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Access Advantages Drawbacks Security Scalability IT Essay

Interim Research Report



Claire M Butler

Course: Final Processing Project

Module: CST 3100-10-J

Tutor: Steve Manning

Sponsor: Nick Morson

Date: 27th May 2011

CONTENTS Web page No

1 Introduction

1. 1 Introduction

2. Way and Methods

2. 1 Procedure and Methods

3 Findings

3. 1 Findings

4 Conclusion

4. 1 Conclusion

5 Analysis and Reflection

5. 1 Evaluation

6 References

6. 1 References

7 Bibliography

7. 1 Bibliography

8 Appendix

8. 1 Appendix A Booth Commercials Analysis

8. 2 Appendix B Source Chain overview

8. 3 Appendix C Interface Design, Analysis & Usability

8. 4 Appendix D Good Program Design

8. 5 Appendix E Access advantages & negatives, Security & Scalability

8. 6 Appendix F Market Research

1. 1 Introduction

Booth Commercials are part of the supply-chain they design, build and mount blast resistant, fire repellent and acoustic gates for armed forces, petrochemical and other establishments. Currently the company has a newspaper founded system, and at the moment they can not produce automated re-order levels of stock or lists and rely on spreadsheets for finding customer purchases. Therefore my main job is to carry out requirements evaluation and develop an Order System using Access 2007 as this will incur no costs for the business. The Order System will allow the company to enter in and edit purchases, products and customers. The system will provide analytics, automated re-order volumes and other studies.

As this job is for a company, requirements evaluation will be conducted and designed into this article. The goal of this is to gain a good knowledge of the company and understand certain requirements for the proposed system. Records gathering and Interviews will be conducted and out of this information Data stream diagrams will be produced, company paperwork will be normalised and entity marriage diagrams will be produced. It is important to clarify here that software designs will not be shown at this stage but will be included into the final report.

To gain further understanding, literature will be reviewed; as Booths are part of any supply chain the first literature investigated will be source chain, a simple knowledge of what supply chain is and its own relevance within the industry will be reviewed and market research will be conducted on current available off the shelf software and costs.

As customer interfaces are being created it's important to research what makes a good user interface and how usability affects conversation. Designing a good program is merely as important as understanding the source string, therefore this record will also research this area.

Finally the advantages and down sides of Access have been researched as well as security and scalability. Furthermore an evaluation with SQL Server has been contained.

This report studies:

Supply chain

Interface design and usability.

Good GUI practices

Access advantages and disadvantages, security and scalability

This accounts appendix's includes:

Supply String review

Interface design and usability review

Good GUI practices

Advantages and disadvantages of Access as well as security and scalability

Market research of Resource Chain products

Analysis of Booth Commercials

This reports target is to attain the above responsibilities and illustrate a good understanding and offer detailed documents of supply string and its own relevance to Booth Commericals. Illustrate the importance of good interface design when creating systems which build a human computer connection environment, discuss advantages and disadvantages of Gain access to, scalability and an evaluation to SQL Server as well as security issues. Finally a good understanding of Booth Commercials will be produced in the form of data move diagrams and normalised company paperwork together with entity relationship diagrams.

2. 1 Methodology and Methods

As Booths are an genuine company many different regions of research needed to be undertaken because of this project:

Requirements Gathering and Research of Booth Commercials

Research into Supply Chain

Advantages and Down sides of Microsoft Gain access to, security and scalability

Rules of Interface Design, Evaluation and Usability

Good GUI practices

Market research of available software

Firstly the approach to software development was considered and after consideration the waterfall method will be used to judge requirements, requirements gathering and analysis being the first stage, of course the waterfall method has negatives, these have been reviewed within findings. The primary concern because of this interim research was to gain requirements, analyse Booth Advertisements and carry out a customer centred strategy. Observations, interviews and paperwork gathering have been conducted to get understanding of the business, end user requirements and undertake a customer centred approach to design. Out of this research dataflow diagrams, normalisation and entity romantic relationship diagrams have been produced to create an evaluation of Booth Advertisements and the end product being produced. In addition individual requirements and performance indicators / requirements are included. Appendix A shows these findings.

Whilst conducting requirements research, research literature also had to be sourced, sensible web based searches conducted and articles assessed. As Booths are area of the supply chain it seemed possible that a little study in to the history of supply chain, what supply chain is and exactly how it related to Booth Advertisements should be conducted, formerly the analysis was for resource string and logistics but after analysing Booths it became clear that the logistics side didn't affect them as they subcontract a haulage firm to provide their product to the consumer, therefore logistics is not reviewed. Reading educational material on resource chain and looking at web based searches gained a basic understanding of what supply string is. It really is impossible to include all my conclusions of supply chain within this research report, therefore Appendix B contains a brief put together of supply string and an analysis of Booths supply chain.

