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By: anitha, 1:17 PM GMT on April 25, 2012
Data management has always been the primary problem of businesses of all sizes. With websites fast becoming the richest source of traffic, it becomes very essential to enable visitors to submit data without having to leave the website. That is how online databases became the backbone of almost every website. And if the information on your website is hosted all by yourself, then it certainly pays to be proficient with online database application software.
If data collection alone is the requirement, then spreadsheets would just do fine. But as your business grows, which you naturally would expect, spreadsheets tend to get pretty tangled. So, what else would qualify as the ideal business software application? Whichever that does everything you want it to? Try, but it is highly improbable that you will find one, ready-made. Or, you can build the suitable application, all by yourself. Here is why you might like to consider building it yourself than hire a developer to do it for you.
Why build it yourself?
You know your business workflow best:
Better than anyone else, you know how your business works. A hired developer might not know what your requirements are, and he might not get it right the first time. Iterations can be degrading, so you are the right person to build your business applications.
The perfect ready-made database software application is a dream:
Requirements are never the same for any business. So, the software application you use has to be unique so as to suit your custom business needs. But the fancy software boxes available in the market are made to cater to generic requirements only. Spending on them will still leave many scenarios unattended. Separate applications have to be developed for those scenarios, and making these minor applications work seamlessly with the primary application can be a real pain.
Skyrocketing costs of custom applications:
Developing custom applications for those minor needs require you to hire a developer, who in turn, will recommend more software boxes. It will lead you through a seemingly infinite loop of patches, bug-fixes and upgrades. Before you realize, you would have spent heavily on getting nowhere. Then, there are other barriers like learning curve, multiple license costs and deployment delay.
Zero Infrastructure needed:
Who wouldn't want his business to grow? But as it does, then arises the question; will the database application you built, scale with your business? If it doesn't, then you are in for another ride of app-building. And with the ever-growing amount of data, you would need in-house servers to host them all. It again adds up to constant maintenance and upgrade costs. Not to mention the outages which are productivity-killing.
Benefits of building it yourself, on the cloud:
No technical expertise needed:
Most online app-building platforms come with a drag-drop interface that is intended in simplifying app-building for a non-programmer. It only expects you to have a clear understanding of your requirements; what tasks your application should perform. Implementing this custom workflow is as easy as app-building, because the script builder too is drag-drop powered.
No maintenance hassles:
To make your application run, you don't have to install sophisticated hardware or install expensive software; All your data is hosted online. That implies, you don't have to bother about maintenance costs or downtime; only consistent access to your data, whenever you want, from wherever you want.
Business rules and workflow:
Forms alone cannot handle the heat. To program it to do all your custom tasks, you need to define the workflow. Workflow is the intelligence of an application. The automation of tasks depends on how efficient your workflow is. And automation revolutionizes the way you manage your data.
Once you define the functionality of the application, you'll need to collect data for processing. Make sure you have plenty of options to share your application, making it easy for you to reach your audience. Publicizing the forms include embedding on websites, sharing on social networking sites and even restricting it to select individuals.
Analysis and Reporting:
Analysis of data is as important as collecting it. It helps in identifying trends and predicting conditions. This clear representation has to be done graphically, with charts and graphs. That way, analysis is not only simplified, but also detailed, which is the very purpose of reports. Such reports should be an integrated aspect of your software application, not an add-on.
Automation of tasks:
Tasks can be scheduled to execute themselves at regular intervals. For instance, email notifications can be sent to preferred mailboxes whenever a record is added or edited. Data can be pushed to and fetched from other services using simple functions. This integration eliminates the need to duplicate data.
This problem is best explained when a spreadsheet is used to hold the entire data that the business deals with. Multiple people would need to access the same set of data, work on it, and possibly update it too. Managing this scenario with spreadsheets has to be done by emailing multiple copies of the original data to all those involved, allowing them to modify their copy, and then consolidating it all into one final version. All this tedious work has to be manually done, and that is how hectic, collaboration can get. Even if you intend to use the software you purchased, you'll have to buy multiple licenses, which is highly cost-ineffective.
In short, you no longer need a conventional desktop database application such as MS Access and Filemaker. Custom database applications can easily be built using online database software like Zoho Creator. There can never be one solution to all your business problems; nor can there be one database software to solve problems of different business verticals. That is why it is best for you to build the perfect database application for your custom needs. With the intuitive drag and drop interface, all you need to have is a clear understanding of what actions the final application should perform. Making it do that is child's play.
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