Many small businesses start off managing their business data
using a set of Excel spreadsheets. These are usually set up by the
company owner, who knows exactly how the company works and so are
usually a very useful tool when the business is small.
However, as the business grows, they have many problems - they
are not easily shared with other workers, they are usually not
suited for entering large amounts of data, they do not provide a
clear view of your data and they are extremely prone to errors in
data entry - usually an Excel based system will contain a lot of
duplicate data, all spelled slightly differently.
Just as importantly, Excel based systems are often very
difficult to search - a problem when clients want an answer
At this point, your business would benefit from moving towards a
proper database based management system.
We use both Microsoft SQL Server and the free database MySQL to
provide fast and reliable data storage and backup, and specialise
in creating front-end interfaces for this that greatly simplify
data entry, validation, searching and reporting.
Interfaces - getting at your data
We would normally create an intranet, a secure web browser based
interface to the database - the advantages of this are that it is
very easy to add more users into the system, and the system, being
a collection of web pages, is very easy to extend.
If you want total control over your data then you could run your
servers in your own office - or if you wanted more teleworking
flexibility the intranet could be hosted as a website.
Either way, it allows all of your workers to see the data they
need to see and do the work they need to do at all times.
It is very common for businesses to be using a Microsoft Access
based system in the office. While these can be very useful and
highly functional, they do have limitations - they begun to suffer
beyond a small amount of users, creating database corruption that
takes time to fix from backups, they are not suitable at all for
multiple locations and they are often difficult to extend.
If you are experiencing this and particularly if your business
is expanding, we would definitely recommend a SQL / intranet based
Get in touch today to find out how
we can help.