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help needed with databases


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#1 aod

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 03:05 AM

for school i need to make a project where i have to find a new database to replace the old one, i have to compare 5 databases and give an advise to witch one i would use. i just have no idea about databases so i'm getting no where.

this so called company has a 100 working for it and its growing, all of these people need to be anble to use the database and a few even need to be able to use the database from the location they are at.

i'm realy clueless about this project and any help would be appreciated.

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#2 phawgg

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 03:04 PM

Databases can be kinda confusing, so don't worry too much if you haven't "got it" immediately, aod

So a company has 100 employees and they are growing.
They need to access data from more than one place.

A fairly typical scenario.

What is (should be) in the data base?
How should it be organized?

Those are a couple underlying questions.
So you try to answer them.

Keep in mind, as you do,
that for a database to work well it needs to have at least one unique identifier.
A good example might be an employee number.

One thing that is not shared by anyone (anything) else.

In regards to this discussion board, for instance, each member has a "joined" number that no one else has.

With that in mind, some things a company might keep track of are:
  • employee name
  • employee number
  • employee address
  • employee telephone number(s)
  • employee hire date
  • employee termination date
  • employee work title
  • employee work location
  • employee responsibility list
  • employee wage or salary
  • employee tax status
  • employee health insurance data
  • employee benefits
  • employee time records
  • employee vacation schedule
  • employee educational records
The list can go on further, but you will begin to see things fall into categories:
Personnel Dept information
Payroll Dept information
Production Dept information

The company no doubt produces (markets/sells) something.

If it manufacturers a product, what needs to be documented?
Plant Facility information:
  • Building(s) Real Estate Information
  • floor plans
  • property details
  • market value details
  • production equipment inventory
  • manpower & work schedule information
  • Raw material inventory
  • inventory amounts
  • inventory sources
  • inventory production use schedule(s)
  • shipping/receiving details involving inventory item(s)
To answer business-related questions you will need to understand the
nature of the business first.

A manufacturering business, for example, typically buys material(s)
and turns it into something to sell.

Employees work for owner(s) who might also hire consultants and/or
use a board of directors.
People who are paid to assist in some way.

The product is packaged and shipped to places where it is sold.

So, transportation cost(s) & packaging (advertising, also) is involved.

Maybe the product(s) are sold in quantity to others who sell them
individually.
Wholesale marketing to those who Retail market them.

The details of constructing and managing a database can be found within
the textbooks written for software programs like Microsoft Access.

What may not be mentioned in quite the same way in those sources
is what I'm trying to help you with.

Seeing the "papertrail" that leads to ACCOUNTING for the money spent
and what spending it does to lead to PROFIT.

How the profit is spent.

Think about it this way:
  • Employee 501 (Bill) comes to work at 6:00am
  • He punches a timeclock and walks into building Nine
  • His boss says good morning and he walks over to his machine.
  • Turns it on and begins his day making a part of the product.
  • At 10:00 a forktruck lifts 345 pieces he has made and bundled
  • The forklift driver moves them to Building Ten
  • Bill takes lunch at 11:00, for a half hour.
  • He heads back to his work station and fills in forms about what he does.
  • The forms are picked up by a guy who rounds up production records twice a day and takes them to the office. Maybe he needs a workstation computer?
  • At 2:00 Bill has a break where he talks with some other employees about the softball game this weekend between Building Nine & the Office(s)
  • He works late, and so some of his hours are overtime pay.
  • He punches the clock at 5:00 and walks back to his car parked in the employee parking lot.
  • Shows his employee badge at the gate and (thank heavens) calls it a day 10 minutes later.
Since Bill is 1% of a hundred employee company, it's easy to see why
YOU, the computer-knowledgable person, NEEDS to keep track of what is going on.

So, bottomline is this:
  • One or more databases are needed to keep track of facts
  • one guy (or thing) can be a fact within several categories of facts
  • Bill is one of many in Building Nine
  • Bill's work is one of many in The Product
Your job is to build smaller units that store facts in the larger overall picture.
Unique identifiers like [one employee] or [one product number] will make it possible
to have data about many of similar (but unique) contributing factors collected
and understood using mathematics.

The unique info becomes a TABLE
Other TABLES are built to combine data for the purpose of control/observation.

Maybe that helps a little?
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#3 phawgg

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 03:24 PM

One more thing, aod

When Bill fist came to the Company he filled out an application form.
He was interviewed, and the gal made a few notes, and he was hired.

That APPLICATION FORM was input into a database.
Little pieces of it went to different places.

Only one guy has employee number 501, but three guys might be named BILL.
15 people might be working in Building Nine, and at the end of each day
the total wages, etc. might be totaled.

Building Nine plus Building Ten, Eleven & Twelve production might be totaled
every day, because that might mean The Finished Products are sitting in Building
Five waiting to be shipped to Store One.

So, two database might be active... personnel costs overall & production costs overall.

The information from those two databases might feed into yet another database.

The basic Profit & Loss of the Company.
Profit & Loss might depend on other facts:
Assets & Liabilities
Contracts with Retailers.

The goal is to simplify data submitting so the least amount of information
is duplicated.

The application form can lead to telling how many males & females are employed.
Maybe the average wages.
But only one application form is desireable to use.
So information is not duplicated, it is Accessed By Other Needs from a single source.
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#4 jgweed

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 03:31 PM

I take it that your assignment is to review, compare, and contrast different databases, but not actually create one for the company, which would probably be the best solution for their information needs, assuming they have an IT staff and a server.
Your first step in the project is to understand who uses the db, what it contains (do you have access to some of the records---if so what are the fields within them), and how it is maintained and how/frequency it is updated.
Your second step is to understand, since you are searching for a replacement, what the (user perceived?) limits to the current one are. Is it functionality, availability on demand, a size limitation that will be exceeded at some time in the near future?, poor user interface?, poor response time?
All these need to be answered before you begin the next step. Put your requirements in a chart form (an spreadsheet would probably work); you may have categories and then subcategories under those, since some requirements will be rather general, while others will be specific.
This having been done, the next step is to find a list of available DB solutions, read up on them and their different capabilities, then use your spreadsheet to tick off which requirements each meets. Once the functionality review is completed, then you must also do a return on investment comparison. This should take into consideration initial cost, maintenance fees, and implementation and upkeep costs.
Finally, based on both functionality and cost, as well as how well the new db will fit in to and help the company's growth plans, you should put forward your recommendations along with adequate warrants for any conclusion(s) you make.

Hope this helps you some,
Regards,
John
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#5 aod

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 05:28 PM

well jgweed, my problem is that i dont understand what the hell most of the capabilities mean. i dont have a lot of info on the last DB only that it was getting to slow for the company.

all i know is that it needs to be able to have a 100+ people working with it at the same time and that some people need to be able to access it anywhere by use of internet.

but thatnks so far.

#6 phawgg

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 05:32 PM

Seems the thing to do is compare the five,
looking for duplication(s) of effort.
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...




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