What is a Database and why do I need one?
A database is a collection of linked tables that store information in a structured way, allowing that information to be retrieved efficiently to answer queries quickly and effectively. e.g. "Show a list of all customers who have purchased product X within the last six months."
A database allows information to be easily updated and formatted in many different ways . The information can be validated to ensure data entered into a form is of the correct type and is within prescribed limits.
Once information has been entered into a database, that information can be accessed by multiple users, simultaneously, from any location. A SQL server is optimised to store large amounts of information and handle multiple user requests. Requests are processed on the server and only matching records are sent to the client. This reduces bandwidth requirements to speed up transactions over the Internet. You may currently be using Microsoft Excel to store information but this has a number of problems. Excel is not designed for multiple user access. In a multi-user environment an Excel file is "locked" as soon as the first user opens the file. No other users can make changes to that file until the first user closes the file. Excel is also not good at linking together multiple tables and performance can get very slow once the information being stored gets larger. It is also far too easy to accidentally delete information from an Excel spread sheet. This risk can be reduced by "protecting" cells but is not an ideal solution.
If you answer yes to any of these questions you probably need a database solution:
- Is the information of critical importance to your business?
- Do you have multiple people that need to access this information?
- Do you need to control who can access different types of information?
- Do you need to access this information from remote locations (over the Internet)?
- Do you need to display information in different reports or forms?
We can arrange a no-obligation meeting to discuss your exact requirements and will build a solution, tailored to your specific needs. Don't worry, bespoke design does not necessarily mean our products are outside of you budget - we have produced systems for very modest costs. We use open-source software and our expertise allows us to build solutions quickly and efficiently so prices are kept to a minimum. We can also provide hosted solutions for a monthly fee from as little as £65 per month.