In the recent past, a manager of almost any small organization has (and sometimes still is) able to keep track of necessary data by using a manual file system. As long as the collection of data was relatively small and an organization’s managers had few reporting requirements, the manual system served its role well as a data repository (Ramakrishna, 2000). However, as organizations grew and reporting requirements became more complex, keeping track of data in a manual file system became more difficult. In a real sense, finding and using data in growing collections of file folders became such a cumbersome task that it became less and less likely that such data would ever generate useful information. This led to the advent of databases as a solution to file system problems.
Unlike the file system, with its many separate and unrelated files, the database consists of logically related data stored in a single repository, which is normally stored in the computer (Stair & Reynolds, 2006). The database’s Database Management System (DBMS) makes it possible to eliminate most of the file system’s data inconsistency, data anomalies, data dependency, and structured dependency problems (Coronel, 2000). In this light, ABC Company has been able to embrace the use of database applications to interact with its organizational databases, hence meeting the corporate need of the firm. The DBMS applications that the company uses are Oracle and Microsoft Access. Thus, the following paragraphs describe their importance and how they are used in the organization.
One may ask; why Oracle and Access? Coronel (2000), outlines that both databases are relational DBMSs that provide efficient and nonredundant data storage and manipulation. Thus, the features of these database applications as used within ABC Company include the following; data is entered and stored once in a table and does not require to be repeated, allow sharing of data from a remote storage and through the network, they ensure that only related data are displayed hence eliminates irrelevance and ambiguity, and they reduce the volume of data in a table to only related fields hence data search is fast and easy. For the case of Access, the management sees it as a feature-rich program that can handle any database related task including storage and even database tools, it stores related objects, it is a component of the overwhelmingly popular Microsoft Office software suite; data can be shared with other office application, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Furthermore, Access makes it easy for the company to publish its information to the internet via the World Wide Web. This increases the company’s productivity through providing direct information to its customers by the concept of ‘providing the best of all worlds’ (Laudon & Laudon, 2006).
On the other hand, Oracle as a database application is much appreciated within the company because of its data management capability. ABC uses Oracle Database 10g which is much efficient and more importantly, its security system ensures that the critical data of ABC Company is secured and managed properly. The Oracle application can store and run stored procedures and functions automatically, it can also be invoked by other programming languages like Java which rely on the Application Programming Interface (API). More so, the storage of Oracle is through a logical repository in the form of tablespaces and physically through data files; this gives a database administrator an easy task in the management of databases (Coronel, 2000).
In general, ABC Company uses the databases since they provide the following functions: 1. Data storage management – Oracle and Microsoft Access enable users to store and retrieve data from the data repository without any programming details. They also provide storage for data and related data entry forms. 2. Data conversion and presentation – database applications transform the physical data structure of the system to a conceptual format that is easier to understand. 3. Security administration – the database applications ensure that security rules are in line with data. For instance, the Oracle server provides discretionary access control, which ensures that information access is granted through privileges (Ramakrishna, 2000). 4. Transaction support – since ABC is a manufacturing company, transaction control is essential. Thus, database applications ensure that the database is updated correctly when multiple users are accessing the database. 5. Backup and recovery management –this ensures that the data is safe and has experience integrity. 6. Data integrity management – DBMS promotes and enforces integrity rules (Stair & Reynolds, 2006). 7. Database communication interface – they provide special communication routines which allow the database to accept user requests.
In conclusion, database applications are very essential in managing an organization’s data towards its corporate goal. Thus, before choosing a database application a firm may consider the cost, security features, recovery facilities, user interface, and memory requirements. For the case of ABC Company, the improvements required are in line with geographical location and computer networks. The company currently relies on a centralized database system, even though it anticipates expanding and taking the opportunities provided by the internet capability. Therefore, an implementation of a distributed database system will enable the company to satisfy all its requirements through improved shareability and local autonomy, improved availability, improved performance, and modular growth.
Coronel, R. (2000). Database Systems: Design, Implementation, and Management. (4th Ed.). Cambridge: Thomson Course Technology.
Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2006). Management information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm. (9th Ed).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Ramakrishna, R.J. (2000). Database Management Systems. (3rd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.
Stair, R.M., & Reynolds, G. W. (2006). Fundamentals of information systems. (3rd Ed.). Boston: Thompson Course Technology.