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					AN ANALYSIS OF MICROSOFT ACCESS




                Prepared for

             Professor Elke Leeds
  Instructor of Business Information Systems
          Kennesaw State University
              1000 Chastain Road
          Kennesaw, GA 30144-5591




                Prepared by

             Thaddeus M. Davis
               Armica Nabaa
               Donte’ Philpot
                Sean Rasin
               Nacole Tilson


             November 19, 2004
Letter of Authorization                                                                ii



                              Kennesaw State University
                                  October 18, 2004

BISM 2100 Students,

The purpose of this assignment is to integrate the material you have learned about
Business Information Systems into a coordinated report and presentation and to allow
students to focus on areas of intended major concentration.

You are being asked to perform a detailed analysis of a DATABASE APPLICATION.
The formal report should include information on:
    An Available Database Application (ACT!, Goldmine, or Access)
    Its applicability to one particular field of business (i.e. uses in marketing,
       accounting, finance etc)
    A complete description of the system, current users (either actual customers or
       intended business size)
    A discussion of the business problems the application is intended to solve
    A Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Available System and its competitors
    A Detailed Demonstration of System Outputs – demos or snapshots with
       description
    Your Recommendations for Systems Use

 Structure for the report: Be creative and complete in your analyses and presentation.
You should gather and include any analyses necessary to appropriately convey an
understanding of the systems use and benefits. Use both commercial and academic
resources (Minimum of 5 each). Where appropriate, you should incorporate charts,
graphs, or other visual aids to illustrate the facts you present both in your report and
PowerPoint presentation.

Written Report:
Your managerial report must be submitted through WEBCT. (Each student must submit a
copy of his or her team’s output through WebCT)
Employ the “Seven C’s” of effective business writing and refer back to Chapter Eight -
Improving Business Communication Skills (3rd Edition), Deborah Roebuck, 2001.

Sincerely,
Elke M Leeds
Professor, BISM 2100




       1000 CHASTAIN ROAD • KENNESAW, GEORGIA • 30144
             PHONE: 770-423-6584 • FAX: 770-423-6601
Letter of Transmittal                                                                    iii




                                  Divine Implication
                                     BISM 2100
                               Kennesaw State University




November 19, 2004




Professor Elke Leeds
Instructor of Business Information Systems
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, GA 30144-5591

Dear Professor Leeds,

Our team has completed the report you requested. The report researches Microsoft
Access and the components that make it a useful tool for small businesses. A comparison
of other database management systems is included, as well as, additional information that
will help small businesses decide the best application for their requirements.

The report provides a detailed analysis of Microsoft Access, its cost/benefits, and how it
can be used in business settings. The project has been very enlightening for our entire
group and has allowed us to research information that will help us with future business
ventures and career moves.


Sincerely,

Divine Implication

Thaddeus M. Davis
Armica Nabaa
Donte’ Philpot
Sean Raisin
Nikki Tilson
                                           iv


                                Mission Statement
       Our team’s objective is to assemble a unit of individuals who are dedicated to
learning and performing in an eminent manner. We will achieve our objective on a level,
which exceeds the average. Many have tried, but only one will succeed.

                                “There is no I in Team”

   I.     Purpose

          The purpose of establishing this team of elite individuals is to research, and
          present a formal report on a Database Application. We have unanimously
          selected the Microsoft Access program for this project and intend to report our
          findings from a marketing perspective.

   II.    Decision Making

          A. The team will make decisions democratically with the following steps:
               Present the task or problem at hand
               Each team member suggests a solution to resolve or accomplish the
                 presented task.
               We will then decide on the best method for the task or problem in
                 order to get it done in the shortest period possible.
               The decisions made will be based on the majority votes.
          B. Disputes- Any disputes amongst the team will be discussed within the team
          forum where the following will happen:
               We will take the disagreement at hand and present it to the team. Each
                 member that is involved in the dispute will have the opportunity to
                 express his or her opinion to the entire team. We as a team will take
                 each opinion very seriously and very respectfully.
               Once each side has been heard, the remaining team members who are
                 not involved in the dispute will discuss the best possible resolution for
                 the problem. They will then present a solution to the problem and
                 attempt to resolve the situation between the involved members. Any
                 decision made will be final and made for the good of the team.

   III.   Team Structure

          The team structure will be as follows:

          Web Master: Sean Rasin

          The Web Master will collaborate with the team and over see the construction
          of each member’s individual site. He will also format the team’s web site and
          upload all necessary information. He will also be responsible for turning this
          portion of the assignment in on the required due date(s).
                                        v




      Lead Researcher: Armica Nabaa

      The Lead Researcher is responsible for the location and evaluation of
      resources for the Formal Writer. This individual should have the capability to
      do Internet and library searches for the necessary information needed for our
      formal report.

