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Database design & development

FAQ

                     FAQ

FAQ - table of contents

  1. What is "data management"?

  2. What is a data management "solution"?

  3. Why would I consider a customised solution?

  4. What benefits could I expect?

  5. What tools would be used to produce my database?

  6. Would I need to have Access installed?

  7. Can you help me make my own database?

  8. Can you fix/change an existing database?

  9. What is the cost?

  10. I am overseas ... can you help me?

  11. What follow-up support do you provide?

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What is "data management"?

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 example, your 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?

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What is a data management "solution"?

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.

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Why would I consider a customised solution?

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 recommend it.

 

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 to error.
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 results.

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What benefits could I expect?

The specific answer would vary from one situation to another.  As a guideline, some or all of these...

time savings
error reduction
productivity increases
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.

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What tools would be used to produce my database?

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.

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Would I need to have Access installed?

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 your database.

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Can you help me make my own database?

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.

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Can you fix/change an existing database?

No promises.  But if it's an Access database, we'll certainly have a look, and advise accordingly.

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What is the cost?

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.

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I am overseas ... can you help me?

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 successfully.

 

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 $NZ.

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What follow-up support do you provide?

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
coach handbags outletchloe handbagsdolce gabbana handbag coach sneakerscoach handbagscoach sunglassescoach pursescoach salepolo shirts 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 and functionality

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If this FAQ page does not cover the information you want, please use the Email link at the top of this page to contact us.

 

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