What is "data management"?
What is a data management
Why would I consider a
What benefits could I
What tools would be used
to produce my database?
Would I need to have Access installed?
Can you help me make my own database?
Can you fix/change an existing database?
What is the cost?
I am overseas ... can you
What follow-up support do
It is often surprising to
find people who think they do not deal with "data". Data is the
operational information, around which the activities and procedures of
your business / organisation revolve. If you are a library, for
data includes information about your books, information about your
members, records of loans, staff study leave, and who paid the phone
bill. Data management means:
where is this information kept?
how is the information put there?
how do you find the information you need?
what use is made of the information?
This is the system that you
use to meet the data management requirements of the various sections of
your overall data. This could involve a system based on paper
documents, filing cabinets and boxes, with some defined operating
procedures. It could involve the use of commercial computer
software. It could involve a customised database.
It could be that what you are doing
already is perfectly adequate. If a customised solution would not
produce significant gains for you, we would tell you so.
It could be that there is some
commercially-available software which would help. If so, we would
However, in many cases we find that a
custom database is indicated. This is because...
Existing systems are often excessively manual, being very
time-consuming, and involving duplication of effort and susceptibility
Your business / organisation is unique, and your data management
requirements are specific. A system which is carefully tailored
to your actual operations is the only way you can produce the desired
The specific answer would
vary from one situation to another. As a guideline, some or all of
better informed decision-making
enhanced presentation and reporting
As an example, College Sport
Wellington administers most of the sports competitions for secondary
schools in the Wellington Region of New Zealand. Steve Schapel built a
database for them, one of the functions of which is to generate playing
schedules ("draws"). Prior to this, the draws were produced using
a more manual method, where the schedules for all grades of any given
sport for the season would take 2 people a week. It is now done by
one person in half a day. That's a 95% time saving. Not only
that, but the names of teams and venues is consistent throughout, the
printed listings are more readable, and as a bonus, the data is also
uploaded to their website.
We work exclusively with
Microsoft Access, and it's accompanying VBA programming language.
Steve has experience with all versions of Access, with current projects
in Access 97, Access 2000, Access 2002, and Access 2003. Access is a powerful
database program, which is the ideal choice for many data management
scenarios. Access's user interface tends to allow quick, and
therefore cheaper, development of database solutions.
No. In most cases we
would recommend this, but it is not necessary to have Microsoft Access
on your computers, as we can supply you with a runtime installation of
If you, or someone in your
organisation, has the skills to do this, that's great. Database
development is not a trivial task. In practice, the complexity of the
real-life structure of your data would normally call for a developer
with sufficient skills and experience to make a workable system.
Some clients have used us in a consultancy role, advising on the design
stage of the project, and offering coaching as the database evolves.
This is good, as the person we work with is developing their skills in
the process. However, be aware that in most cases, it takes more
time for us to teach you, than for us to do it ourselves.
No promises. But if
it's an Access database, we'll certainly have a look, and advise
The scope and complexity
varies widely from one database system to another. After we have
discussed your needs and analysed your data, we can give a cost
estimate. Planning and building a worthwhile database is
labour-intensive. The cost would represent an investment which you
would have to weigh up against the short and long-term benefits.
We are happy to consider
working remotely. Face-to-face discussions are excellent, but if
they're not possible, we have had arrangements by email work very
As a side note, it is worth
considering that the going rate for IT consultancy is less in New
Zealand than it is in some other parts of the world. There could
be significant advantages in paying for your database development in
After delivery and
installation of your new database, any on-going involvement could take
one of these forms...
just in case there is any error in the software, we will give high
priority to fixing it at no charge
even though we strive to make the database's user interface
user-friendly and intuitive, we are available to answer your questions
about correct usage
it frequently happens that after a client has used the database for
some time, and begun to see the advantages of a custom data management
solution, they will come back to us with requests for further features