(877) 519-4537 info@arkware.com

How Can I Tell if a Database is High Quality?

Whenever we look at an existing Microsoft Access database from one of our clients, we are interested to see how well-built it is. There are clear signs that tell us whether we are dealing with a professionally built database versus an amateur one. If your application was created by someone knowledgeable and experienced, it should run smoothly and have few problems. If it wasn’t, the result is the opposite. 

Are you curious to know if your database is good enough for you? Here are the signs that your database is reliable and high in quality. 

Completeness 

Data completeness refers to gaps in the data from what was expected to be collected and what was actually collected. A well-built database won’t allow you to submit data unless all data is present. Otherwise, you would have a database with incomplete data, and this would cause problems when making strategic decisions for your business. When all data is complete, you know what you are working with. 

Consistency 

When your data is consistent, it aligns with the expected versions of data that are coming in. Professionally built databases tend to have drop-down menus with predetermined options to choose from. This way, the user can select from one of the options rather than creating their own, ensuring that all data is consistent. 

Accuracy 

Data accuracy refers to whether the data collected is correct and produces what it should. Data accuracy depends on the quality of your database, but it also depends on your employees. If your staff enters incorrect data, there will be errors. The good news is that a competent database minimizes the risk for errors. Elements that can be added to ensure data accuracy include GPS location, time stamp and picture capture. 

Timeliness 

Data timeliness means that you receive information quickly so that it can be used effectively. Often times, there is a delay between the expectation and the reality. The best way to ensure timeliness is by utilizing real-time data. Anything longer than this is not considered reliable. Real-time data allows your business to make data-driven decisions, so make sure your staff can use data immediately once it has been entered. 

These are just a few of the ways that you can determine if your Microsoft Access database is high quality or not. If you need someone to look at your database and ensure that it’s delivering the best performance, contact Arkware today. 

5 Reasons Why You Need a Good Database

Databases are incredibly important tools for today’s businesses and organizations. Typically, businesses start off with a spreadsheet and upgrade to a database later on. Databases are much more efficient and can help you run all aspects of your business, from customer transactions to inventory to sales. 

While you don’t need to be a coding expert to set up a database (Microsoft Access is user-friendly), it’s still a good idea to work with a database consulting company. This way, you can ensure that you choose the right database and that everything is set up correctly. Below are five important reasons why you need a good, reliable database. 

1. Accurate Data 

You rely on your database to provide the right information at the right time. However, the reports you run are only as reliable as your database. It’s important that your system is set up properly so that you can ask questions like, “How many units were sold last quarter?” Or, “Where can I reach this customer?” 

2. Customer Relationship Management 

Most businesses wouldn’t exist without their customers. It’s crucial that you choose the right customer relationship management (CRM) database and ensure that it’s powerful enough to store and process all customer data. In fact, some CRMs can help you launch marketing campaigns and send out email newsletters. 

3. Inventory Tracking 

Managing inventory is a difficult task, but it must be done. If you have too much product on hand, you’ll waste money. If you have too little, you won’t be able to fulfill orders. The right database solution will track all inventory and avoid the errors that occur with manual inventory tracking. 

4. Business Growth 

When you’re able to run reports, compare numbers, access customer details, track inventory, manage campaigns and more, you can take charge of your business and make strategic decisions. Eventually, your company will grow and reach new milestones. 

5. Security 

A good database is secure and protects sensitive information. It needs to be set up properly from the beginning, such as by limiting access to certain users, determining how sensitive data will be stored, encrypting information and having protocol if suspicious activity is determined. 

In the end, you don’t just need a database – you need a good database. To ensure your database’s architecture is optimized for your business needs, contact Arkware today.

How We Use Databases in Our Everyday Lives

People are always surprised to learn how many things run off databases. From streaming services to ecommerce to banking, databases keep our world going. Here at Arkware, we help businesses and organizations build and maintain secure, reliable databases. But, they aren’t just found in the corporate world. Here are some of the ways that we use databases in our everyday lives. 

Streaming TV and Movies 

Have you ditched traditional cable for a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix? These streaming services use databases to generate lists of shows and movies. That’s how you get all those personalized recommendations! As you watch movies and TV, the database tracks your activity and provides a list of other things you may enjoy. 

Social Media 

Most people are active on at least one social channel. Whether you enjoy using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or something else, there is one thing they all share in common: they use databases. All user information is stored on the database and used to recommend relevant products, services and content. 

Storing Photos and Videos in the Cloud 

Photos, videos and other files take up a lot of space on digital devices. To free up space without having to delete your files, you probably use cloud storage. In fact, many of the services people use regularly (e.g., Dropbox, Google) come with a limited amount of cloud storage. This storage relies on databases to bring up your information when you want it. 

Playing Online Games 

Enjoy playing games on social media? All of these games require a database to gather information from the player. This information is then be shared with all other players for a fun and interactive experience. Even during busy times, the games’ databases run smooth and eliminate bottlenecks. 

