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Databases versus Spreadsheets-do you know where your data is?
 

Databases versus Spreadsheets-do you know where your data is?

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As a data management tool, databases are far better than spreadsheets. We present some evidence of spreadsheet problems and look at all the things a database can do better that you might not have ...

As a data management tool, databases are far better than spreadsheets. We present some evidence of spreadsheet problems and look at all the things a database can do better that you might not have thought of.

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  • It is a common office scenario and we have all been there ………….
  • Contacts in your address book software or in a rolodex Correspondence, letters, contracts, faxes, maps, drawings and diagrams in a filing cabinet Financial data in spreadsheets Important dates and a diary
  • Here are some of the most common tasks a database will handle for you. A good database will put all these business functions together and relate them all to eachother, And give you and all your staff access to this information where ever they are (Remote access) Later we will look at some examples of how companies incorporate these into a database
  • Many people don’t realise all the uses a database can have. It can take on any role you can think of. Many of my clients only see the possiblities after the database is installed in their offices. Then I get the call-can we get it to do this? The great thing about this type of database is that it is flexible so you CAN start off with one database and add and relate more functionality later as you need.
  • LPSA This practice needed a place to hold pre-operative notes, diagrams and drawings. The database we created allows them to quickly record measurements, patient condition and proposed treatment. For each patient there is a complete record of all proceedures carried out and by whom, with results documented by photos, diagrams and interview.
  • problem When employees write to clients or suppliers, where are those documents stored, how are they tracked down when needed and who is backing them up? These were the uncomfortable truths facing the management of this publishing company.  Quotes, contracts and letters sent to clients could be originated in any number of programs. Documents were stored on individual machines. Loss of data was not uncommon. Access for others time consuming. 
  • The Macsimize solution An essential part of our solution was a letters database.  Every letter, whether created from scratch or selected from a standard list, is linked to a contact, so there is a record of exactly what was sent, when and by whom, then backed-up automatically and available across the network. Other documents(contracts, artwork, editorial from the magazine) not created within the database can still be stored, attached to a particular contact and viewed with one click
  •   solution A diary database helped a doctors practice reception and medical staff schedule quickly and accurately.  The database works over a network so information is available to all in the practice.  Doctors input times they are in surgery or able to see patients.  Appointment types have a time value so reception staff don’t over book. Many doctors can be viewed on a single screen to coordinate support staff like nurses and anesthetists. 
  • SENIORS NETWORK problem Email is a cost effective way to communicate with your clients, but when there are 10,000 to be sent, our clients found their mail program was not a good choice. One bad address stops the whole exercise.  Their clients complained about repeat mailings and staff were tired of hitting the send button.  Solution An database that emailed was the simple solution.  We designed a contact database and imported the contact data. Their staff now do a find to isolate the contacts they are writing to and click the send button once.  The database does the rest. A bad address is reported but does not stop the whole mailing
  • We turned six databases into one

Databases versus Spreadsheets-do you know where your data is? Databases versus Spreadsheets-do you know where your data is? Presentation Transcript

