Much of the database design information available on the internet is geared towards the designers. The lingo alone is enough to discourage a lot of small business owners. If that describes you, don't worry. It's not as complicated as it seems.
There are some designers that want to keep the whole subject "mysterious". If they simplified the subject so that you and I could understand it, we might not need them. Luckily, only a few designers think that way these days.
You might want to interview several designers before you choose one or you could simply buy your own database design software and do it yourself. If your system does not need to be too "customized", there are plenty of good tools available.
Creating a system is really more time consuming than anything else. It isn't that hard to input information. Anyone can do it. Setting the system up to allow for data entry is the tricky part. The larger your business and the more complex your system requirements, the longer the designing process will take.
If you do decide to go with a designer, which could be a great idea, you will find that some of them charge by the hour, while others charge a flat "per project" rate. Usually the all-inclusive total project package is your best price. Just be sure that the contract specifies a few things. These are some of the points you might want to include:
• Project completion date (discount for being late?)
• No additional charge for additional time or equipment needed
• Upgrades or changes can be made at your business (no need to call the designer back in)
• Support for problems
• Guaranteed to perform as specified
If you decide to go with database design software instead of hiring a designer, you can download the programs from the internet. Some companies offer a free trial. Some offer a basic free system. You pay only if you need their "expert" or "pro" versions. My advice is to give the software a try first. If you feel that you are in over your head, you can always contact a designer.
You may be surprised by all of the things that a database can do for your business. Many companies experience increased profits. All of the companies, with which I am familiar, experience new growth. Your employees and your customers will be happier. So, not only will your new database design be good for your bottom line, it will help create a more positive work environment, too.
Tom Gruich is a professional database designer with 40 years experience in systems analysis and design of database software applications. For more database business mapping thoughts and design ideas please visit Database Mapping or his Smart Database website at => http://www.adaptcode.com
06 August 2009 software tips