Why you should start using a database instead of Excel and Word

 

Why you should start using a database instead of Excel and Word
Spreadsheets can only go so far. Databases are the next best step for complex data sets.
Businesshands will help you identify the pros and cons of using MS Office Access database as your software development system.

1. Sharing information
With a spreadsheet (or even word document), only one person can access the data at any one time. However with a central database, more than one person can look at the data simultaneously

2. Elimination of multiple data entry
Ever wondered just how much time you waste by copying and pasting data between documents? With a central database, as all data is stored centrally, there is no need to copy data – saving you all this time

3. Improved data quality and consistency
As all data is stored in one place, it means that everybody uses the same data rather than different variants e.g different spellings for somebody’s address

4. Effective version control
One of the problems that I see regularly in organisations is that people get confused between various versions of documents. Using a well built database, it means that everybody can easily see the latest version of a document

5. Security
In many companies, there is a need to keep certain data restricted, whilst other data can be readily shared. These sort of privileges can be tricky to maintain – especially when there several hundred documents. In a database, every user has their own logon credentials meaning that it is far easier to manage access rights to information.

6. Faster information
With a database it is easy to set up a dashboard to highlight potential problems in the business e.g. any deadlines or payments that are overdue. With a spreadsheet or word structure, these can be difficult to set up and even more difficult to maintain.

7. Mobile devices
With a bit of thought, a database can be designed so that it fits neatly onto a mobile phone or tablet. Further, information can be exchanged in real time between the database and the mobile device – so your mobile workforce can see up to date information in real time

8. Faster reporting
Management need accurate information to make decisions more effectively. Often the data for this comes from several sources meaning that it takes time to assemble. With a database, the report production can be automated – saving time.

9. Sophisticated layouts
In an excel spreadsheet you can only place information in specific cells or rows. However, with a database it can be placed in a manner that you choose, meaning that you can bring together data in a much more meaningful manner.

10. Versatility
Microsoft access can be used for type of business as its very versatile. A good developer will be able to create a Microsoft access database to suit your needs.

11. Click through capability
With a database, you can click on a piece of data and follow it through easily e.g:-
• Click on a customer and see all his orders
• Select one order and see what items have been purchased in an order
• Take one item and get a description of the item
• Identify other orders that contain this item – across all customers
• Get reports about when and how often this item is purchased
• Use this information to obtain better deals with your suppliers – increasing profitability

Businesshands

7 things you need to do to your website right now

So you’ve just had a brand new website built and you’re ready for launch. It’s packed full of glossy images. Stacked full of information about your company and jacked up to the nines with widgets to let people follow you, sign up to your newsletter or even book a meeting. It’s all very exciting and you’ve led the project from start to finish. You really feel it shows off, not just your creative genius but also the values and the personality of the brand it represents. But before you hit the “launch” button, there’s a few things you should be checking to make sure your website doesn’t end up doing more damage to your brand than good. Things which you’d be amazed how many businesses fail to do.

Check for spelling and grammar errors

For every website that is spelling and grammar error free, there will be five more websites that are littered with literary mistakes and that’s bad for business. If you’re building an all singing, all dancing website, it can be easy to get caught up in the aesthetics and the functionality and forget to proof read the information your website displays. For best practice, get at least two other people to proof read the entire website before going live. If you’ve already gone live, go back and do it anyway.

Check for inaccurate or outdated information

Yes, this might be a shiny new website, but for many, the temptation to copy and paste at least a few paragraphs from the old website will be strong and why not. After all, the company has probably not changed much over the years so where’s the harm? Well, if your website contains statistics or outdated processes from a decade ago, it’s not going to look very relevant today. Similarly, expressing pride for winning an award back in 2012 isn’t going to make you look like a very forward thinking company. But what’s more important than both of these however, is if your website mentions laws or regulations that have changed. You could become liable if a visitor comes to your website for advice and then suffers because of it.

Check your links work

Links between different areas of your website are good for SEO and depending on the size and type of your website, your links could run into the tens or even hundreds. But faulty links have the opposite effect. They’re bad for SEO and bad for the customer experience so check every link works before going live. The most common link failures we come across are the social media icons, which often still link to the web developer’s social media sites or don’t go anywhere at all.

…. A further note on social media links

If you have no intention of implementing a social media strategy and will not be using your social media regularly, we would recommend not putting links to them on your website. Social Media is used by prospective clients as a validation tool to aid in the buying process. If you are not using social media, it’s better to not advertise the fact. If you have an existing website with social media links and you’re not using social media, ask your development team to remove them.

Make sure your contact information is correct

Its easily overlooked, but check the website developer hasn’t left a “filler” number in the contact information field or in the footer by mistake? If it looks like the right number, just go through it slowly. You’d be surprised how many times a couple of numbers are the wrong way around or one of the numbers is missing. What about the email address. Is that correct? Is it still in use? Have you tested it recently? It would be a shame if customers are emailing you and their message is going into an online abyss. And of course, don’t forget to test your contact forms too. Do they work? Where do they point to? Will your customer receive an automated responder once they send in a query?

Check it works equally well on a mobile

With well over half of all internet traffic taking place on a mobile device these days, if you’re website is not mobile compatible, your business will seriously miss out. It’s worth remembering that Google rates mobile friendly websites higher than non-mobile friendly sites, so even if your website is viewable but not “mobile compatible” your Google ranking will be affected. And if your web developer says your website is mobile friendly, don’t just take their work for it. It’s up to you to thoroughly test your site. Often developers will use website themes (like a template) which automatically adjusts the website for different devices, however they don’t always work as they should and you might find different parts of your website end up overlapping or become unusable.

Get third party feedback

Last but not least, ask someone who is not immediately involved in your organisation to look at your website and explain to you what you do and the value you offer. So often, the content of a website is written by someone so entrenched in the company and the industry they represent that the message they deliver is not coherent to people on the outside. Remember, your message has to explain to a potential customer, the value you deliver and why they should have an interest in your products or services. It doesn’t need to deliver a detailed historical account of your company or provide in-depth technical specifications for your offering (unless you are an e-commerce site).

So there you go. 7 simple things you can do right now to make your website that little bit better. Of course there are many more and we’d welcome your thoughts and advice, so website guru’s – we look forward to you adding your thoughts in the comments field below.