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Database Design and Implementation ...


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      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 scope.

   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
    • Oracle
    • MySQL
    • MS SQL Server
    • Paradox
    • dBase
    • Data Direct
    • ... and others
  • Designing Custom Database Applications for:

    • 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 College)

   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 needs.

   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 organization.


  Database FAQ's


 

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 -
all your 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 accountants do.


Q: I already have MS Access® - isn't that a Database?

A: Not exactly.
MS 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 Database anyway?

A: Simply put, a database is any collection of related data.
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 databases.


Q: OK, so what's the big deal with databases?

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 use.

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 item.)

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 alternative stores?
  • ... 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.


Q: If databases are that critical, why don't more businesses and organizations use them?

A: Your DATA, and its ability to provide you with INFORMATION is what is truly critical.
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.


Q: Is 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 information.

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.
   

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