      Presentation Technologist: Nikki Tilson

      This individual will oversee the presentation section of the project. She will
      select the proper setting and schedule the time for our presentation. She will
      also supervise the production of the presentation, as well as, checkout video
      equipment, edit the presentation, and upload the final product for grading.

      Formal Report Writer: Thaddeus M. Davis

      This individual will be responsible for coordinating the structure of the formal
      report. He will make sure that all criteria are met according to what is
      expected. He will also be well acquainted with MS Word and other necessary
      software to get this portion of the project accomplished.

      Strategic Planner: Donte’ Philpot

      This person is the elected team leader. He will make sure the project is
      completed. He will also coordinate communication, activities, and meetings.
      He will take responsibility for participating in each part of this project, and
      making sure that each member follows the Operating Agreement.

IV.   Meetings and Attendance

         Any member of the team has the ability to call a meeting at any given time
          outside of the pre-scheduled meeting times.
         While in team meeting (i.e. by telephone, chat room, discussion board, or
          in person) all members will be required to focus on the objective at hand
          and give their full attention.
         Each team member will be required to attend all scheduled meetings
          unless extreme circumstances arise. In the event that something prevents a
          member from attending a meeting, a 1hour notice given to at least 2 team
          members is to be necessary for that team member to become excused.
         The following outline is our schedule meetings:

          October 30th                                          10:00 a.m.
          October 31st                                          3:00 p.m.
          November 5th                                          TBA
                                                 vi


             November 6th                                                    TBA
                  To review formal report
             November 13th                                                   TBA
             November 18th                                                   TBA
                  To finalize formal report
             November 20th                                                   TBA
                  To review and finalize web sites
             November 21st                                                   TBA
                  To perform video presentation

V.       Expectations and Performance

            Each team member will be expected to give 100% of his or her effort to
             the project. If there is a member who is accused of slacking in any area of
             this project, it will be brought to the Strategic Planners attention and he
             will be responsible for making that member aware of the situation and
             getting them back on track.
            No one-team member will be held responsible for any expenses that are
             related to this project. The team will be update on any team member’s
             expenses and the member will be reimbursed accordingly.
            No one person will be held solely responsible for the praise or the
             criticism of the team. “There is No I in Team”

VI.      Project Outline

         November 1st                                      Hard copy of Operating Agreement
         November 19th                                     Peer Review Due
                                                           Formal Report Due
         November 22nd                                     Web Page Due
         December 3rd                                      Presentation Due
         December 10th                                     Presentation Review/Analysis Due


This Operating Agreement is a contract among the members of this team. The
following signatures will seal this agreement.

Signature____________________________________________Donte’ Philpot

Signature____________________________________________Thaddeus Davis

Signature____________________________________________Armica Nabba

Signature____________________________________________Nikki Tilson

Signature____________________________________________Sean Rasin
                                               Reference
This Operating Agreement was taken from components of Boundless Enterprise-Example one of Sample
Operating Agreements:
https://courses.kennesaw.edu/SCRIPT/bism2100_01fa04/scripts/serve_home
                               Table of Contents



Letter of Authorization  …………………………………………………….               ii
Letter of Transmittal    …………………………………………………….               iii
Operating Agreement      …………………………………………………….               iv
List of Illustrations …………………………………………………………….               vii
Abstract        …………………………………………………………………….                  x


Background
      Scope of Report      ……………………………………………………..            1
      Limitations of the Report ……………………………………………..          1
      Sources and Methods of Data Collection ……………………………..   1
      Report Organization ……………………………………………………..             1

Overview of Microsoft Access      …………………………………………….. 2

Targeted Market    …………………………………………………………….. 2

Training     …………………………………………………………………….. 3

Cost/B enefit Analysis  ……………………………………………………..               3
       Oracle        ……………………………………………………………..               4
       Filemaker Pro    ……………………………………………………..               4
       Goldmine      ……………………………………………………………..               4
       Paradox 10 ……………………………………………………………..                  4
       Microsoft Access ……………………………………………………..               4

Demonstration of Application’s Components ……………………………..      6
     Training and Online Tutorial     ……………………………………..       6
     Contact Management          ……………………………………………..         7
     Customer Order Database ……………………………………………..             8
     Event Manager         ……………………………………………………..            9
     Inventory Control ……………………………………………………..                10

Recommendation and Implications        …………………………………….. 11

Works Cited …………………………………………………………………….. 12
                                        vii