  • You have lost track of that document. It was just sitting on your desk or in a cabinet somewhere. You saved a copy of it on the computer but in which folder? On which computer?
  • Ask colleagues, search your desk, search your hard drives … . If you find it how much did that search set you back?
  • Time at work costs and in this economy, you have to make every minute count…
  • Where is your data now? Data is everywhere. Successful companies use it effectively. That means knowing where it is and being able to access it immediately. Paper and electronic calendars Email Documents iPhoto Spreadsheets On paper Address Book
  • “ ” Stefan Chauveau Macsimize Consulting Bring it together into a well designed database which will connnect all your data and create relationships between every type of data, then…you will have a powerful and efficient system to take your business to the next level. Data is a valuable company asset.
  • Using spreadsheets as a database? Business experts everywhere agree, spreadsheets are overused in business.
  • Microsoft estimates that more than 70% of Excel users use it as a database. Why is this a problem?…
  • Top problems spreadsheet users talk about
    • It is difficult and time consuming to search, find, sort and access data stored in spreadsheets.
    • Employees using shared workbooks complain about loss of data .
    • Users are vulnerable to mistakes since data cells cannot be restricted to a range of values or a list of acceptable values.
    • A product number 0098 gets changed by spreadsheet software to 98 while part number 5/18 gets changed to May 18.
    • Sorting spreadsheet cells presents a major opportunity to corrupt data , damage information and destroy the results of calculations.
  • Why would you want to put information into a database instead of a spreadsheet or a document?
    • Spreadsheets were designed for one time analysis , not for holding your business data.
    • As a spreadsheet grows in number of rows and complexity, it becomes confusing and time consuming to search, change, share and use.
    • Databases are far quicker at finding information and answering questions.
    • A relational database enables you to link or create relationships between all forms of your data
  • How databases are better than spreadsheets
    • Efficient
      • A database provides multiple views of the same set of data
    • Easier to share
      • Many people can edit a database at the same time
    • Security
      • Set levels of passwords, track and control who creates, updates and edits data
    • Accuracy
      • Protect users from data entry errors by restricting data they enter to a range or a list of acceptable values
  • More reasons databases are better than spreadsheets
    • Fast reporting
      • You might have a list of customers in an address book and items you have sold them in spreadsheets. Put this data into a relational database and with a few clicks you can see all the items each customer purchased.
    • Greater capacity
      • Databases can hold millions of records.
    • Control duplication
      • Databases find duplicates easily. Just find and sort.
      • Watch out for sorts in spreadsheets.
  • When your data grows or you need better access to it, then it is time to switch to a database. Unite your data! Put spreadsheet data into database.
  • Not all databases are created equal
    • You might be using some sort of database in your office already , an address book, a spreadsheet, a photo library, or a calendar to manage your appointments.
    • These programs are limited
      • you cannot share information between software packages
      • they do not see or connect the data outside their program
      • the data they hold is not related, “relational”
      • they are not multi-user so they cannot be updated by more than one person at a time
  • A great database will pull it all together Email Campaign Management Send emails to all your contacts. Great for monthly newsletters and announcements. Contact Management Manage all your personal and business contact information, including addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Inventory Manage inventory items such as products, school supplies and household valuables. Research Notes Compile and organize all your research notes in one location. Task Management Track tasks, contacts and status associated with any project. To Do List Organize, track and assign responsibilities for work assignments, school projects, or household chores. Event Management Track event details, invitees, even gifts and thank you notes. Great for fundraisers, weddings, or trade shows. Registration Manage events and attendees. Link attendees to each event. Print badges and manage hotel reservations. Invoices Track all your product and customer details. Create, manage, and print customized invoices for every order.
  • A great database can keep growing as you need it. People Management Measure performance and track goals for yourself or employees. Personnel Records Manage employee data such as hire date, salary, manager, review dates. Expense Reports Track and report reimbursable expenses. Asset Management Track office assets and other depreciable items. Fields could include asset category, serial number and purchase date. Resource Scheduling Manage resources such as speakers, conference rooms, or A/V equipment. Issue Tracking Manage issues by priority and track status and resolution. Time Billing Calculate hours worked, hours billed, and hourly rate for each employee on a weekly basis. Time Cards Calculates hours worked based on start time, end time and duration of breaks. Document Library Organize and quickly locate Word docs, PDF files, sound files, Excel spreadsheets, movies, photos, PowerPoint presentations and more.
  • With the ability to expand and modify the possibilities are endless. A relational database enables you to link or create relationships between all forms of your data, even photos, movies and sound! Photo Catalog Store and organize digital images. Add a keyword to each picture to quickly retrieve the information you need. Product Catalog Store and organize product information. Include serial numbers, prices and pictures of your products.
  • Databases working for real companies . Lets take a brief look at actual solutions.
    • 4. Senior Citizens Network
      • Email Marketing
    • 5. Realtors Office
      • Merging data across several offices
      • Tracking sales
    • 6. Savile Row Tailor
      • Point of sale system
    • 1. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
      • Holding drawings and measurements
    • 2. Publishers
      • Managing letters and documents
    • 3. Surgeons
      • Diary and letters
  • 1. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons Using drawings and measurements
    • This practice needed a place to hold pre-operative notes, diagrams and drawings.
    • The Macsimize solution:
      • The database we created allows them to quickly record measurements, patient condition and proposed treatment .
      • For each patient there is a complete record of all procedures carried out and by whom, with results documented by photos , diagrams and interview .
    • The next three (3) pages will show screens from their solution -- >
  • Staff can see all the options from the entry screen
  • Doctors see patient treatment/history, correspondence, appointments. With a few clicks they can write and send FAXES or EMAILS, SCHEDULE events and create INVOICES. This is the CONTACT screen.
  • < A place to input photos and precise measurements taken during examinations.
  • 2. Publisher Managing letters and documents
    • When employees write to clients or suppliers:
