Availability and costs

Whether your business would benefit from database technology largely depends on your needs. Many small businesses manage very well with the limited database capabilities in a standard spreadsheet package.

However, the limitations of relying solely on a spreadsheet package for database facilities may start to become apparent. A modern database is capable of handling complex information and is designed to cope with very large processing requirements.

The other major factor affecting your decision is the number of people you need to be able to share information with simultaneously. While a spreadsheet may be viewed by several people at once, generally only one person at a time can make amendments to it. With an database several people can access and amend different individual records at the same time. This makes the data store more of a shared resource.

Small flat file packages can be bought for very little, possibly around £50, but they are limited in their capabilities. Usually only one person can access and amend the data at a time. In addition, while it is possible to store data in multiple files, a simple system is unlikely to offer sophisticated data processing or manipulation. Therefore, if you need a powerful data application you should consider a database.

Databases range in price from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. Most Database packages allow you to start off quite modestly and allow you to increase as your requirements grow.

Subjects covered in this guide


Information Systems
Online Databases
Data Driven Websites