Costing EvolutionWhile Fusion Tables promises much in the way of streamlining operations and improving managed data sharing, it is not without some drawbacks. Even when entering the Promised Land, some of the wonders of Egypt had to be left behind.
Return to StructureTo start with, Fusion system would be a return to the database structure abandoned by Company data. While column changes would still be possible, they would be more difficult than currently supported (but still much easier the previously). Further, Views and data merges are non-additive. Once they have been completed columns can be removed but no new ones—or old ones, including one previously removed—can be added. To accomplish addition requires building a new merge or View (unless introducing a completely new data set). Because of this, it is likely to take several attempts to get the proper blend of data. Removing old attempts will invalidate links and bookmarks requiring them to be updated.
Lack of PresenceThose “feel good” social markers (namely the cell highlights) are completely absent from Fusion Tables. In fact, working on a Fusion Table is a bit like working in a black hole: there is no indication that any other user has a Fusion Table open let alone where they are working. The only indication that one is not working alone is if data changes after a browser refresh.
Stale DataThere is no real-time updating. All updates to a Fusion Table happen on refresh. This can increase the chances of overlapping work, duplicate data entry or functioning on old data.
More Data, Less InterpretationFusion Tables does not permit anything near the robust formulas of a spreadsheet. While they permit basic math and a few other limited functions, if/then and other comparative functions are limited at best but are frequently missing entirely. Useful features like links to clients folder based on online enrollment suddenly become impossible.
While it is possible, and even likely, that more powerful functions will be added as Fusion Tables continue to develop, they are not available now. The same is true for our conditional formatting. This shifts some of the analysis that Company data does automatically back to the user. Missing information will blend in with complete information, poor ratings will sit quietly beside good ones and words will go back to being just a number relying of the user to remember what the values mean. These issues can be migrated with concerted training but it is less elegant to have to track such drab details manually.