I am writing about this question, because I would be asked this question hundreds of times in a year. So here are the reasons.
MS Access was a really intelligent product that Microsoft added to its professional office pack. The reason that it is intelligent is really due to what it can do for an office.
Here are business accepted facts:
- Data is vital and essential for a business.
- Quality Data leads to better decision making information, and hopefully better decision making
- Successful business use their data to their advantage.
MS Access is a Data tool shed. I will clarify this by stating what is in MS Access.
Database Tables. This is actually a very simple part of MS Access. It can create a database structure very simply and easily. Sometimes too easily, as
many people create databases, that actually don’t understand databases or what the client needs now and possibly in the future, it is the lack of understanding that has given MS Access the poor reputation, The database is also only for smaller amounts of data, e.g. 20Mb. However, what is brilliant about this area, is the ability to easily link to larger databases e.g. MS SQL. This means you have the power, speed and ability of MS SQL, and can link this to a simple tool like MS Access.
Form Generator. The form Generator in Access, is quite a powerful tool. There are automatic form creators, and many standard forms that a person can down load, plus it is really easy to create a form from scratch, with very little training. Normally if writing in another language, a lot of programming time is spent creating the forms and the functions of the form. This is a very GUI based form generator.
Report Generator. There is a report generator included in MS Access. For many products they recommend other report generators e.g. Crystal report writer, or you write all your reports almost from scratch. The report generator is GUI based and very easy to use, with far more flexibility and options that a product that is only a report generator.
Queries. This is the way a user can ask a question of the database without being a programmer. So with its GUI the user can easily ask questions. Queries however can also do many functions, information displaying etc. The queries can also run stored procedures from remote databases. This is really brilliant if you want speed and access to data as well.
Programming Language. MS Access uses VBA or Visual Basic as is base programming language. The MS Access product can be compiled, and
there are many off the shelf packages that have been totally written in MS Access that users are not aware of.
So, in answer to the question “Why use MS Access”. The answer is simple, It is a main stream Microsoft product. It has loads of features and the cost is unbelievable. It is free for users to use an application written in MS access, and only the developer of the application needs a licence, that is about $99.00 or included in the Professional pack.
If you are considering a new product, this creates the fastest and cheapest RAD (Rapid Application Development) application to prove and test your theories. So without spending huge funds on a potential idea, MS Access will prove if it will work, and then the chance of success has just increased.
They state the 90% of Database Applications fail.Â This is generally because of poor specifications, lack of budget, poor programmers etc. By developing a RAD first, the limitations of a spec are instantly found and can be resolved. Without huge time or money expenses, you can check your idea will work, and you can even run trials from the MS Access version. Plus, you have not only a specification, but also an actual working prototype to base your product on.
The question really should be, Why aren’t more people using MS Access.
Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.