                              List of Illustrations

Table 1.   Compare/Contrast Databases   ……………………………………… Pg.3

Figure 1. Online Tutorial               ……………………………………… Pg.6

Figure 2. Contact Manager               ……………………………………… Pg.7

Figure 3. Customer Order Database       ……………………………………… Pg.8

Figure 4. Event Management              ……………………………………… Pg.9

Figure 5. Inventory Control             ……………………………………… Pg.10
                                            viii


                                        Abstract
Microsoft Access is a database management application, which can be used to organize
and manage an array of information for small businesses. It was created to make database
use easier and flexible for novice computer users, as well as affordable for small
businesses with little capital. Along with Microsoft Access are other business
applications that are useful to small businesses and technical support to assist with any
trouble shooting problems. There is also online training that will help the novice user get
familiar with the software.

Research from academic and commercial resources indicates that there are many
database management applications to choose from, however, Microsoft Access has been
acknowledged as the most compatible for computer users. The findings based on this
research confirm the overall efficiency of using the Microsoft Access database, therefore
it is suggested that small businesses utilize this application to organize and manage data.
                     AN ANALYSIS OF MICROSOFT ACCESS



This report contains a detailed analysis of Microsoft Access database management
application for organizing and managing information. Included within this report is a
description of the software along with examples of its many wizard templates, the
technical support and training offered, and the targeted market along with its usefulness
in small business environments. This report also contains a cost/benefit analysis of
Microsoft Access compared to some of its competitors, and recommendations based on
the findings.

Overview of the Report

The overview of this report is to provide knowledge about Microsoft Access and how it
can impact the organization and file management of a small business. Unfortunately this
report does not detail every component of Microsoft Access, but it offers a synopsis of
the uses of the application.

Limitations of the Report

The data collected to research this application was mostly based on information located
on the internet, therefore the reliability and validity of the information is determined by
the accuracy of the website and the researcher. Limitations on research also included the
lack of time that was necessary to conduct a more extensive search for information.

Sources and Methods of Data Collection

Secondary sources were mainly used in this report, both academic and commercial. The
researcher primarily used the Internet to search for information using Galileo and Google.
There was also one primary resource used, which was an interview conducted with a
Kaiser Permenante employee.

Organization of Report

The report is organized into six sections as follows: Overview of Microsoft Access
Application, Targeted Market, Technical Support and Training, Cost/Benefit Analysis of
Microsoft Access and Competitors, Demonstration of Application’s Components, and
Recommendations and Implications.




                                             1
                                                                                               2


                       Overview of Microsoft Access Application


Microsoft Access is a software application designed to organize and manage data in
many different forms, such as reports or queries. Many businesses depend on the
organization of data to survive, and Microsoft Access has many templates that can be
extremely useful. As a product of Microsoft Corp., Access is a part of the Microsoft
Office package, which offers a complete solution for most business purposes and a
Windows familiarity that is easy to use (http://databases.about.com/od/access).

Microsoft Access was designed to make storing and retrieving information accessible to
businesses that need to store large amounts of data. Because it is a relational database, it
allows users to cross reference sections of tables and reports in order to view data in
specific categories. This function saves time and money because it prevents a business
from having to enter data several times, and its cost is efficient enough for a small
budget. “Microsoft Access is likely to be available and supported for years to come”
(http://databases.about.com/od/access), which will also save time and money because no
additional software has to be purchased, only necessary updates.

According to Like Chung (2003 “Access was not designed to solve every database
problem”, but it is a very cost-effective application and offers an alternative to solving a
problem of data organization and management. Although Access offers many advantages
to solving an array of IT problems, several businesses fear that they may outgrow its
capacity. However, Access does have the ability to be upgraded, the system can be
slightly altered to fit the company’s needs, and information can be ported to larger
database systems without loss of information. This application is so useful that many
critics have acknowledged it as “the savior of millions of businesses world wide”
(Bennett, 2004)



                                     Targeted Market


Microsoft Access was designed to assist small to medium size businesses with organizing
and managing data. There are several businesses that use Access worldwide, such as
construction companies, law offices, IT departments, waste management companies, and
marketing firms. This application is a very valuable tool especially to marketing firms
because it provides easy access to information and an alternative way to increase your
business without spending money for other companies to do it for you. Recently we
spoke with Alissia Clayborn (2004), who works for Kaiser Permenente, about using
Microsoft Access in the health insurance industry. She stated, “ Access is a very useful
tool to have. It allows me to organize and access information very quickly. I also like it
because I don’t need any other system to do everything that I need to do.” Basically
Access is for any company or individual that wants the shortest and easiest way to
manage data.
                                                                                                3



                                               Training

Microsoft Access was designed to be a simple application that assists businesses with
managing data. This software has integrated templates to aid with initial database set up
and a help menu, which includes samples of databases. To make this application as
accommodating as possible, Microsoft provides an easy step-by-step training for those
users that need additional assistance. There is also an online tutorial available with a FAQ
section and a user forum at office.microsoft.com (Ross, et.al., 2001).




