Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2

    Replacing Access but with WHAT!?!

    Hi

    I am not sure whether this is the right place to post this but well ... My manager has tasked me to find a database solution for our team and i have absolutely NO IDEA where to start.

    I am not a very technical person but for the last 6 years I have been building and maintaining an Access database for my team. The database does the job but Access is not supported by our IT department and generally not liked by my company.

    It is however the lack of support/funding for anything else which created the need to use Access in the first place (I am sure a lot of people are in the same situation here...).

    Anyway, I am now considering to move on and my manager is worried about who is going to maintain the db and wants to investigate other options than Access. He has funding to employ an external company to set this up for us but we don't know what is out there.

    So I was hoping that someone here may be able to point me in the right direction... please.

    This is what our database currently does and what we are hoping for it to continue doing:

    - pull information together from a variety of sources. I have set this up that Access imports spreadsheets into tables at the click of a button and then reorganises the data so it can be used in outputs which are also produced at the click of a button and which are exported into Excel
    - the db contains a couple of forms where you can edit data directly
    - the db also exports some of its key tables into spreadsheets where they can be updated. The updated data can then be reimported at the click of a button
    - the db produces a number of standard reports which are also exported into Excel and which contain different tabs, drop downs for sorting the data and graphs and charts

    Whatever platform we are going to go with going forward needs to give us the flexibility to amend the data daily without having to relie on technical staff. Also we need to be able to edit more than one record at any one time. Our data relates to geographically widespred information and it is essential to sort by, say, country and edit all the records from one country at the same time instead of retrieving each record independently and then saving and moving onto the next one.


    anyone?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2

    Replacing Access but with WHAT???

    I am not sure whether this is the right place to post this but well ... My manager has tasked me to find a database solution for our team and i have absolutely NO IDEA where to start.

    I am not a very technical person but for the last 6 years I have been building and maintaining an Access database for my team. The database does the job but Access is not supported by our IT department and generally not liked by my company.

    It is however the lack of support/funding for anything else which created the need to use Access in the first place (I am sure a lot of people are in the same situation here...).

    Anyway, I am now considering to move on and my manager is worried about who is going to maintain the db and wants to investigate other options than Access. He has funding to employ an external company to set this up for us but we don't know what is out there.

    So I was hoping that someone here may be able to point me in the right direction... please.

    This is what our database currently does and what we are hoping for it to continue doing:

    - pull information together from a variety of sources. I have set this up that Access imports spreadsheets into tables at the click of a button and then reorganises the data so it can be used in outputs which are also produced at the click of a button and which are exported into Excel
    - the db contains a couple of forms where you can edit data directly
    - the db also exports some of its key tables into spreadsheets where they can be updated. The updated data can then be reimported at the click of a button
    - the db produces a number of standard reports which are also exported into Excel and which contain different tabs, drop downs for sorting the data and graphs and charts

    Whatever platform we are going to go with going forward needs to give us the flexibility to amend the data daily without having to relie on technical staff. Also we need to be able to edit more than one record at any one time. Our data relates to geographically widespred information and it is essential to sort by, say, country and edit all the records from one country at the same time instead of retrieving each record independently and then saving and moving onto the next one.


    anyone

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    5,442
    From my experience (been there, done that) and according with your description, the costs will be 5 to 15 times higher (depending on several parameters and choices) than a solution based on Access.

    1. You'll need a database engine:
    - SQL Server (expensive),
    - Oracle (very expensive),
    - Open Source such as MySQL, etc. (cheap but possibly hazardous because you're on your own... kind of).

    2. You'll need a database administrator (at least part-time) to maintain the Db server. Never, ever consider discarding this necessity, it would be a terrible mistake if the data in the system are of any value.

    3. For the application, whether you stick with a traditional solution (Windows Forms), or switch to a Web based solution, or even if you choose to use a mix of both, a .NET platform (VB.Net, C#) seems like a rational choice. However:
    - Visual Studio .NET is far from being free,
    - Programing with the .NET framework is totally different from programing in VB/VBA with Access and Excel. It's more complex too.
    - Any change, even a minor one, will be slower and more difficult to implement.
    - The costs of maintenance will be higher too.

    4. You can also choose a totally different development platform but I have no experience in that area.

    5. If you decide to outsource the project, be very cautious and attentive to the least detail. As far as possible, all the specifications must be written and explained as clearly and unambiguously as possible. These specifications must be contractual. I've known outsourced project that yielded unusable or unmaintainable results because the specs were not clear enough ("it goes without saying that..." does not work !).

    6. In any case and whatever your choice will be, be sure to have the necessary resources, time and budget.
    Have a nice day!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    to be honest

    tell your IT department to grow up, move into the 1990's and accept that file server products such as Access are perfectly valid tools to get access to your data. often the reason why many departments resort to Access is that the central IT function is either overloaded with other development tasks or isn't very good at meeting customer demands

    as to a suitable replacement. I'd suggest you outline ther probem to the IT department and suggest what they believe is a better prospect than Access, especially as they are the one claiming Access isn't standard or good enough

    the reality is no matter which pathway you go down there will always be a cost, there will always be some numpty saying its isn't standard, its isn't whatever. the reality is that virtually any piece of software can be made to whatever. it may take longer with sem, it may require more resources but its virtually possible to do anything with any software.

    If your employer has invested time over that 6 year period in the Access application then unless there is some major bugbear in the current application Id' suggest they leave it well alone and run with what they have got. The only caveat I'd put on that is depending on how the application has been developed. if like flopsy its just grown, without a clear specification, without adequate experience in db design then mebbe thats good cause to can it. plain vanilla Access is "too easy" meaning its possible to 'knock up' a db that meets current requirements but because of the lack of proper discipline in the design & development & testing phases it becomes a frightmare to maintain

    What ive suggested in similar circumstances before is that the IT department take on someone up to speed with Access, or Filemaker or whatever and support their users regain access to their own data. freeing up the IT department to spend quality time worshipping their mainframes, their server farms, their whatever.


    so taking a step out
    file server products
    Access, Fielmaker, Open DB (dunno where this product is these days)
    server products
    SQL server, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle or whatever is the IT departments preferred weapon of choice, BUT you will nbeed soemthign that can act as the front end. that coudl include Access, or it could be a JIT or compiled language such as .NET or Java. it could also be a scripting language such as PHP or ASP/ASP.NET or PERL, whatever the IT department condescends to regard as 'valid'. but perhaps someone needs to remind the IT department that they may well care for the companies data, they don't own it, and they shouldn't force operating units to waste money on external resources.

    there are lots of organisations that could maintain an Access DB. I'd be wary about bringing in an outside resource to develop an Access application solely on your behalf
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •