ou Should Consider Custom Database Design
Every company, no matters its size, needs to manage
data effectively. Yet often, companies turn to off-the-shelf database software systems to track and report on client information, financials and other important data. These mass market systems usually offer data fields and reports your company does not need while lacking fields and features that would assist you in better managing the information you require to run a successful business.
Do your employees currently waste time entering double data in multiple software programs?
Think of the paid hours wasted each day on redundant data entry.
Do you have to export information from multiple reports into spreadsheets to get the exact information you need?
Copy and pasting, re-calculating, and re-verifying, adds up rapidly.
Is your business workflow different from the off-the-shelf solutions?
Would you like an approval step after an order is placed but BEFORE the credit card of the customer is charged?
Do you have to get creative with existing data fields in mass market software in an attempt to customize the product for your precise needs?
Or, do you have to review complicated reports to get the information you need to make critical business decisions?
Is sharing information in your workplace inefficient or impossible?
Do you spend a lot of time keeping track of your inventory or customer list?
Do you need your database application to be available from different locations?
Are you forced to do things in a way that is confusing or counterproductive for your business model because of the limitations of your off-the-shelf database software?
Do you dream of a more logical and user-friendly database for your business needs?
If you answered, “Yes!” to any of these questions, then you may be a candidate for custom database design.
What are the Benefits of Custom Database Design?
Cape Fear Software has a proven track record in creating custom database solutions that satisfy the specific needs of our clients. Our skilled developers and designers will take the time to understand your business and help you analyze your processes and internal systems. Then, we’ll design a streamlined database that delivers the best way to organize, manage, and distribute your data.
You will benefit from a user-friendly interface (that can even mimic your company branding!) and intuitive, easy-to-understand menus and buttons. Your custom database will also allow employees of every skill level to use data fields, tables, forms, and reports. Furthermore, we’ll create security settings that enable users of all levels to log in and access the information they need from any internet-enabled computer, mobile phone, or portable electronic devise.
We believe that every database should be powerful, yet logical and intuitive. We’ll create a system built on common sense– one your employees can easily understand and incorporate into their work routine, not one that requires countless hours of training or a manual as thick as a phone book!
Your custom-built database will be designed to grow with your company. We’ll focus on creating a data management system that provides you with the features you need now while still allowing for the flexibility to include additional features and integrate into other products as necessary.
Finally, you’ll minimize the reduction of data loss. With a custom database, data is easy to backup and archive, plus it can be restored with limited interruption to your business.
Whereas an inefficient database will cost you money in the forms of: poor employee productivity, lost sales, difficult maintenance, expensive computers, frequent repairs, and difficult improvements; a well-designed custom database will: protect your data from errors, minimize costs, correct mistakes, increase worker productivity, and allow for flexibility.
What Kinds of Custom Databases Can Cape Fear Software Design?
If you can imagine it, we can design it. Whether you need a web-based database, a customer database, a sales tracking database, a subscription database, a marketing database, an inventory database, or all of the above, we can create a solution for you.
Simply put, our database programmers can work in any development environment on PCs, servers, or handhelds.
For those who like to get technical, this means that we have extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in database applications for most major platforms: MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and Postgres. We develop software in major languages such as PHP, Java, .Net, and Visual Basic.
Whether you need a database-driven web site or a full-featured integration with a large-scale customer relationship management system (CRM), Cape Fear Software can build it.
This list is by no means comprehensive. Whatever your needs are, you can have a custom designed database to match!
How Much Does a Custom Designed Database Cost?
Not as much as you think. Many people still believe that custom databases are only practical for large corporations with unlimited budgets. But more and more small to mid-sized companies have learned that a custom designed database is often a more affordable and viable option than adaptation to an off-the-shelf system.
Yet in many cases, companies spend more time and money customizing off-the-shelf database software such as FileMaker Pro or Microsoft Access than they would have spent creating a custom system that met their needs. Furthermore, the return on investment is significant when companies reap the benefits of dramatically increased productivity in daily operations. Our database designs also offer features like customized reporting and optional integration with other software or websites, allowing you to enhance or expand you systems with minimal costs. And remember that unlike off-the-shelf database software, with a custom database there are typically no monthly or annual licensing costs.
Regardless of the size, complexity, or budget of your project, we can provide custom database services tailored to your needs. To learn more about how a custom database solution can help your business or to request a quote, contact us today.
How Does the Design Process Work?
Our first objective when creating a custom database is to consult with you and evaluate your business needs and objectives. We’ll make sure that we share a clear understanding of the technical, business, and financial aspects of the project. We’ll work with you to understand your priorities, concerns, and goals for managing your data and then we’ll help you understand your options while recommending the most cost-effective approach to meet your needs. Our goals are to simplify your business processes, to reduce manual inefficiencies, errors and waste and to improve workflow productivity.
Next, we’ll begin the prototype design phase. We’ll present a simple, visual means to communicate and verify application capabilities before development begins. We will seek your feedback and approval at each step of the process to ensure that we are on the right track. The Cape Fear Software developers will engage your team in design review session in order to refine the prototype based upon your continued feedback and preferences. It is during this step that we uncover, communicate and resolve any unknowns so that the database functions according to your specific business and operational needs.
Once you have approved the prototype for your custom database, we will begin the detailed development of your database solution. We will establish a development timeline, and notify you when the Beta 1 application is available for your initial testing and feedback.
Then, you get to test-drive the functionality of your new custom database. The goal of this phase is to run the application through your end-to-end business process and verify that all features, capabilities, performance, security, data integrity and workflow are fully functional. In this phase, we identify any and all issues that prevent the new application from being used successfully in production. Cape Fear Software will continue to make refinements until everyone is satisfied that the new application is ready to deploy into production.
Once the new application is ready for production use, it’s time to import your business data into the new application. We will train Admin personnel on how to manage user accounts and security settings and how to install and configure the server. All of our work is covered by warranty, but we can also provide on-going database support and maintenance agreements ensure that your system is carefully monitored and running smoothly on a daily basis.
Here’s an Overview of the Technical Stuff You Don’t Need To Know or Worry About (But You’ll Be Glad That We Do!)
If you were an expert in database architecture, you probably wouldn’t need us! We’re not going to spend a lot of time boring you with techno speak. (In fact, we pride ourselves on speaking your language, not ours.) You don’t need to know all of the details of relational design, normalization, data typing and indexing. But what you do need to know is that these elements are the core of good database architecture and we use them! Just as with a house, a good database foundation makes everything easier, while a bad one makes for clumsy construction that is difficult to build on.
Normalization, for example, ensures optimal performance. It guarantees that data is easily accessible for reporting, and removes duplication. Data typing improves your database design efficiency while enforcing integrity. It’s what ensures that letters will never be placed in a field that’s designated for numbers and what prohibits users from putting invalid dates in a date field. Indexing and optimization allow your database to perform well now and into the future.
Constraints don’t usually sound like a good thing, but in database design they enforce the validity of your data. Stored procedures, which use SQL programming, are a key component of database security. Our developers are trained in the up-to-the-minute best practices to ensure that your database design is secure, fast, and reliable. Most importantly, it’s built on solid database architecture by a team of designers, coders, and developers who have a depth of experience in all of these areas.
Interested in Our Services?
If you want more information about any of our custom database design services – or to find out if we provide any services not mentioned (the answer is usually yes) – just contact us. To read testimonials from custom database clients, click here.
Take a skilled and experienced database architect. Add a collaborative, solution-oriented approach. Combine them with an affordable, robust, efficient, and secure database system, and you get the Cape Fear Software X Factor: unmatched results that only we can provide.