|| The essence of
the Information Age is that organizations of all types are realizing that the
DATA they generate every day - in the
normal course of business - is one of the most valuable things they produce, if
it can be efficiently and rapidly transformed into INFORMATION for use in management decision making.
The interesting thing is that today's personal computers and software allow
databases to be Management Information Systems that are affordable,
very, very fast and, with the help of the Internet, Global in
Custom Database design is a Mercury
Business Systems specialty. Our expertise is in Relational and Object-Relational design for use on
either your local personal computer (PC)/local area network, or Web based on an
Internet server for access anywhere.
- We have experience with:
- MS Access
- MS SQL Server
- Data Direct
- ... and others
- Designing Custom Database Applications
- Order Processing (Sonrise
Productions, TwoDot Press, and others)
- Work Order Control
(RoadRunner - T&E Repair, EDOT and others)
- Bookkeeping - Payroll,
A/R, A/P, Inventory, Check Writing (EDOT, 4-Paws, and others)
- Financial and Efficiency
Analysis (Strategic Supply, RoadRunner - T&E Repair and others)
- Scientific (Montana Bureau
of Mines and Geology, I3C, and others)
- Academic (Little Big Horn
Our emphasis is designing and
implementing databases specifically to fit YOUR organization's
requirements - for your data structures, your processing systems, with
informational management reports that fit your
We can help you determine the DATA that is critical to your organization, design a
database to efficiently store and manipulate your data AND design the database
outputs to provide you with the INFORMATION
that is critical to your ability to effectively manage your
Frequently Asked Questions on Databases
Q: I already have an accounting program and a spreadsheet -
why would I need a database?
A: Accounting programs are wonderful
things - for accountants.
If you're not an accountant, you probably
find that using an accounting program is rather frustrating -
DATA (on purchases, transactions, payroll,
etc.) goes in, but not much in the way of INFORMATION comes out.
The standard accounting
outputs (Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Statements of Cash Flow, etc.) are
important, but they are not terribly helpful for day-to-day management decision
making. Try to get your accounting program to output employee efficiency
analysis, trends analysis (supplier costs, sales trends), financial analysis,
product pricing analysis or forecasting as usable INFORMATION, for example.
Mercury can design
and implement a database that is customized to your organization's business
processes, delivering the INFORMATION
you want (without forcing you to be an accountant, as well as an
organizational manager) -- and we'll work with your accountant to make certain
your database can deliver the DATA and
INFORMATION they need in order to do what
Q: I already have MS
Access® - isn't that a Database?
A: Not exactly.
Access® (as well as MySQL®, Oracle®, and other programs) are
Database Management Software (DBMS.) They are not the database - they are the
software programs that run the database.
Think of it this way, if you have a
word processor (MS Word®, for example), you have a program. What
that word processing program does for you is provide the mechanism for you to
design, edit and print your letters, memos and so on. The word processor
doesn't write your letters for you. The same principle applies to DBMS software
programs - they are not the database, they are the programs used to design,
build and run the database.
Q: What is a
A: Simply put, a database is any collection of
A Rolodex, a telephone directory and an address book are
all examples of common databases. In the Information Technology age, databases
are increasingly referred to in the context of computerized systems. Accounting
programs, Personal Information Managers (PIM) and Internet search engines -
even the Bookmarks in your browser - are examples of computerized
Q: OK, so what's the big deal
A: Good question - fairly involved answer.
Computerized databases are the most common software element in use and
probably the least understood outside of the information technology industry. A
computerized database consists of the computer (processing, I/O, memory and
storage), database management software (MS Access®, Oracle®,
SyBase®, MySQL®, ...), and a database design that gives you the
ability to efficiently gather and store your DATA and effectively transform it into INFORMATION for your
First, consider that there is a substantial
difference between DATA and INFORMATION.
an example might prove helpful here ...
The next time you go to the store and pick up groceries, take a close
look at the slip they hand you when you check out. It's mostly
DATA - it shows the store, the date, the
items you bought (with a price for each item.) At the bottom, it gives you one
piece of INFORMATION - your Total Cost (an
aggregate or sum of the costs of each individual
Second, while the DATA on your grocery slip may be merely depressing
for you, it is remarkably valuable to the grocery store - if it can be
databased properly. That entails collecting and storing the DATA regarding your purchases (with those of other
customers) and then transforming that data into INFORMATION for management to use for efficient,
effective decision making ...
- Did the ad campaign for "Joe's" 27oz. tooth polish
affect sales - should it be continued?
- How many turkeys did we sell last Thanksgiving - how
many did we have to throw away - how many to stock for next Thanksgiving?
- What is the optimum price for margarine, before we
start driving customers to alternative products (like butter), or worse yet, to
- ... and lots more.
Third, and most important, business
organizations that can make effective use of the data they generate every day
will be the ones that survive and thrive in the future.
databases are that critical, why don't more businesses and organizations use
A: Your DATA, and its ability
to provide you with INFORMATION is what is truly
Almost all organizations (business and other) do have and use
databases. For example, every accounting program is a database (although a very
specialized form of database.) Contact management programs, schedulers and even
most spreadsheets are databases.
We can design and implement a
database that will enable you to get the most from the data you collect every
day, in the normal course of doing business - and have it deliver information
to you that you can actually use.
designing a Database all that difficult?
A: It is a
specialization - even for programmers.
Like anything else, if a
database is designed properly, it will serve you well and not require constant
maintenance and repair. If it's not designed properly, a database can make a
mess of your data and cripple your ability to rely on it for useable
The Relational database model was developed in the
early 1970's to resolve various data integrity problems inherent earlier
database types and has a more solid theoretical foundation in Relational
Algebra and Relational Calculus.
Don't let the "math" terms scare you -
simply put, the Relational database model is a database design structure that
provides for the maximum data integrity - reduced risk of data corruption and
error - and the maximum flexibility in extracting reliable INFORMATION from your DATA.
Mercury specializes in designing and
implementing Relational and Object-Relational databases.
1997-2002 Mercury Business Systems
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