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The Benefits of Having a database for Your Business
Defining and using a database effectively can offer significant benefits to anyone who needs to capture, manage, and track data: a single source of truth, understanding of the data's structure, rapid access to data in easy-to-understand formats, time and energy savings through automation of mundane, repetitive tasks, discovery of new insights.
Single Source of Truth
Capturing data of interest accurately in a database allows us to store it once in a single place, building a definitive, trust-worthy, and authoritative source.
Data is Structured
To build the database, we must describe the structure of the data to be stored by defining a schema. Thinking through the schema that describes our data forces the developer to understand the data at a deeper level. In defining the schema, we want to minimize duplication and repetition so, to the extent possible, each item of data is only stored once. At the same time, we link data tables together using key fields so that the relationships between specific data records are documented clearly.
Rapid Access in Predefined, Familiar Formats
Once we have defined the schema, constructed the database, and started capturing data, we can query the data to generate reports in various formats. With some experimentation, we can determine which ways of arranging the data are most useful and capture those reporting formats in standardized scripts so the reports can be generated easily in the future, perhaps on a weekly or monthly basis. This process of on-going report generation as the data collection grows allows us to watch the evolution of the organization (or other subject area) over time.
A single source of authoritative data coupled with a method of defining reports makes it possible to create automated workflows.
For example, late payment notices can be generated and sent without requiring the time and attention of a person. If one of the tables in our database is a collection of contacts we'd like to send messages, we can use reports generated from the database to manage relationships with subscribers, customers, or other friends. Weekly or monthly reports can be generated automatically and used to drive purchasing or other business decisions.
Discovery of Relationships Within Data
As data accumulates in our database, we can apply data visualization tools to depict our data in ways that show trends and relationships within the data, allowing us to discover new insights about the topic. For a business, this might let us see whether profits are growing or shrinking. A graph of a stock's prices could help us assess whether to buy or sell. By graphing different trends against each other, we might learn that as our subscriber base increases, we need to upgrade our hardware to maintain consistent responsiveness to online transaction requests.