The Microsoft Access software tools provide simple programming capability that does not require extensive knowledge or years of training. With any small business, effectively managing a database and controlling information within the company ensures the ability to operate efficiently. Before programs such as Microsoft Access were available to the general public, a company needed to hire IT professionals and programmers to handle computing issues. Today with a few tips and tricks and some organization skills, any business can easily manage their own database.
This program works by building a relational database where groups of information can be formed into tables and reports using preset graphics and templates. Coordinating between other Microsoft Office tools such as Excel, Outlook, and Lotus 1-2-3 eliminates the need to reenter data into a new format. As a company or individual business grows, the amount of information stored in several business programs escalates eventually creating a large database. With the powerful Access tools, all the details about clients, sales and products may be easily manipulated to use for review and analysis, scheduling, and planning activities.
An Example of Tables
For example, an owner of several upscale home decorating stores in different towns would like to make sales projections for a six month period. They diligently maintain a customer database with phone numbers, addresses and email information. In addition, the store owner maintains sales records that indicate dates, purchases and the sales price on various items. They would like to track which customers purchase what items, how often they shop and what are their design preferences.
By using the Tables function within Access, these three separate sets of information may be linked. Table I would include the customer’s personal information. Table II would include specific sales data and the customer phone no. creating a link to Table I. In addition, Table III would indicate a customer’s style preferences, a wish list and information about potential sales contact dates and also reference the customer’s phone no. By using one piece of data such as a phone number to connect the three tables, a variety of details about a particular customer may be accessed and reported in an easy to read format. A quick report can then be generated and sent to a sales representative in the local region.
Indexing Tables for Quick Queries
Once a few tables are designed and working efficiently, the convenience and value of using Access becomes more apparent and the database expands. A quick way to ensure that Access is working smoothly and not having to sort through massive files is to review the Indexing function.
For example, the owner of a beauty supply house has expanded their business through an Internet sales program. They want to reviews sales data from specific regions of the country, for instance States in the U.S., to consider expanding a marketing campaign. By using the Query function, they ask the Access program to report this information. If the table used to correlate the sales data did not have the State listed in a specific field, Access must scan all the records before creating the report. A quicker way to get a response is to ensure that any information that may be queried in future reports has been indexed.
Generating Reports for Newsletters and Mailings
The form function within Access is one of the core features that provide quick database management and sorting capability. The relational database that is the product of this program is considered Web ready and can be used to transfer information to both the Internet and intranet (internal networked systems). Spreadsheet data can be imported into Access, queried and reorganized into an informative report.
For instance, a real estate office that needs to communicate to both agents and clients can set up a system that supplies monthly reports both internally and externally. Each individual agent keeps their own records of clients but the office keeps a record of property for sale and sold properties. Each month a report can be generated that includes sales information plus interest rates and highlights new listings. Using the query function and generating a form will quickly supply all of the tabulated data in an easy to read format. It may then be transferred to all agents where they submit an email based newsletter to their clients with the tables inserted.
The Access program also contains tools to calculate and summarize the sales data. The mass mailing feature that produces labels using the customer information base can be used for period marketing materials.
Compiling Surveys for Marketing or Business Updates
Creating and analyzing surveys is a common marketing practice that can easily be accomplished with the Access tools. By creating a table that contains multiple columns with each one being a question to be answered, a spreadsheet type of form is generated that creates the full spectrum of answers for comparison.
For example, a regional golf course is considering lowering their green fees to generate new business and wants to analyze whether this will have an impact on regular players. They would create a survey that first establishes if the golfer plays once a week, twice a week, monthly, occasionally, etc. The next group of questions would involve green fee costs, special programs, club benefits, restaurants, course conditions, etc. The returned survey would then reflect how a player who uses the course once a week differs from an occasional player. If they indicate that cost is the main reason why they only play the course occasionally, the owner might conclude that lowering the green fees is a business incentive.
The user interface features of Access provide both convenient and concise methods for creating forms, tables and listings. By using the “click and drag” methods data can be transferred from other sources and pasted into a new format. Links to websites provide the ability to reorganize stored data and make it available to be published on the Internet. Although this software is a programming tool, the user friendly features assure basic operation.