Databases | Microsoft SQLServer | Microsoft Access | MySQL

Databases for Business

DatabasesThe key to a good database is the initial process for defining and understanding the business drivers behind it - why it is needed and what it is required to do.  Other things to consider at an early stage include:

  • the nature of the database's contents
  • how content will be added
  • how content will be retrieved
  • the type of information to be stored
  • how each piece of information relates to the others.  (For example, a company can have one or many contacts, one company can have many orders, and each order can have one or many lines!)

Another key element is the design methodology, or structured plan, to help distill what is required.  This needs to be agreed in advance, built, then refined and tested until it's right.  Finally, it must continue to be supported as required, if it is to succeed.

As you would expect, many databases now integrate with web applications, yet there is still a great requirement for client-based databases.  Our main database tools of choice are MS Access, MS SQL Server, and MySQL - with each to be used for the right kind of applications.

Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access

Channel's Web Development Team have experience of developing in every version of Microsoft Access since Access 1995 (although you really shouldn't be using that any more!).

If you need a bespoke application written to help improve your internal processes, or streamline some rather time-consuming paperwork, we can provide the analysis, design, development, testing and implementation in one seamless piece of work.

Access is renowned for its ability to reward you with a fast development cycle as it includes all aspects of you data, forms, reports and processing.  It can be limited when you start requiring larger systems, but for a small business it is often exactly what you need.

Microsoft SQLServer

Microsoft SQL Server

We have wide experience of designing comprehensive database systems for some of the largest companies in the UK and New Zealand in a wide range of sectors including banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, retail and telecoms. We have also worked extensively with small and medium sized companies in both B2B and B2C.

If you need a large number of users to access to your system, or your database application needs better performance levels, we would normally recommend upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server instead.

Applications including our C-Trak vehicle management system were designed and built using the SQLServer and the Microsoft Visual Studio environment.

MySQL open source databases

MySQL

Web-based systems are often designed using different database applications to those used on LANs or stand-alone PCs.  The open source MySQL is possibly the most commonly used on the web today, so if you need a web-based database application, it is likely that we will create it in MySQL - particularly if it is to be built in PHP or integrated with one of our range of content managed websites.

The key driver for us when we develop a database system for our clients is that it is fit for purpose, reliable, reasonably priced and easy to maintain in the long term.  This is why every one of these essential business factors are always built into our work.

Bespoke development or customising existing systems?

Bespoke development

It is important to understand that writing any bespoke application can be time consuming and costly.

So before we start that process, rather than building something from scratch un-necessarily, we first try to find and customise an existing solution or suitable application instead - one of the great strengths of the open-source community.

Examples of databases have we built:

  • Vehicle management (C-Trak)
  • Document management and indexing (Sovereign Insurance / ASB Bank)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Sales databases
  • Training database (Nokia)
  • Tourist enquiries and bookings
  • Publishing and subscriptions
  • Jewellery orders
  • Balanced Scorecard Management Information System
  • Data warehouse applications
  • Data mapping applications (GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Wholesale grocery management
  • Mining searches
  • Engineering maintenance (Royal Mail)
  • Management accounting system (RMC Readymix)
We do not believe in unnecessarily re-inventing the wheel.  We DO want to leave you with something that does exactly what you need!

Business Systems Services

  • DatabasesThe key to a good database is the initial process for defining and understanding the business drivers behind it - why it is needed and what it is required to do.  Other things to consider at an early stage include:

    • the nature of the database's contents
    • how content will be added
    • how content will be retrieved
    • Read more...
  • Channel's team have developed integrations with the most popular accounting packages including Quick Books and Sage.  This integration is a classic example of how you use IT technology to drive cost out of your business by removing duplication.  Don't pay your team to do the work over and over again, use an IT system to automate this process.

    Examples of Accounts integrations that can be undertaken:

    • Importing sales data into accounts system from your e-commerce shopping cart
    • Read more...
  • Project Management with Channel can take a variety of forms.

    Waterfall

    With experienced project managers we often use the traditional waterfall PM model, where the specification is agreed at the start of the project, and any changes to the scope are managed and discussed as the project evolves.

    Read more...
  • There are a variety of ways in which you can approach an IT or web development project.  There isn't always a right or wrong answer - often it is about working with you to select the approach which will bring you the best results.  To summarise our approach:

    1. If there is a pre-existing data integration or solution we would consider that first, as it should allow you the greatest range of functionality at an off-the-shelf price.  Sometimes you can purchase and implement an existing solution very quickly and cost effectively.
    2. Read more...

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