Most, if not all of you would be familiar with the concept of a database: a structured set of data that is held in a computer. An electronic filing cabinet, if you will. There are now over a million databases in use, which collect all sorts of information for businesses, organisations, charities, governments and individuals. An online database, however, differs slightly from a local database as it is accessible from the Internet.
Why are more people using online databases?
There are a number of reasons why online databases are becoming common practice:
- Time – Databases help automate processes that previously took lots of time and energy lost from recording, organising and finding information. Online databases help you to conduct even the most complex searches more quickly and easily. And because everything is stored online, there are no messy paper trails.
- Security – Often valuable information and documents can be lost or stolen within a business premises. An online database however secures its information within its hosting server, which is regularly monitored by hosting technicians.
- Accessibility – A database can be accessed from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection available and can be accessed by more than one user at a time. This allows many users to update recorded information at the same time.
- Economical – Online databases are very affordable to own and maintain.
How can you use a database? What capabilities are there?
The real question is not ‘What can I do with a database?’- it’s ‘What can’t I do with a database!’ The possibilities are endless. Below are some of the more popular capabilities:
- Online ordering/quoting systems
- Email marketing
- Updating of website content
- Recording customer (and account) information
- Online payment gateways
- Order logs and stock availability
- Bookkeeping information
- Reporting and statistical information
- Integrations with other third parties (e.g. Ebay, Australia Post, Paypal, Facebook)
- Custom features
All the different uses for an online database give rise to one VERY important question!
Is an online database right for me?
The answer is most likely YES! The myriad of ways in which you can use an online database means that having one will save you an invaluable amount of time and energy- no matter what it is you’re after.
Take for example this case study from one of Firework’s clients:
Case Study: Maycut – www.maycut.com.au
When Maycut, an established manufacturer of custom-made cabinets, first contacted Fireworks, they explained that they wanted to speed up the communication process between themselves and their clients. Previously, specifications were sent manually from the customer then had to be copied into other complicated documents which required double and triple checking to make sure that no errors had been made. Often customers would come back with further revisions, requiring further changes be made to the document information.
To meet their requirements, Fireworks set up an online database of specifications, which interacted with a custom built online ordering system. The system allows clients to compile a cabinet’s dimensions, routing patterns, painting options and other features in real time so that they can build their cabinets on the screen. Customers can then order their cabinets, which will then send the cabinet specifications document to Maycut.
This is one of many of our clients who have benefited from using an online database. To talk to an expert about your requirements for an online database, why not give Fireworks a call on 1300 660 160! One of our friendly staff will be more than happy to discuss the best online database solution for you and your business.