget approval with lots of different Sheets, you’ll face a glut of data manipulation and exceeds the maximum limit for execution. Now, your Google Apps Script isn’t a helper but a showstopper. When faced with critical and lengthy processes, Google Apps Script is not the right solution.  

  1. When Data Integrity Can’t be Compromised

Let’s say you have one sheet called “Enquiries” that captures information from a Google Form you host on your website. But you have another sheet called “Leads” that your sales team uses to validate the information coming from the first one.

If you set up a simple Apps Script to copy the data from your Enquiries to your Lead sheet, it will often override the data you’ve already validated in the second sheet, and ruins the whole purpose of the integration. When data integrity is a mandate, Google Apps Script can leave you helpless since there is no master data.  

  1. When You Need Multi-Steps or a Conditional Workflow

Google Apps Script works well for workflows that are simple and straightforward. But if you require any conditional paths or parallel branches, Google Apps script is out of the game since it only handles linear workflows.

Consider an invoice approval process. Let’s say that if the amount is under $100,000, it only needs a manager approval, whereas if it is over $100,000, it needs to be approved by the Finance Head. Once you get to this level of workflow, which is fairly basic, Google Apps Script can’t help you anymore.    

  1. When You Want to Build in Hierarchies

Let’s say you want everyone’s manager to sign off on a performance appraisal form. The problem is that everyone has a different manager. To write this into your Google Apps Script would require a deep knowledge of JSON, something most people don’t have. So, you are stuck routing things manually again.  

If you have been avoiding Google Apps Script because it is either too complicated or doesn’t meet your needs, you’re not alone. Google Apps Script might seem like a quick and simple solution to your workflow needs, but it often fails you more than it helps. When it comes to building workflows, you’ll need to look for an alternative approach to using Google Apps Script that will open up new possibilities.

Suresh Sambandam

Suresh Sambandam

Suresh is the Founder & CEO of OrangeScape, makers of KiSSFLOW, a disruptive, SaaS-based enterprise-level workflow & business process automation platform with more than 10,000 customers across 121 countries. He is an expert and renowned entrepreneur on a mission to democratize cutting-edge technologies and help enterprises leverage automation. OrangeScape is a cloud pioneer from India and was one of the global 10 platform-as-a-service (PaaS) companies featured in Gartner and Forrester reports.
Suresh Sambandam

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