Databases are an indispensable asset to every business. They contain valuable company Information which is the life blood of every organization. Without the right information, stored in a manner that is easily accessible by users of an organization, work may easily be hindered leading to huge losses in revenue and valuable resources like time and energy. A database may be defined as a huge collection of data in the form of rows and columns that ensures that relevant information is well-stored and easily accessible (Whitten, Bentley, & Dittman, 2001).
Databases are built based on different technological models. Most databases are however, built based on the relational model, giving rise to Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS). Other database models include the hierarchical and the network models (Biblio Tech Review, 2001). The relational database model is more common and is based on the use of a group of interrelated columns and rows, in form of a table. The database itself is constructed as a collection of tables which consist of rows and columns that store information.
The rows are referred to as records and they contain the actual data that constitute the database. The columns are referred to as fields and are the categorization of objects within the database which help to describe its contents (Whitten et al, 2001). Examples of databases encountered by people on a daily basis include Personal Organizers, Address book, Yellow pages, and so on. The basic feature of databases is that a single database can only keep details of similar records. This ensures that the data are properly stored and sorted for future reference.
There are diverse applications available for designing, implementing and maintaining Databases. Examples include Microsoft Access, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, Informix, Sybase and so on (Biblio Tech Review, 2001) All these software are reliable and come in different versions and grades. The version adopted by a company is usually determined by the size of the organization, the magnitude of information that requires storage, the resources available and the skills available to manage the database infrastructure.
As an illustration, my organization uses Oracle and Microsoft Access Databases to store all the information and statistics of the computers on the network for easy allocation, connectivity and statistical purposes. There are also databases created to maintain the mail servers, store the details of workers, equipment, and other relevant items on board the sub-marine. This ensures that records are easily located and utilized by multiple users within the organization. This helps to promote accountability within the organization.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is the standard programming language used to access the database and select the required information based on a given criteria, at any point in time. Examples of fields contained in the databases include date, category, quantity, description, and so on. Every single item on the submarine is recorded in the database as a complete record. Other important uses of databases where I work include accounting, inventory management, storing personnel records, contact details, network specifications and so on. In most organizations, databases are extremely beneficial.
They have different uses and six of them are outlined as follows: 1) they are largely utilized by organizations with a large volume of information to store up-to-date information; 2) they ensure that information can be easily filtered for convenience and easy readability through the use of query languages; 3) they ensure that information is made accessible to only those who are authorized to access them thereby increasing security to a level that helps to discourage theft or fraud; 4) they are used to manage information effectively; an organization that stores data by having it strewn all around the office would find it difficult getting information easily and waste a lot of man-power and other resources in trying to get relevant information; 5) They are used to eliminate duplicate and inconsistent data within the organization by providing a central point of data storage which helps to reduce data redundancy; 6) Lastly, databases help to reduce costs associated with error, inconsistency, storage and retrieval (Basic Database Tutorial).
Part of the improvements that I feel can be made with databases include improving the security. Most databases can easily be hacked into if passwords are not secure enough or changed regularly. Because no system is completely fool-proof, the issue of security cannot be overemphasized. A single error can lead to huge losses for the company. Also, at the initial phase of implementing a database, a considerable level of difficulty is normally encountered; arriving at a robust design blue-print requires a lot of experience and skills (Basic Database Tutorial). Another major way that the databases can be improved is by minimizing the errors associated with applications that serve as a front-end to the database.
Also, adequate and consistent training needs to be provided for staff managing the database; this can greatly help to ensure that a fool-proof system is put in place. Another major setback with databases includes the high set-up costs (Basic Database Tutorial). A scalable hardware and software infrastructure need to be put in place before it can kick off. A database system can never be stand-alone. An interface for connecting to the database is a prerequisite for adequate functionality. The costs associated with this may also be quite considerable. This way, DBMS operations are largely dependent on applications and available funding. It can be concluded that databases are indispensable to accurate record keeping, security and accountability.
It would be almost impossible to create organizations without functional and robust databases. Newspaper organizations, Telecommunications, Companies, Financial institutions and numerous conglomerates all over the world are only able to survive by the accuracy, completeness and correctness of the data that they provide. At the rate at which technology is continually expanding, it is expected that more database versions and upgrades will be developed to correct existing errors and enhance the functionality, capability and the features of existing databases. This will ensure that data is always well-preserved and available for use at the right time and in the right format.