Unanswered: Database Choice For Small And Medium Sized Companies
Access is a good database for relatively simple business applications owing largely to its user interface.However as a database technology for business applications that may need to scale over time Access has various limitations in how it manages transactions, handles security and manages data storage. Access doesnot support atomic transactions, Access does not support encryption of the database and hence security problem ad various other issues. There are lot of benefits in migrating to Guptas SQLBase. Contact Gupta Technologies for more info.
Rather than jumping to the selection of a database language and/or system for a small to medium business you should be identifying your business requirements first.
Don't put the technology decision ahead of your business requirements decision.
Too many times I have seen clients eventually lamenting having made business-critical application decisions based on the knowledge (and thereby limits) of their in-house staff, their own limited "visibility" of options, and/or salesman recommendations and promises.
Additionally the question of "create it yourself" or purchase it "off-the-shelf" needs to be carefully considered. Along with all of its associated delivery timelines and costs (anticipated or not - today and future).
Typically the best place to begin is with a Business Profile or your entire organization. From that you will better understand what the information needs are today and hopefully you will be better informed as to future needs and/or "wish list" issues which need to be taken into consideration.
If you should decide to create the application in-house, you consider the availability of programming/support personnel. Despite some technology being superior to the task, if the number of people being available to use for development and for post-installation support is limited, you might be wise to look at other technologies.
Let me muddy the waters a bit. If you are going to have a high number of concurrent users hammering at the DB, then you should look at mySQL (www.mysql.com). It's free, fast, and works with Apache (free) and PHP (free). Many commercial websites use it. It can be configured to use Berkley DB, ISAM and innoDB tables. I've created VB6 frontends with ADO2.5 using its ISAM tables and ODBC driver on WIN9X systems. What's nice is that you can create your tables in MSAccess and import both data and structure almost directly. You can expand stand-alone systems into networked versions with few changes. Its available for many O/S, such as Lenux, as are OLEDB providers and system admininstrative utilities, all online and for free.