Category: MS Access
Recently there has been a major new development in cloud platform tools that allows your Excel and Access applications to the cloud economically and safely with Amazon Workspaces. This development by Amazon is truly standing them apart from other cloud providers at this stage. We have tested and can verify excellent results with MS Access, MS Excel and other proprietary Software applications.
So, let me explain to you, as a business owner, what this is, without the technical mumbo jumbo.
In short, Amazons new function, “Amazon Workspaces”, is a set of tools that will allow users to put their Excel spreadsheet, or MS Access application, or Word templates on to the cloud and allow all their staff to access this information. This new feature also has backup option and security. It allows the user to access this information via a login to the cloud on what is referred to a as a remote desktop (e.g. a window inside your operating system), so they can use whatever their business has loaded there.
It allows users to print locally where the user is located. In addition, the user has the ability to use programs and data that are remote.
Here’s a practical example of this
Last week, a client of Accede’s came to us to help them solve their dying server. Logic dictated to move to the cloud. They have a MS access application, a PHP based intra-web, and a proprietary software product loaded to their new Amazon Workspaces. We loaded A few extra tools so that our client could handle
- their shared documents and shared images,
- auto backups,
- photocopier/scanner document transfers
- a range of other unique software applications.
My client uses Office 365 for all their Office Software and for their business outlook. My clients peripheral devices include Macs, tablets, hubs, printers, scanners and Windows PCs. All my clients software and data has now been loaded to the Amazon Server, and all peripherals have been transparently connected. As a result, all their staff can locally and remotely use this server. We have turned off their old server locally (as this was dying and needed a full replacement or an alternative solution).
A lot of testing has been performed on this new function and we have found that even though this client has no NBN and very poor ADSL he is getting good results from this cloud option. This is because all of the processing and work is actually done on the server and by sending data up and down very poor internet lines.
Simply put; ease of use and it’s also very cost effective. Many customers use Office 365 exchange simply because it works better. So does this cloud feature. It just works better, easier and has more flexibility than what most small business companies currently offer their own staff with their own servers and IT facilities; and it is so much cheaper.
I have often been asked about security. You will find that security for exchange on office 365 is better than it was when exchange was on the average small business server.
What Amazon Workspaces offer is also more secure than what the average business offers. So much so, that even the CIA has moved to Amazon purely due to its security.
Lack of security for cloud access is really an outrageous fear put into most business owner’s heads, due to IT people being afraid of loss of revenue. I see this time and time again.
Cost Review of Amazon Workspaces
Based on a small business server, whose hardware, software and installation costs about 20K (this is a very average type server for say 8-15 terminals). This 20K would be amortized over the average 4 year life span that technology and servers generally offer today. So, the monthly cost excluding interest etc. would be $416 per month. Plus, the average server of this type, costs about 5K per annum to maintain. All up costs would be closer to $833 per month.
Now, if one used the Amazon Workspaces as their server, and Office 365 for their exchange one’s server maintenance is included. On’s space, backups etc. is all included. The monthly cost average for 10 users is just $275 per month.
The difference is clear, $833 versus $275. Security is safer. The accessibility is easier.
Simply put – IT Technicians that advertise this will lose revenue.
Accede do not source their revenue from network or hardware maintenance as we are Software developers. Our clients seek solutions to their particular needs. Amazon really does offer a full solution for loading simple based applications to the cloud. We continually review other cloud service providers, however Amazon is a clear leader in this area.
How could you test your Excel and Access applications to the cloud economically and safely with Amazon Workspaces without committing?
As Amazon offer this service on a monthly fee, customers can try this for a month and turn it off if it is not good enough for them. We did this for the example I gave you at a monthly fee of about $60. We have also loaded a single application for a client and given them access so they can test the viability of this before investing in setting up their own virtual server etc. and this has cost the client just $40.
Price varies depending on space, users, facilities etc. If you are IT literate, you could do this yourself. However, as with any server setup, I suggest you use skilled IT people to do this for you. An average application cost would be about $250, but a full server replacement cost, could be between $1500 and $5000, – about half the cost of a physical server setup in your office. This is really a great break through with Tools and options offered for Cloud Users.
So why not move your Excel and Access applications to the cloud economically and safely with Amazon Workspaces.
As a frequent Microsoft Office user, we got Excel and Access to take care of our tables, charts, and data. Oftentimes, we don’t know which one to use since both of them are good to handle business information. The good thing however is that you can connect your Excel table to your Access database. You may be wondering how, so let me give you reasons why these two programs are perfect for each other.
- Easy to copy data from Excel to Access Copy and paste has never been easy with Access and Excel. You may notice that when you create an Access table and display it in datasheet view, the result closely resembles an Excel worksheet. Sometimes you might not need to create a table or open it in datasheet view. Access automatically asks you if your data has headers, makes good guesses at using the correct data type, and creates an Access table.
- Easy to link Excel worksheet to Access One of the best things Microsoft did to their Office package is the ability to link programs with each other. Take the case of Excel worksheets linking to an Access table. Users can do this in case they are planning to keep the data in Excel, but perform Access features such as queries, forms, and reports. Thanks to the Linked Table Manager Wizard that helps users to track, locate, and update the Excel worksheet. Note that you can only modify, add, and delete data from your Excel worksheet and not from your Access table.
- Easy to import Excel data into Access If you don’t entertain the idea of linking both tables, you can simply import data from Access to Excel. In importing data, Access stores it in a new or existing table without changing the data existed in an Excel table. They have an Import Wizard that will help you to in the process and decide what data types and headers would you like to change or implement. Note that you cannot import formulas from Excel to Access, just the results of whatever formula there is.
- Easy to collect data using Access for Excel Analysis – Applicable in MS Office 2007 version, both Access and Outlook can work together thanks to the Data Collection Wizard. This feature generates and sends email messages with attached data entry form. Your recipients, sends them back, and then added to the appropriate table in your database as soon as the reply reaches your inbox, will fill this out. This is very helpful if you are conducting a survey, product research, status reports, and even events organization.
- Easy to combine Excel and Access with Sharepoint Both Excel and Access is capable of connecting to Sharepoint. The difference is Excel only supports read-only connection as compared with Access read and writes connection in linked Sharepoint lists. Seems like Access and Sharepoint works well together both online and offline. Users have the option of working with Access database locally and go online to update changes in the Sharepoint site.
This only proves that both Excel and Access might have differences and limitations, but working together will make your business data process easier. Imagine them like salt and pepper, so different but complements one another.
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.