What is Data?
In simple words data can be facts related to any object in consideration. For example your name, age, height, weight, etc are some data related to you. A picture , image , file , pdf etc can also be considered data.
What is a Database?
Database is a systematic collection of data. Databases support storage and manipulation of data. Databases make data management easy. Let's discuss few examples. An online telephone directory would definitely use database to store data pertaining to people, phone numbers, other contact details, etc. Your electricity service provider is obviously using a database to manage billing , client related issues, to handle fault data, etc. Let's also consider the facebook. It needs to store, manipulate and present data related to members, their friends, member activities, messages, advertisements and lot more.
What is a database?
A database is an organized collection of information. Small businesses can use databases in a number of different ways. A database can help you organize information about your customers and clients. A database can contain information about your product inventory. A database can track sales, expenses and other financial information.
What is a database NOT?
The purpose of a database is to help your business stay organized and keep information easily accessible, so that you can use it. But it isn’t a magic solution to all your data concerns. First, you need to collect and input the data into a database. Second, you need to organize and extract information from a database so that it is usable. For that you typically need a software program to help organize data, extract it, move it, and use it.
Database Versus Spreadsheet
A lot of small businesses are heavy users of Microsoft Excel or Google spreadsheets. A spreadsheet may seem similar to a database. But a spreadsheet is not nearly as powerful as a database for large volumes of information. Also, getting information into and out of spreadsheets can be clunky. You may have to do a lot of manual data entry, or manually exporting and importing data to other programs. And you can’t easily manipulate spreadsheet data — i.e., analyze it, move it into other applications, or run reports with it. Databases can make your organization much more efficient and give management valuable insights. They help make sense of your information. They can help you make your products and services more valuable. They can help you sell more. For example, if you own an online store, you could use a database for your website to keep track of customer data, purchases, prices, and other information. This can be transferred directly into your accounting system — saving you the time to collect the data, find the corresponding spreadsheet, and input the data yourself. With sophisticated software, this data could be used on the fly to make suggestions for additional purchases. The data can also help you manage inventory levels, to know when inventory is getting low or when something is out of stock.
Databases for Non-Technical Business People
For small business owners and non-IT staff, databases really need to be wrapped up in a software program to be useful. Unless we are in technology roles, most of us won’t be coding and tapping directly into a MySQL database.
You use databases all the time and may not realize it. Online software services we use today have some kind of database built into them. An accounting software program or an ecommerce application, will have a database inside it.
That’s great if you need a standard accounting program or ecommerce store.
But what about the parts of your business with unique workflows? Or processes that are unique to your business?
That’s where non-technical database applications come in today. With one of the business-friendly databases (sometimes called desktop databases), you can set up and customize a database specific to your business and your workflow — and you don’t need to be a coder.