                Cost/Benefit Analysis of Microsoft Access and Competitors


Table 1. Compare and Contrast Databases

Database             Setup         Easy Use Support Forms, Reports, Query Training Overall
Oracle               ***           **         ****             ***              **       ***

Filemaker Pro        ****          ****       ***             ****             ****      ****

Goldmine             ***           ***        ****             ***             ***       ***

Paradox 10           ***           ***        ***              ***             ***       ***

Microsoft Access     *****         ****       ****            *****            *****     *****
                       Excellent
Scale                      *****         Very Good **** Good ***      Fair**          Poor*

Source: PC Magazine (2004). Retrieved November 16, 2004 from http://pcmag.com
                                                                                               4


Oracle

Oracle is a software designed for relatively large companies who share or exchange
information between different divisions (Robinson, 2003). The use of this database
provides a secured network, which allows companies to share confidential information.
However, there is a large yearly overhead of about $1200 in order to maintain the
database.

Although this application can be used to store a large capacity of data for large
companies, it is a very complicated program, and requires extensive training, which can
be very costly. In addition, Oracle may require other applications to operate effectively
depending on the purpose of its use. This application would not be the first choice for a
database because of its lack of flexibility and difficulty in learning the program.

Filemaker Pro

Filemaker Pro is a database that was intended to be used for small to medium size
businesses. This application has the ability to be used on Macintosh, can be formatted for
Windows, and has a distinctive edge for its usability (Clyman, 2004). There are also
many similarities with Microsoft Access that makes Filemaker appear to be a firm
competitor, such as being user-friendly and various training options; nevertheless it lacks
the flexibility and the high-end features of Access. (Clyman, 2004). And though this
software is slightly higher in price, ranging from about $249-$349, it would be an
alternative to Microsoft Access for users that do not favor the Windows operating system.

Goldmine

According to Bernadette Houghton (1998), of the Melbourne PC User Group, “Goldmine
is a powerful workgroup contact manager, capable of tracking contacts, analyzing
activities and profiling accounts to almost infinite depths.” She further explains how
Goldmine is accessible through different locations and allows its users to be mobile and
be able to access their data. Truly this is a sophisticated application that requires a
significant amount of training and comes with a large price tag that ranges from $300 to
$1000 depending on how many users are on the network. This database is designed for
large corporations and provides a number of useful features, but Goldmine is not as user
friendly as suggested. To get the full potential out of this software, you would have to be
familiar with most of its components. For these reasons it is not that flexible and would
not be beneficial to small business.

Paradox 10

Paradox 10 is a relational database that can be very useful if a “full-blown” database is
needed (Clyman, 2003). However, this software is the least user-friendly. In fact it
sometimes presents a problem even to expert users. An example of this would be the
inability for the built-in wizards and templates to be customized to fit the users needs. In
order to customize a table or report you have to start from scratch, which is time
                                                                                             5


consuming. In addition, selecting different functions within the database require the user
to have complete knowledge of the entire system and problems arise when trying to link
multiple tables (Ross, et.al., 2001). These limitations allow Microsoft Access to outshine
Paradox 10 in overall performance.

Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is the most widely used database worldwide primarily because
Microsoft Windows is the most widely used operation system (Sanders, 2002). Overall
Access is the easiest and most flexible database to create and manage information. It is
designed for small businesses, but has the capacity to accommodate medium to large
companies.

Access has a multitude of features that makes it distinct from all other database systems.
There are over 100 components that include a variety of step-by-step wizards and
templates, forms, reports, and queries (Morejon, 2004). It also has the ability to sort,
group, and relate tables to one another. Access is easy to use, easy to customize, and has
the ability to modify information within the database (Griffith, 1997). These features,
along with others, make Microsoft Access compatible for any small business, from
marketing firms to law firms.

Microsoft Access also has a competitive price, which is in the price range of $189 for the
single program or up to $349 for the entire Microsoft Office package. Not only does
Access have affordable pricing, but also upgrades are as low as $149, and training is
provided online, by email, or by telephone. Being a Microsoft product gives Access the
advantage of having other compatible applications that are useful for business operation.
This is definitely the database of choice for small businesses, as well as individuals
because of many reasons already mention. Although there are very few limitations, the
numerous benefits that Access has far outweighs the negative.
                                                                                             6



                      Demonstration of Application’s Components

This section focuses on training and online tutorial assistance, in addition to several
components that Microsoft Access has to offer for data management.




