To know if Microsoft Access is the right solution for your business needs, it's most important to understand what Microsoft Access is, what its strengths are, and how it compares to alternative solutions.
At its core, Microsoft Access is a relational database management system (RDBMS). In simple terms, this means that Access permits users to define datasets (e.g. tables) that house relevant business information, and establish connections between these datasets that adhere to the appropriate business logic. For example, a sample relational database for a sports league may consist of a table that defines each team, and another table that defines each team member. Once they are properly connected, lookups and reports may be run in either direction: for example, selecting a team may return all of its members, and selecting a specific member may return the team with which he/she is associated.
Microsoft Access by no means is the only relational database platform on the market, but it is amongst the most efficient and flexible to design and deploy. Also, while most other RDBMS platforms deal strictly with the data-layer, Access offers powerful integrated tools for constructing visual interfaces for data input and reporting. Additionally, while Microsoft Access offers its own embedded relational database architecture, called Microsoft Access Database Engine (formerly Microsoft Jet Database), Access has the flexibility to scale by connecting seamlessly with external data sources, including most significantly Microsoft SQL Server. This capacity to interface with external SQL data sources is one of Microsoft Access's most compelling features - permitting data to be abstracted from the user interface, and empowering rapid scaling of department-level distributed applications.
Unlike most other development tools in its space, Microsoft Access does not compromise customization flexibility in pursuit of simplicity. Basic Access solutions can be architected without requiring a single line of code, and more complex Access applications can call upon and utilize extensive code libraries to achieve significant automation objectives. Also, because Microsoft Access is an integral part of the broader Microsoft Office suite of applications, it can communicate seamlessly with valuable tools like Microsoft Excel, to further extend its functionality and utility.
If you have an internal business process in need of automation, odds are that a properly executed Microsoft Access database application can deliver a solution faster and more effectively than most alternatives. Call Access Consultant today to talk with one of our experts and learn if a Microsoft Access solution is the best fit for your business needs!