Are you tired of struggling with spreadsheets? While Microsoft Excel and Access can be a fantastic solution for various situations, understanding when it’s time to level up becomes crucial in maintaining optimal operational efficiency. Join us as we delve into a powerful solution that liberates you from the limitations of Microsoft and identifies the telltale signs that it’s time to explore more robust alternatives. Get ready to enhance your investigations to the next level as we explore Microsoft vs CMTS.

Microsoft vs CMTS

Key Points:

Microsoft Excel and Access offer high configurability for spreadsheets, but automating investigative case management can be complex. In contrast, the CMTS system provides tailored configurability with built-in automation for notifications, ensuring ease of implementation.

While Microsoft’s interface is user-friendly, it may present challenges as case volumes grow, requiring detailed configuration. On the other hand, the CMTS system focuses on simplicity and seamless user experience, providing a plug-and-play design with customized dashboards, on-the-fly reporting, and intelligent search capabilities.

Microsoft’s storage methods for Excel and Access files can lead to security vulnerabilities, potentially compromising the confidentiality of investigative data, while the CMTS system offers comprehensive security measures, including onsite or cloud hosting, role-based permissions, and security audits, ensuring a secure environment for sensitive information.


In configurability, Microsoft Excel and Access are recognized for their versatility, allowing users to adapt spreadsheets to various needs. However, when it comes to implementing automation for investigative case management, challenges arise. While Microsoft programs are highly configurable, adding automated features, such as time-based and event-based notifications, can be complex and time-consuming when possible. Creating and maintaining an automated system within Excel or Access often involves intricate macros or complex formulas. This may demand specialized skills, leading to increased difficulty and time investments.

On the contrary, the CMTS investigation case management system strikes a balance between configurability and ease of use. CMTS is designed to be configurable specifically investigative workflows seamlessly. It allows users to personalize entry fields and reports, tailoring the system without requiring extensive manual configurations. The system’s ability to automate notifications, such as time-based alerts and event-triggered messages, is built-in, eliminating the need for users to grapple with intricate formulas or macros. This exemplifies how CMTS offers configurability without compromising on the ease of implementation.


In terms of ease of use, Microsoft provides a familiar interface, making it accessible to many users. However, as the volume of investigative cases grows, the simplicity of Microsoft may become a potential challenge. Although many users are familiar with various Microsoft applications, they require thorough configuration before use, which may not be as straightforward as anticipated.

On the flip side, the CMTS not only prioritizes simplicity but also ensures a seamless user experience even as agencies grow. CMTS offers a ready-to-use design with a straightforward interface, minimizing the complexities associated with configuring intricate spreadsheets. The system’s personalized dashboards, ad-hoc reporting capabilities, and smart searching functionalities enhance overall usability. This makes it accessible for investigators with varying levels of technical expertise. By reducing reporting time through quick exports of predefined reports, CMTS illustrates how ease of use is central to its design. Investigators can focus on their work rather than grappling with the intricacies of the system.


When it comes to security considerations, Microsoft presents potential vulnerabilities in how and where data is stored. Excel and Access files are typically stored locally or on shared drives, which may lack the robust security measures necessary for sensitive investigative information. As a result, the confidentiality of case data in Microsoft can be compromised, especially when considering the potential accessibility by individuals without proper authorization. Microsoft users may face challenges ensuring data integrity and maintaining the necessary confidentiality, particularly in scenarios where multiple personnel, including those not directly involved in investigations, can access the spreadsheet.

In contrast, the CMTS investigation case management system is purpose-built to address security concerns comprehensively. CMTS offers the option for onsite or cloud hosting, ensuring that data is in a secure environment with stringent access controls. The system employs role-based permissions and sensitive case flags, establishing robust internal firewalls to restrict access based on the user’s role and the sensitivity of the case. Additionally, CMTS undergoes rigorous security audits, maintaining FedRamp®, StateRamp, and SOC 2 accreditations to ensure that investigator data is secure and confidential. This exemplifies how CMTS goes beyond Excel in providing a secure environment for handling sensitive investigative information.


How configurable is Microsoft Excel /Access for investigative case management needs?

Users can adapt spreadsheets to various needs with Microsoft Excel if someone on your team has the ability and time available. However, implementing automation presents challenges that require specialized skills and time investments for the automation that is possible on Excel.

How easy to use is Microsoft Excel /Access for investigative teams?

Excel provides a familiar interface, but as investigative case volumes increase, the simplicity transforms into a potential drawback. Users may grapple with complexities in implementing and maintaining advanced features, impacting the user-friendly experience.

What are the limitations and hidden costs associated with using Microsoft for case management?

The limitations include complex automation requiring intricate macros or formulas, potentially leading to increased difficulty and time investments. Hidden costs may arise from the challenges in maintaining ease of use, particularly with growing investigative complexities.

What kind of ongoing support is available with Microsoft for investigative workflows?

Microsoft Excel lacks dedicated support for investigative workflows. Users may face challenges in maintaining ease of use and implementing advanced features, with limited resources for personalized support.

How configurable is CMTS for investigative case management needs in comparison to Microsoft Applications?

CMTS provides balanced configurability, allowing users to personalize labels, entry fields, and reports without extensive manual configurations. It simplifies the process of adding automated features, eliminating the need for intricate formulas or macros.

How easy to use is CMTS for investigative teams in comparison to Microsoft Excel /Access?

CMTS prioritizes ease of use with a ready-to-use design, personalized dashboards, ad-hoc reporting, and smart searching functionalities. It ensures a seamless user experience, minimizing complexities associated with configuring intricate Excel spreadsheets.

What are the cost considerations when transitioning from Microsoft to CMTS for investigative case management?

CMTS pricing is transparent, optimized for mid-size investigative teams, and doesn’t have hidden fees. It presents a cost-effective solution compared to potential hidden costs associated with Excel’s challenges in maintaining ease of use and automation.

What kind of support comes with CMTS compared to the support available for Microsoft Excel /Access?

CMTS offers responsive customer support and evolves based on direct user feedback, providing a contrast to Excel’s lack of dedicated support for investigative workflows. CMTS ensures ongoing assistance for a tailored and efficient investigative workflow.