Phase I DB: Database V. S. Spreadsheets Fundamentals of Database Systems August 20, 2010 When dealing with large amounts of information that you will need to conduct business a spreadsheet may be an inferior choice. The choice of many users is to use spreadsheet applications when possible to store and house their data. This stems from the understanding of the systems. Most users understand the basic concepts behind spreadsheet applications and can manipulate their way through these systems with ease compared to using a database system.
What many people don’t understand is how easy it is to retrieve their data later on if they would have used a database system. If you were to look at spreadsheet applications much like that of Microsoft Excel you probably already understand that by its design it is much easier to crunch numbers within these types of systems. Programs like Excel are highly known for and recommended for manipulating numbers and complex equations. That may seem to work fine for the time being when you are only dealing with a limited amount of data/ accounts.
You will notice as time goes on that the number of spreadsheets that you will need to conduct business will greatly increase making it hard to manage the amount of these spreadsheets and it will make it harder to track your information later on ( ). On top of this you will find yourself having to do a lot more work to attempt to get these different spreadsheets to work hand in hand with one another making the task very frustrating to all the users involved. There is one upside to dealing with spreadsheet applications rather than a database.
I had just touched on the subject of crunching numbers earlier but let’s revisit that now. When dealing with possible such as future profits, target zones, or estimating net gains for a company it is much easier to do the work within a spreadsheet application and then use that information and upload it to a database system( ). The complexity of these equations is much easier manipulated through the use of a spreadsheet than that of a database but when it comes time to save, store, and later find this information it will suite the user best to use a database in order to keep rack of these future figures of the company. Since we have talked a little bit about the ups and downs of a database system let’s now talk about creating and using a database system for information storage purposes. Before the change over from paper to digitalized copies many office employees used a type of data base system to store all of their information. If we compare today’s modern database versus the previous versions of file storage cabinets and rolodex you will notice a lot of similarities.
If you think about the two hand in hand then you will see that database systems are nothing more than a modern more computerized version of those data tracking methods of the past. Say that you deal with multiple people within one business and want to keep their information handy and together in one place, a data base system allows you to do just that. The contact information can be added under on companies name making it easier to track down a particular contact than searching through hundreds of spreadsheet files to do so.
This cuts back on user error eliminating the need to enter the same information several times to complete the same goal. Also within these databases you can use a search query that allows the user to view only the wanted information rather than the sort feature within spreadsheet applications that will only allow for sorting of the entire spreadsheet. This means that through the use of database systems that you can place tighter restrictions on the information that you wish to access giving the user the most accurate and consistent data.
Now that we have discussed the differences between spreadsheets and databases I think you will agree with me when saying that using data base systems will benefit a growing company more so than that of spreadsheet applications. Problems will begin to present themselves when the spreadsheets cannot keep up with your data storing needs. If you can answer yes to the following questions then I highly recommend that you switch to a database system. Do you want restrictions on information to some user?
Do you want a system of performing in depth and very detailed searches? Can you see that the future data storage needs of your company increasing in the near future? If you said yes to any of these questions then I heavily recommend you go with a data base storage system over that of a spreadsheet application. References Cohen, B. (2004). Database Basics Part 2: Spreadsheets and Databases. Small Business Computing. Retrieved from http://www. smallbusinesscomputing. com/bizt