The Disadvantages of Using a Database

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Business databases can be difficult to manage.
Business databases can be difficult to manage. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

As your business expands and becomes more successful, its paper filing system can become tedious as well as impractical. This is why many company owners choose to use a database. Though databases help to make organizations run more smoothly, they are not without flaws. Designing a database can be costly and time-consuming. Technical problems can lead to extensive damage. Also, a company must spend time training employees to use the new database.

Time-Consuming Design

Converting from paper files to an electronic database system can be complex, difficult and time-consuming. Several steps must be followed when switching over to a database. The project leader must determine the purpose of the database and gather all the information that needs to be organized. The database designer must create the necessary tables that will divide the information, specify the primary keys, set up table relationships, refine the design and apply normalization rules that prevent maintaining redundant information in multiple places. Depending on skill level, designing the database can take several days to several weeks.

Technical Problems

Occasionally, the database may encounter errors that damage virtually all information within it. Unlike paper files, if an error is made in the database it can have a domino effect. Small miscalculations can lead to the need for a major overhaul of the system. Regular backups are critical to limit the potential for damage.

Costly

Converting to a database can be very expensive. The business owner will incur several costs. The more complicated the database design, the more it will cost. The company must purchase the software package that offers maximum flexibility for custom-designed database and allows for growth. In many cases, the business owner will have to hire a professional in order to ensure that the job is done correctly. She must invest enough in the planning of the structure of the database to ensure the best performance.

Training Required

Converting to a database means that the business owner must train employees to use the new software. Employees must take time away from their normal job functions to be trained. The business owner may also have to hire instructors to lead the training classes. Some employees may be resistant to the new technology. Training sessions can take from several hours to several days, and full adoption of the technology can take much longer than that. Depending on how long it takes employees to learn how to navigate the system, training and adoption may slow productivity.

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