Filling Out Brackets 

You know all those fun brackets your workplace does around the Super Bowl or March Madness? Even those require help from database technology! The databases hold important statistics about the players and games to calculate the odds of winning. Without these databases, it would be nearly impossible to keep track of who’s doing what and on what teams. 

These are just some of the ways that databases are used in our everyday lives. Without them, it would be difficult to stream movies and music, store photos off our devices and play personalized games. 

5 Interesting Facts about Database Management Systems

A database management system (DBMS) is system software that lets you create and manage databases. By integrating a database management system into your workplace, users and programmers will have a strategic way to create, retrieve, update and manage data. Before you make the decision of which DBMS is right for your business, here are five interesting facts to consider.

1. Database management systems have three important roles.

When you use a DBMS, you can expect three important things to be managed: your data, the database engine and the database schema. By managing these three elements, your databases will be more secure and consistent. This allows multiple users to access the data and make smart business decisions.

2. Database management systems come in various types.

Database management systems are available in many different types. Here are three of the most common:

  • Relational databases. With relational databases, the relationship between data is relational and stored in columns and rows. Each column represents an attribute, each row represents a record and each field represents a data value.
  • Hierarchical databases. In this model, data is stored in a tree-like model where each field contains one value, and the records are linked to each other based on parent-child relationships.
  • Network databases. This model uses a network structure to create relationships. It looks similar to a cobweb or interconnected network. Used mostly on large digital computers, network databases allow the records to have relationships with multiple entities.

3. One of the biggest advantages to a DBMS is security.

There are many benefits to having a DBMS, but one of the most important is the security it provides to your business or organization. Using a database management system lets end users and programmers access the same data without compromising its integrity. Data is better controlled and protected, and you can even keep track of logging and auditing activity.

4. A database management system requires more overhead.

Although there are many excellent reasons for having a DBMS, you must be prepared for the additional overhead it will require. In order for this software to work, you need more memory and CPU. This can vary widely depending on the type of database management system you want. Some models need more resources to run than others.

5. There is no one-size-fits-all database management solution.

When researching your options for a DBMS, keep your mind open. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so you’ll need to consider the needs of your business and the resources you have. Once you narrow down your options, you can take advantage of the free trials that many DBMS companies offer. This will give you a firsthand look at what it’s like to use the program.

Arkware is your expert for database programming, development and support. Contact us today for your free consultation and let’s discuss your needs for a new database programming system.

How to See the Biggest Return from Your Microsoft Access Database

A lot of businesses use Microsoft Excel to manage their data, but they don’t know what they are missing by not upgrading to a database! Spreadsheets may look similar to databases, but a spreadsheet is not nearly as powerful as one. Plus, getting information in and out of a spreadsheet is often tedious and cumbersome. A lot of manual data entry is required, and this raises the risk for errors.

If you are looking to upgrade from Microsoft Excel to Microsoft Access, you’re making a great choice that will allow your business to be more secure and efficient. Below we share a few tips on how to see the biggest return from your Access database.

MS Access is user friendly. You can use it without having to learn a programming language.

Microsoft Access is available with your Office subscription, and you don’t need to learn a programming language to use it. Access is considered a non-technical database application that is user-friendly for the average person. In fact, you can use it to create apps without needing a background in coding.

We recommend diving into Access and testing out the features to get you familiar with the differences between a database and a spreadsheet. But, don’t spend time trying to learn a new programming language. This is not necessary to use the basic functions of Microsoft Access.

Use only the number of tables that your application requires.

There is no “right” number of tables that you need in your application. Use the appropriate amount – no more, no less. Beginner database users have a tendency to use too few tables and end up trying to cram too much information into a single place. On the other hand, some users create dozens of databases, when they really only need a few.

Avoid repeating and redundant data.

Another thing you’ll want to avoid is repeating data in a single table. Relational database design handles repeating data by breaking it out into a separate table. So, if you find yourself numbering field names like Item 1, Item 2, Item 3, etc., create a separate table to store the data.

The same is the case with redundant data – avoid it! Redundant data doesn’t need to be in your database, and it can actually corrupt your data. For example, if you have a customer’s name stored in two tables and only update one of the tables, the data is no longer reliable.

Use a naming convention to avoid confusion.

When you pick a naming convention for your database objects, you should stick with it to avoid confusion. This way, all database tables, columns, constraints and other objects will be named in a consistent and reliable manner. The good news is that you can choose any naming convention you want (within reason) – the key is to be consistent.

Use nulls only when you need to.

Nulls are often overused. The true purpose of using null is when a field of information is truly unknown. This is different from a field that needs to be left blank. As an example, when filling out the Address 1 and Address 2 lines on a table, the Address 2 line is usually left blank. But, “blank” is a known value, so you don’t need to put null.

Consult with a Microsoft Access consulting expert.

Lastly, make sure that you have a Microsoft technology expert to consult with. As your business grows and changes, your database needs might as well. It’s important that your database is always working for you and providing you with secure, consistent data. By partnering with a team of database experts, you can get the most value from your database.

Arkware provides Microsoft Access support and replacement services for businesses of all sizes. Schedule your free consultation to discuss your database needs.