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Database Planning Guide

Every business generates valuable data. However to realise the full potential of that data requires a well-designed data management system that can store and share that information across your organisation effectively. With the right planning a database can increase efficiency and productivity and, perhaps more importantly, with proper planning and reporting will provide valuable insight on how your business in operating.

Access Database Planning GuideAn effective database must meet the needs of your business. To accomplish this begins well before the software development phase. It begins with planning and then more planning.  So before approaching a database developer, take the time to plan. Really think about the purpose of the database.  Establish what information you need to store, what reports and other information you want the database to provide.  What function, or functions, do you want the database to perform.  The more time you spend on planning the better the resulting database software will be.

When planning your database, also outline exactly what information you intend to store. Determine the field names you’ll need to record that information. Does the database replace an existing task; if so, then collect the spreadsheets and other documents that you currently use for that task. Plan and draft copies of any reports that you want the database to produce.

Keep in mind that the more time that you spend planning your database the less time your developer will need to understand your requirements. In the end this planning will save you both time and money.

Also ask your database developer for advice on other possible functionality that could benefit your business and compliment the purpose of your database. An experienced database developer will be aware of functionality they have developed for other similar businesses that you may not have even thought of, or even considered possible.

Planning Your Business Database

Whilst it is not exhaustive, the following list should provide you with a good starting point for planning your own business database management solution.

Purpose

  • Identify the purpose of the database?
  • What business information will the database store?
  • Will the database perform calculations or analysis on the stored data?
  • Which functions will the database perform?
  • What reports should the database provide, and how should the information in those reports be group or filtered?

User Requirements

  • How many people will be using the new system simultaneously?
  • Are there some common categories in which the users can be grouped?
  • Which users will have permission to view, add, edit or delete records in the database, and which records?
  • Will data entry be restricted to user input, data importation or both?
  • Are you planning to have the database generate and send bulk or individual emails?

Data & Software Security

  • What level of access will the different user groups require?
  • How sensitive is the data that will be stored?
  • Which users should be allowed to view particular data or reports?
  • Should the underlying database design and any coding need to be protected?
  • Is there a requirement to prevent the copying of the database?

Implementation & Training

  • Will users require training in how to use the software?
  • Should training be minimised or eliminated by designing a highly intuitive user interface?
  • Where and how will the users receive training?
  • Who will deliver training?
  • What, if any, user documentation will be required?
  • Will the database operate as a stand-alone system on a single PC or be shared across a network?

Timing & Budget

  • When does the database need to be fully operational?
  • Are there budgetary limitations that will need to be planned for?
  • Can the required functionality be phased in or should all requirements be met in the initial software build
  • Who will maintain and administer the operation of the database?

If you have any other questions or need help in planning your business database please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

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