A database is an electronic organization, collection, and storage of vital structured data within a computer system. It consists of a series of tables, which are further sub-divided into numerous rows and columns. A search key called an index allows the end-user to locate a particular data in a database. He can then access, manipulate, or control this information according to his specific requirements. He has to use the various commands of a programming language known as Structured Query Language (SQL). It is a series of instructions controlling the operations of a database to produce a specific output.
The common SQL commands which the end-user can enter to access or retrieve data from a database are:
- Select -to retrieve or fetch the data the end-user is looking for,
- Update–to change or modify the data in the existing rows and columns in a database,
- Delete – to erase or remove the data in any of the existing rows and columns of the database,
- Insert Into – to type in or enter new data into the relevant rows or columns of the database,
- Create Database – to make an entirely new database,
- Alter Database – to make changes in the existing database,
- Drop-Table – to completely erase a database table
- Create Index – to make a new search key known as an index, and
- Delete Index – to remove or erase an existing index.
How does a database boost decision-making and business performance?
With the help of qualified and experienced DBAs, companies need to access, organize, and maintain huge amounts of data in conducting their business operations. They need to collect, classify, and systematically store the information properly. Only then can they analyze the data collected to make better decisions on automating and streamlining their activities. In doing so, they generally use the latest business intelligence metrics. Creating suitable databases in their computer systems allows them to achieve this objective. In the process, they become efficient enough to meet the growing demands of their customers. This makes them one step closer to gaining a competitive edge in the market over their rivals.
The advantages of using databases for companies to improve decision making and performance are as follows:
- To store, manage and monitor vital information relating to their business transactions in one place
- Use the data to optimize the employees’ task to save time and avoid wasteful expenditure,
- Manage and properly control inventory levels at the time of expanding their market operations,
- The business intelligence modules in most databases enable them to forecast future market trends,
- Engage and establish better relations with customers by analyzing information on their buying trends, and
- Keep track of inflows and outflows of vast sums of money to avoid all kinds of cashflow problems.
Database challenges companies face
Esteemed name in database administration and management, companies maintain various types of databases that contain vital business information of their activities in their IT infrastructure. They use SQL to type in complex queries to analyze this data. Only then can they take decisive decisions on how to streamline their business operations. In this scenario, the companies expect instant responses to all of their queries.
Database administrators are qualified professionals with the necessary experience the companies employ to manage their databases. These specialists use a variety of tools and methods to enhance the performance of their employers’ databases. The common challenges they face while carrying out their responsibilities are:
- Managing and properly organizing the vast volumes of data entering the databases from various sources,
- Protecting the information companies rely on to conduct their activities from potential cyber-threats like data breaches,
- Ensuring employees and top managers who have the necessary access rights handle the business data,
- Meeting the ever-increasing companies’ demands on getting access to real-time data to make timely decisions,
- Managing databases’ infrastructure, taking care of technical glitches and software upgradations, and
- Making sure the performance of companies’ databases can match their ever-increasing growth needs.
What is a database management system (DBMS)?
The databases companies use to conduct their businesses run on a software platform called a database management system (DBMS). It consists of numerous programs and applications which enable end-users to perform different functions on the databases. These include store, organize, update, optimize, retrieve the data within them. This platform even performs many administrative operations like monitoring performance, backup, tuning, and recovering lost data. A database management system acts as an interaction between the databases and the end-users accessing them. It has the following key features:
- The software platform organizes the business data in a specific hierarchical structure,
- Stores the business data companies depend on in a single location to save costs,
- Allows multiple end-users to access and share this data at the same time,
- Minimizes the occurrence of data duplication,
- Ensure only personnel with specific access privileges such as database administrator can edit the data, and
- Creates backup of essential data files and records at regular intervals as a security precaution.
The advantages of using a suitable database management system for companies are as follows:
- The software platform provides different techniques to store or retrieve data from the databases,
- It efficiently handles multiple applications using and executing the same data,
- Its data integrity constraint modules provide adequate protection against unauthorized access,
- Maintains a uniform administrative process for manipulating or retrieving the data, and
- The software never exposes the end-users to how data is represented and stored in the databases.
Databases allow companies to efficiently store, use, and retrieve their business data for their commercial operations. However, they need to know how to create the right one for their businesses. In doing so, they consider its storage capacity, performance, and ability to maintain data integrity. The database should also be easy to maintain and provide adequate security against potential cyber-threats. For this task; businesses should deploy skilled DBAs proficient in SQL with proven track records in the field. They will ensure that the database is functioning properly, and there are no slow queries.