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Long story short (and without getting into too many specifics due to a NDA), I joined a startup company that works with large companies and the smaller companies that they work with. When I joined a year ago my company was partnered with a tech company that was providing the tech side of our business. They already had a platform, so just modified it to fit our needs. All was well until the CEO decided to do some unethical things and it halted both businesses. What they did broke our contract so we cut ties cleanly, but were left without any tech. I have a CS background (though mostly focused on hardware, not software/coding) so I threw together a horrifying series of Google Sheets that worked and automated everything just enough to keep everyone happy.

It really isn't a pretty solution, but it worked in the short-term to at least keep everything up and running. All of our customers are satisfied and needs are being met, but it is not scalable.

The issue now is where to go from here. My CEO wants to partner with another tech company and has been holding meetings with different ones. I think this is a terrible idea after what literally just happened, and while they agree with me, the arguement is that we can't stay in Google Sheets forever (1000000% agreed), and that we can't afford to develop our own platform/hire developers at this time (I'm the closest we have to a dev, and my basic knowledge of HTML/CSS/Javascript/Python/etc... is not going to cut it).

So, are there any SaaS (or maybe low-code PaaS) options that could be rolled out somewhat quickly without a huge overhead cost and support a large number of users (~1000+)?

It is a bit hard to explain too much without breaking NDA. In a nutshell, we have a main spreadsheet that houses all customer data (names, locations, who our customers' work with, etc), and a few others that link to it with payment data, documents, contracts, service dates, etc... More or less a (terrible) relational database made with Google Sheets. From those we use formulas/scripts to pull necessary data to sheets auto created/populated for customers. We only have about 20 customers, however each one of those works with dozens (or sometimes thousands) of sites that we also need to keep info and data on. The sheets all auto share data with each other, auto fill in invoices and contracts, and auto-populate columns and data based off of existing data and forecasts.

Updates are managed by my company and sent to us via email. Again, I can't be too much more specific without breaking NDA, but because of the business we are in this is manageable at this time, just not scalable for too much longer.

Our existing database is, unfortunately, not a real database but just a series of Google Sheets. I would LOVE to have an actual database, but I've yet to convince my boss (the CEO) that we should do that since they're still looking into options (they don't want to spend the time to have us build a database that won't be compatible with whatever technology we end up going with).

That being said, we ultimately need a software/SaaS/platform/whatever that enables our customers to securely interact with each other, upload documents, and in a perfect world, make payments.

Any help would be amazing!!

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    I may have missed it but it is not clear to me what are your Google Sheets doing in order to think up of an alternative. Is this just web hosted sheets you are looking for? – lucasgcb May 13 at 13:57
  • Sorry I wasn't clear! It is a bit hard to explain without breaking NDA. In a nutshell, we have a main spreadsheet that houses all customer data, and a few others that link to it with payment info, etc... More or less a (terrible) relational database made with Google Sheets. From those we use formulas/scripts to pull necessary data to sheets created for customers. Updates are managed by my company and sent to us via email. Because of the business we are in this is manageable, just not scalable for too much longer. Hopefully this makes sense and helps! – ProfC May 13 at 14:43
  • Well, you don't have to get into specifics to the point you break an NDA. Think about the type of service you want, then ask for a suggestion for that; chances are it exists. – lucasgcb May 13 at 14:45
  • Sorry, I sent that last message early by mistake, edited with more info! Can provide more if needed, but was running out of space :) – ProfC May 13 at 14:48
  • That's fine, so you want a relational database you can edit as if it were spreadsheet or? Just update your question with these details. – lucasgcb May 13 at 14:58

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