There is no shortage of programs designed to help businesses collect and collate data. For businesses that rely on the Microsoft Office Suite, Excel is often the go-to program for creating relatively simple spreadsheets. However, this program is not really designed to bring a lot of information together in a fast and efficient manner, and cross referencing and searching for data is not really what the software was intended for.
That said, Microsoft saw the need for a more complex database program and created a peripheral product for Office users, a relational database program called Access. If you thought learning the ins and outs of Excel was difficult, you’re going to have a tough time with Access, which requires precision data entry and ground-up planning to properly structure a database. In other words, it’s not really designed for the average office worker.
The main issue with Microsoft Access is that few people know how to use it, and fewer know how to use it right. Perhaps more important for business owners seeking database management solutions, however, is the fact that there are better options available, especially when you consider the benefits of applications customized to your company’s specific needs. Why should you ditch Access and upgrade to custom software solutions? Here are a few things to consider.
Although Access is similar in structure to other Microsoft products, which makes it seem familiar to users, it is not actually very user-friendly. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make mistakes that result in issues collating and retrieving data. For example, there are several major components of Access, including tables, relationships, queries, forms, reports, macros, and modules. Tables are the foundation for other components, and if you set them up incorrectly, you’ll create a cascade of errors that impacts every other aspect of the database.
In addition, anyone can add, delete, or edit data, which can result in serious complications like duplicate or missing entries that foul the data retrieval process for everyone. In a worst-case scenario, a user could accidentally end up deleting the entire database. This lack of protection and validation is a monumental oversight, and it’s not the only problem with Microsoft’s database manager.
As noted above, Microsoft Access doesn’t necessarily differentiate between levels of users. If you give the same access to employees, managers, and execs, you’re going to have a free-for-all of users with access that should be reserved for admins, essentially creating a “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation that benefits no one. Even worse is that the majority of people using the program don’t really know what they’re doing. Security and access controls are an essential part of database management that are totally lacking in Microsoft Access.
What’s the Solution?
If you need an efficient, effective, secure, and user-friendly database manager system for your company, do not rely on Microsoft Access, which basically fails on every score. Instead, spend your money on creating a custom application specifically designed to meet your needs. This will ensure ease of use and security features that eliminate the risk of potential catastrophe situations, as well as deliver an efficient and user-friendly interface in the meantime.