Paul Wherly

5 Things to consider when designing a database

databaseIt’s a business tool and has to fit your business. It may seem obvious but if the database does not operate the way you want it to, then it is useless. That’s irrespective of how it looks, what it does, or any fancy add-ins.

Think about the processes that underpin your business and how they operate – and how they could be improved by having a database. E.g invoicing – consider only customer invoicing for now :-

  • It would be good if the system collated all the line items automatically – having the invoice generated a click of a button
  • Have the customer details appearing on the invoice
  • Generated the next invoice number
  • Emailed the invoice to the customer

Having a dashboard showing what is going in the business and show all potential problems at a glance:-

  • Overdue invoices
  • Orders that are in production / about to be delivered

Joining up disparate information sources – to generate simple but effective business intelligence e.g :-

  • Before you might have had separate spreadsheets showing customers and their orders – now having a single comprehensive database can show you which customers are buying which services
  • Suppliers and stock levels – are different parts of the organisation using their own suppliers to purchase the same product? Using a single database can highlight this and enable you to consolidate your purchasing

Management Reports – this is one of the most important aspect of a database – to be able to provide management with effective business intelligence at a click of a button. If a database has been well designed then these reports should be easy to create.

About the author

This blog was written by Kapil Kapur who has been developing bespoke business intelligence systems for over 15 years. He specialises in using the database platform Filemaker Pro as well as Excel spreadsheets.

He can be contacted via email on and more information   can be obtained from his website

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