Training and Online Tutorial

As you are operating this program, if there are any problems you have the option of
clicking on the help menu. This toolbar tab will guide you to either step-by-step
instructions on how to get started building your database or direct you to help online.
There is an online tutorial or you may go to help and support. There is also the option of
both calling and speaking to a live person (at 1-800-936-5700) or emailing someone and
waiting for a response.

Figure 1. Online Tutorial




Source: Access Templates (2004). Retrieved November 15, 2004 from
http://office.microsoft.com
                                                                                         7


Contact Management

This feature allows you to hold all contacts that you may have including customers,
vendors, or other business contacts. They can be organized in categories or either
alphabetically as the example below shows. This feature also has a switchboard function,
which allows you to only access a particular category of clients that need to be contacted
at that particular time.


Figure2. Contact Management




Source: Access Templates (2004). Retrieved November 15, 2004 from
http://office.microsoft.com
                                                                                       8


Customer Order Database

With the customer order database you can input orders with details as to where the order
needs to be shipped, how, and to whom. This feature also includes a schedule, which
allows you to track when an item needs to be shipped. There is even a payment option so
that you can know which clients have an outstanding bill and which client are up to date
on their payments.

Figure 3. Customer Order Database




Source: Access Templates (2004). Retrieved November 15, 2004 from
http://office.microsoft.com
                                                                                     9


Event Management

This template works together with the customer order database. Event management can
be used as accounts receivable and accounts payable because it has the ability to track
every payment that comes in and everything that goes out. This is especially helpful to
any business to prevent any confusion in tracking records.


Figure 4. Event Management




Source: Access Templates (2004). Retrieved November 15, 2004 from
http://office.microsoft.com
                                                                                          10




Inventory Control

Inventory control allows businesses to keep up with products that they have in stock or
on order. Again this feature works with other features so that you may be able to cross
reference what item was sent where.

Figure 5. Inventory Control




Source: Access Templates (2004). Retrieved November 15, 2004 from
http://office.microsoft.com
                                                                                      11


                          Conclusion and Recommendation

Although businesses have different purposes for different software, Microsoft Access can
offer an alternative to purchasing multiple applications. The cost is economically
reasonable; there is more than enough available training and help, and the user-friendly
interface are more than enough reasons to choose Access over other database.

Microsoft Access can be a very beneficial tool for small businesses. It offers all the
necessary applications needed in organizing and managing data within one software
program. It provides businesses with the ability to track customers, customer orders,
schedule payments, schedule shipments, and track inventory. It is also capable of being
customized to fit whatever needs the user has. Although there are some limitations, which
are being corrected as the application evolves, overall Access is definitely the right
software for any small business. Divine Implication recommends the following:

           1. That Microsoft Access should be used by any business that wants the
              easiest, most convenient, and most cost-efficient way to organize and
              manage data.
           2. That any business with any other application besides Microsoft Access
              should consider changing software and saving time and money.
                                      Works Citied

Access Templates (2004). Retrieved November 15, 2004 from
http://office.microsoft.com

Bennett, Gordon (2004). Is it Time to Upgrade from MS Access. Inside Tucson Business.
       vol.13, 47. pp5.

Chung, L (2003). Database evolution: Microsoft Access Within and Organization’s
      Database Strategy. Retrieved on October 28, 2004 from
      http://fmsinc.com/tpapers/genaccess/DBOD.asp

Clayborn, Alissia (2004, October). [Interview at Kaiser Permenente].

Clyman, J. (2004). “Filemaker Pro Gets Even Better?” Retrieved November 12, 2004
      From http://pcmag.com

Houghton, B. (1998). Goldmine 4.0. PC Update. Retrieved November 15, 2004 from
      http://melbpa.org.au/pcudate/9810/9810article6.htm

Microsoft Access (2004). Retrieved on October 28, 2004 from
      http://databases.about.com/od/access

Morejon, M. (2004). Interview with Jeff Raikes. CRN. Issue 1107. pp.27

PC Magazine (2004). Retrieved on November 16, 2004 from http://pcmag.com

Robinson, S. (2003). “Create Secure Virtual Private Database in Oracle.” Retrieved on
      November 12, 2004 from http://techrepublic.com

Ross, S., Dyck, T., Sander, J., Graver, M.P., Roubini, J. (2001). Getting to First. PC
       Magazine. vol.20, 17. pp156

				
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