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All businesses, regardless of their size, are required to store and manage certain amounts of data. Whether it’s employee records, customer information, client payment details or in-house stock management, companies must keep track of every business transaction which takes place.
Whilst this can be complex for small businesses, it can be even more complicated for large corporations which may need to process thousands of data entries each day.
In order to provide a secure form of data management, many businesses rely on electronic software. Using database management software enables companies to collate their data in one location and access it when necessary. By using a database management system, businesses can ensure that their data is being held securely and that they can access it when they need to.
What Are The Benefits Of A DBMS?
A database management system, or DBMS, can increase the efficiency of your workforce significantly. By providing one location in which data can be accessed, edited and stored, employees from various business departments can use the information as and when they need to.
A universal, company-wide database management system also protects the integrity of your business data and ensures that entries aren’t duplicated. If you’re currently using various forms of data management, for example, employees in a different department may be accessing out-of-date information or making changes which other staff aren’t aware of.
Using one database management system to process all company data prevents this from occurring and ensures that accurate data can be accessed easily.
In addition to this, a database system negates the need for various forms of data processing and, as a result, requires far less storage space than you might currently be using. Prior to the introduction of database software, you may have been holding data for each department to access. A database management system, however, enables all staff to access information from one location, thus reducing the need for online and physical storage solutions.
Furthermore, storing your data in one location means that it can be backed up and secured easily. Should your company face an IT crisis or online security threat, vital company data can easily be restored and your business operations can continue with minimal interruption.
Customising Your Database Management System
As businesses have different needs, you’ll want to customise your database software so that it provides the most appropriate form of data processing for your business. Fortunately, database developers are aware of this and provide a range of customisation options.
When purchasing a database management system, you may be interested in the back-end development. Normally only relevant to a database developer, this will determine how your management works and how it can be implemented in conjunction with your existing IT systems.
Often referred to as the internal view of a database management system, you can determine how files will be stored and how the system is structured.
Perhaps more relevant to end users, the external view of a DBMS focuses on the interface your staff will use when working with database software. As your database management system will hold all company data, it may not be necessary for all employees to have access to the whole system.
Your payroll or HR department, for example, may only need to access employee records and personal details, whilst your stock management personnel may need to use data relating to incoming stock and outgoing invoices.
By using various different applications within your database system, workers in specific departments can have the data presented to them in a format which is most relevant to their role. This ensures that staff can process the data efficiently, in keeping with the needs of their specific department.
Furthermore, using various different applications to provide varying front-end interfaces prevents staff from accessing all forms of data. Employee records, for example, may contain personal or private information and this shouldn’t be accessible to other colleagues. In fact, only HR staff or upper management should have access to this type of information via a database system.
Similarly, your business may hold confidential company or client information, and it’s likely that you’ll want to restrict access to this type of information. Rather than allowing all members of staff to use this data, you can specify the users which can gain access to certain parts of the database.
Whilst you may want to provide staff with access to certain types of information, you could potentially restrict their ability to modify or delete information. If you reserve these functions for certain staff members, such as supervisors or line managers, for example, you reduce the risk of data being permanently deleted in error.
By customising your DB systems to include access levels, you can limit the data which is available to staff members, whilst still benefiting from the advantages of using one data management system.
Meeting Your Legal Obligations With Database Software
When operating, businesses have many legal obligations which they must adhere to. Keeping employee records so that tax and national insurance can be paid, for example, is vital. Similarly, businesses may need to keep records of their emissions or waste output, so that they don’t exceed the relevant guidelines.
If your business stores any customer data, you’ll also need to ensure that this is processed securely. With new legislation governing the use and storage of customer data, now might be the ideal time to upgrade your existing data processes.
For example, businesses will be required to dispose of customer data in a timely fashion, if that customer is an EU citizen. Similarly, companies will be unable to store more customer data than is necessary.
This means that your database management system may need to have automated disposal methods or deliver prompts to users so that data can be managed legally and effectively. Whilst this could be time-consuming for staff to deal with manually, database software ensures that data can be processed accurately, efficiently and in accordance with the law.
Making Your DBMS Work For You
In general, DB systems increase productivity and efficiency, particularly when companies are moving from a manual system of data processing or are combining more than one data processing format into a single data processing system.
It’s important, however, to ensure that your database management system is customised to suit your needs and that it is seamlessly integrated into your existing systems and business processes.
Although using one DBMS provides many benefits, you will need to consider how staff can modify data if they’re using the same information at the same time. Often referred to as concurrency, developers use a system known as ACID to prevent multiple modifications from being carried out at the same time.
For example, every data modification must be fully completed in order for the change to be stored in the database, every data amendment must be consistent with the existing database and made in isolation and, finally, the modification must be durable and be held in the system for as long as it is needed.
When selecting a database management system, it’s important to consider whether these elements would work for your business. Enabling users to modify the same data, at the same time, will clearly lead to confusion and these basic principles can prevent errors from occurring. Depending on the nature of your business, however, you may want to add certain criteria so that the database software works more efficiently for you.
Choosing Your Database Management System
When selecting your DBMS or database software, you’ll need to identify your business needs and structure so that you can choose a system which provides the functions you need. Whilst you may want your data stored in one physical location, for example, you may also want to consider a cloud-based system which provides online storage.
With an ever-increasing range of database software, there are various management systems which can be used to suit any business. In addition to this, the ability to customise your DBMS means that you can effectively create a bespoke data management system which will increase the efficiency and output of your business.