      • Where are those documents stored?
      • How are they tracked down when needed ?
      • Who is backing them up?
      • Documents could be originated in any number of programs.
      • Loss of data was not uncommon.
      • Access for others time consuming.
  • 2. Publisher Managing letters and documents
    • The Macsimize solution
      • An essential part of our solution was a letters database.
        • Every letter, whether created from scratch or selected from a standard list, is linked to a contact.
        • There is a record of exactly what was sent, when and by whom.
        • Backed-up automatically.
        • Available across the network from any machine.
      • Documents created in other programs can still be stored, attached to a particular contact and viewed with one click.
  • 3. Surgeons Office Diary and letters database
    • The problem
      • Three story office where reception and medical staff needed help with communication.
    • The Macsimize solution
      • A diary database helped reception and medical staff schedule quickly and accurately. 
      • The diary works over a network with computers in treatment and consult rooms so information is available to all in the practice.
      • Doctors input times they are in surgery or able to see patients.
      • Appointment types have a time value so reception staff do not over book.
      • Multiple staff can be viewed on a single screen to coordinate treatment team staff like nurses and anesthetists.   The next three pages will show you part of this solution ->
  • Users click to jump forward or back by 1,7,14,21 or 28 days without leaving day view. This is the DIARY day view for a single doctor. Users click here to view multiple staff side by side. See the results of this on the next slide.
  • 3. Surgeons Office Letters database
    • A letters database allows staff to create and store new letters or choose from a standard list.
    • All letters are linked to patients.
    • Provides a record of what was sent to patient and verifies compliance.
    • Keeps letters centralised. No need to search through paper files. Saves time.
    • The next page will show you this solution ->
  • Staff choose standard LETTERS from a pull down list or click new to create one.
  • 4. Senior Citizens Network Handling 10,000 emails
    • The problem
      • Emailing to 10,000 members using multiple address books.
      • Bad addresses causing whole group to come back, with confusion about which ones were sent/not sent.
      • Could not search for duplicates.
    • The Macsimize solution
      • An email database to manage their communication with members.
      • How it works:  
        • Create a newsletter.
        • Find recipients in database you want to send to.
        • Newsletter is sent out to recipients with one click.
        • A bad address does not stop the whole mailing.
  • 5. Estate Agents office - Merging data across several offices -Tracking sales
    • The problem -> data data everywhere
      • Three separate databases in each office that were not talking to each other which meant duplicates, duplicates, duplicates.
      • There was no network between the offices.
      • No activity tracking across both offices leading to problems with overlapping and repetitive selling to prospects.  
    • The Macsimize solution
      • Designed one database to accommodate all their information.
      • Connected up the offices. Merged and imported their existing data.
      • Database tracks sales activity.
      • Records buyers, sellers, properties and their purchase history.
      • Helps them manage the complexity of buyers becoming sellers and sellers becoming buyers.
  • 6. Savile Row Tailor - Growing business, growing data needs -New Point of sale system
    • Good example of starting small and expanding in phases.
      • This client started with a simple flat file database for contacts.
      • It was used to generate form letters, labels and reports.
    • The problem
      • Their needs changed
      • They decided to modernize and expand into retail.
      • Wanted more control of their tailoring operation.
  • 6. Savile Row II - The Solution - Growing business, growing data needs -New Point of sale system
    • The Macsimize solution
      • The database was made relational .
      • Added a products database.
      • Created an ordering form system for the bespoke clothing.
      • Designed a point of sale system for the retail.
        • Keeps track of store sales
        • Creates and prints bar-coded garment labels
        • Generates in store customer invoices 
        • Stock control
        • Product information such as sales, stock levels, wholesale and retail prices and profits immediately available. 
        • Reporting-Used to find out what their best sellers are, who the best customers are and the busiest months. 
      • The next slides will show you parts of this solution ->
  • The ENTRY screen makes navigation clear and fast.
  • Here, in the CONTACT screen, staff see complete purchase history, invoices, correspondence and appointments. With a few clicks they can write and send faxes or emails, make appointments and create invoices.
  • One click from the CONTACT screen takes staff to INVOICE screen for a view of purchase history of a customer.
  • This is the PRODUCTS screen. Staff use this for product data such as product description, pricing, supplier details and controlling stock levels.
  • For this client, PHOTOGRAPHS are essential and can be linked to products or clients.
  • With their database this client creates regular REPORTS. Here they can see all CUSTOMERS and their PURCHASES. d d d d d d
  • This report shows SALES by EMPLOYEE which helps manage performance targets and bonuses.
  • Here SALES are broken down by PRODUCT enabling management to identify top selling ranges and items.
  • Stefan Chauveau Founder Macsimize, a full service consultancy specializing in custom database solutions.
    • Developing database solutions since 1986
    • Independent consultant since 1992
    • Clients you might have heard of include Visa International, GEC Marconi, Deutche Bank, the BBC and CHANEL but Macsimize clients are big and small. 
    • Helped over 300 clients across a wide range of industries.
      • Artists
      • Architects
      • Photographers
      • Publishers
      • Schools
      • Retail and mail order businesses
      • Designers and manufacturers
      • Garden designers and supply stores
      • Vineyards
      • Churches
      • Health Practitioners
  • Macsimize Database solutions with the benefits of FileMaker
    • Cross platform product
      • for Macs and PC
    • Award winning
      • 49 awards in the US, 130 worldwide
    • Fast to develop
      • you can have your solution quickly
    • Flexible and powerful
      • from a stand alone kiosk to 999 users on a network or via web browser
      • size of database is limited only by your hardware capacity
    • Doesn’t lock your data in “jail”
      • Imports (accepts) data from many sources.
      • Exports (shares) data easily to text, Excel, PDF.
    • Owned by Apple and as old as Mac
    • Flexible enough to add features you want as and when you need them
    • Saves automatically
  • How FileMaker compares with other database software.
    • Three year total cost of ownership survey reveals:
      • FileMaker vs. Microsoft, MySQL and Oracle
      • FileMaker stands out as cheaper to develop and run.
        • Source: Infostructure Associates of Massachusetts - December 2005
  • “ Improve your data management and turn your business data into business intelligence for sound decision making .”
    • Call Macsimize to discuss the benefits of using a database in your business.