Do it well. Use the best and simplest tools.
We have lots of data about our inventory, projects and communications to keep track of. We use a database instead of a spreadsheet. Most people use spreadsheets for tables and tables of data because Excel is readily available. It’s a staple of most offices, like, well, a stapler is. But Access is a database program that’s bundled with Microsoft Office, yet most people do not utilize it. There’s a gap between everyday users and the database developer that keeps the database at a distance.
I’ve been creating and using databases for over 20 years. My database love affair, yes, I will call it that is with FileMaker. There are so many places that review and dote on it, I’ll refrain from doing that here.
Today the Access is getting more use in offices, by a shift in how it’s being introduced to the users. A delectable little morsel called SharePoint landed in our offices. It’s a tool that allows mere mortal office workers to create very elaborate ‘intranet’ systems comprised of shared documents, calendars, task and project management systems. Savvy users create new “lists” to organize elaborate collections of data. If they’re paying close enough attention, they may notice an Access icon here and there amongst the paper clip and folder icons. They are designing databases without even opening the Access application. They log in to their workstations, open the company intranet in their web browser and work on their data. They don’t call it a database. Databases are for IT people and computer super geniuses.
Dare I send a few words of praise up to the Microsoft camp? Sure! They deserve them. This FileMaker user, developer and devotee uses SharePoint and Access everyday. He even evangelizes them at work where change is often slow and understandably cautious with new technologies.
A team of computer super geniuses at work plopped down a SharePoint system and unleashed it for us. Like a little duck gobbling up Hansel’s tiny little bread crumbs, I followed along and now fat with the promise of a single place to share data with my coworkers, I’m excited to see what’s on the other side of the next button. What other tiny icons are hiding in there to discover?