Friday, March 13, 2009

What can a customized database solution do for you?

A database provides a “home” for all your business’ information. If you are like many busy people, you have lots of important information stored in a variety of ways: multiple spreadsheets, documents, handwritten lists and sticky notes. Finding what you need, when you need it, can be a problem. Often the same information is recorded in more than one place. How can you be sure you are looking at the most current and accurate data? A well designed database relies on the old adage “a place for everything and everything in its place”. (Think of how your mother thought your room should look!) Not only does this allow you to quickly and easily retrieve any information you need but, by linking the different “data entities” (e.g. customers, job orders, invoices, payments etc.), you get exactly what you need for the job at hand.

However, a database system is more than just a repository for data. It is a tool for efficiently viewing and managing information and, since business run on information, for effectively managing your business processes. By providing a structured set of user-friendly windows, a database system:

  • standardizes and speeds data entry through the use of list boxes and drop down menus that can be dynamically filtered,
  • assures that data entry is complete and accurate according to your specifications,
  • maintains consistent practices and procedures,
  • and allows multi-tasking and easy navigation through the system via customized toolbars and linkages.

Do you ever have to stop what you are doing to look something up? Perhaps a product code or a tax rate for a specific location? Built-in directories can put needed information at your fingertips. Frequently used reference lists can appear as pop-up windows, or drop-down menus throughout the system, allowing you to select items with a mouse click. Large directories can often be easily linked to your database from a source file.

Of course, recording data is only half of the process. Getting information out, when and how you need it, is the other part of the equation. Routine reports and operating documents (e.g. work orders, daily schedules etc.) can be generated on-demand with the click of a button. In addition, ad-hoc reports can be generated based on a variety of selection criteria and output formats. And for those of you who want to use your data in other applications (e.g. a mail merge or spreadsheet), you can select the data you need and export it Word, Excel or other programs.

Finally, a database system helps protect your information. While defense against “hackers” and other outside threats is primarily the domain of firewalls and anti-virus software, a database adds an additional layer of security, specific to the management of your data. Access to the database and to specific system functions can be password restricted and a user’s ability to view, change, add and/or delete information can be specified for each function in the database. In addition, the database can track user activity to document, among other things, when data was changed and by which user.

In summary, your business can “do more, more easily.” A well designed database facilitates your existing functions, allows you to go beyond what is possible with a manual system and grows with your company. Let InfoCore be your partner in making this a reality for your business!

Joe Buonocore

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