One of the constraints of the project is to develop the application form using Access 2007 as it will incur no charges for the business. Therefore literature were analyzed and searches conducted to look into the benefits and drawbacks of Gain access to, in addition the research also centered on the scalability of Gain access to should the request become too big, as part of this research an evaluation has been provided of Access vs SQL Server, finally it was important to review security within Access and assess the way the system could be made secure. A full review of each of these aspects has been provided in Appendix C

Once research have been undertaken to consider Access the next phase was to check out usability, evaluation and Program Design. These are an integral part of software design and can make the difference of the program being successful or being a failure. In addition different users have different skill levels as it pertains to IT, therefore performing research into these areas is just as important, a review has been provided in Appendix D. This research then prompted me to take a more in depth look at good GUI methods and the basic mistakes made together with good design key points, in the end if the user makes their decision entirely on the program then the interfaces designed for the proposed software need to be user friendly and not aggravate or frustrate the user. Once again a review has been provided in Appendix E.

Finally general market trends was conducted to look into current available software on the market and costs this is roofed in Appendix F.

All of the research provided a good understanding of the company and moreover certain requirements of the machine. Many software systems fail because the builder fails to entail an individual, creates a bad design or simply over complicates simple duties. Therefore the areas researched turned out invaluable.

3. 1 Findings

The drawbacks of the Waterfall Method are that as it's a very thorough way if all the requirements are not accumulated at the first level it impacts the development process and its own success, second if any issues with a particular period arise after the phase is authorized of the can result in a badly organized system, finally if requirements of the client keep getting put into the list, this can result in not all certain requirements being fulfilled and can bring about an unusable system.

The supply chain has been changing because the 1980's; it is essentially the link between suppliers and customers to the buyer. A successful supply chain will need to have good supplier human relationships and also have good customer concentration and service. The inner workings of an business within the chain must be employed in an effective, successful and co-operative manor usually the chain will break. Booths are consumer demand influenced and therefore need to have a close integration of resource and demand factors, finally Inventory management can be an essential part of resource chain and forecasting and research are essential to evaluate hazards.

Interface design, analysis and usability are crucial if the good system is usually to be created. A user's view of an computer system is often limited to and based solely on their experience of the program. Usability within an interface defines that the user interface must be effective, efficient and provide satisfaction to an individual. Poorly designed systems cause software failures.

Good software design dictates that as a programmer you must understand individuals, be aware of perspectives, and offer clear slice design that the user can understand, be consistent and present clear feedback. Furthermore have traceable pathways, keyboard support, right use of controls and consistent interfaces help to provide a functional system.

Access is a rapid application development environment, however to achieve a more complex software integration with VBA can be an important aspect. The interface and selections are widely known and it could be easily shared over the network. Access can also be relatively easily migrated to SQL server if the program grow beyond the restrictions of Access.

Market research shows that of the shelf products can be expensive and have way too many things included which may not be required and consequently a company can conclude changing their techniques to suit the IT system, which results in the IT system operating the company. Furthermore some systems such as barcode inventory software can be quite time consuming and for that reason reduce productivity

4. 1 Conclusions

Reviewing Supply String although challenging because of the being a whole lot literature proved important as it proved how lead times, customer concentration and more importantly how inventory management is vital. Which means order system being developed isn't only possible but should be of great benefit to Booths. Having the ability to know how much stock you have, which customer purchased which product, and providing analysis records such as which stock gets the highest demand in confirmed period or which stock needs re-ordering, will aid booths in creating a successful supply chain and the Order system being designed for this project will provide this for Booths.

As a software package has been designed and executed for booths the research into Design, Analysis & Usability proved invaluable, a customer centred approach is necessary. The user is never worried about the underlying technology, what's important is the interface. Research confirmed that the interfaces being created need to be simple to use and understand normally the machine could become difficult and problematic for an individual making the system unusable. Furthermore different users have different IT skills and all these factors need to be considered. To be usable an program must be viewed as being "usable" by an individual for whom the machine has been designed. In addition the capability for the design also needs to look beyond the user's immediate working environment and appearance at the wider situation within which the system is likely to function. After all a interface that an individual finds pleasant will be more acceptable than the one which frustrates an individual, which in turn makes the machine more effective. Software failures and problems happen as a result of badly designed interfaces and not meeting end user requirements can lead to loss of production, efficiency and money. Traditional mistakes created by developers include:

Not thinking about the user: To be a developer it is not hard to fall into the trap of developing what you know rather than what an individual does.

Failing to give control to the user: True event driven design is all about letting the user dictate what happenings occur, providing this gives the user an element of satisfaction.

Overkill on navigation and features: An excessive amount of navigation and features can confuse a user, frequently used features should be produced common for the user.

A successful GUI should be rapid and reactive a lot of acceleration issues are due to the look of the GUI and not the hardware, in addition the use of real world metaphors i. e. when working with graphical representation the graphic should identify and be intuitive to the user which can only help the users learn the application form faster. A good design should cater to the next:

Understand individuals

Be aware of peoples perspectives

Provide clear lower design

Be consistent

Give clear feedback

Keep it simple

Have a traceable path

Give computer keyboard support

Provide right use of controls

Create a good vibe

Designing and creating good interfaces is an essential skill for the programmer and a necessity for the end user. The look must make the user enjoy working with the system for this to be productive and regularity is a key concern within the GUI environment.

As the software is being developed in Gain access to 2007 the study into the benefits and drawbacks together with scalability and security issues was extremely important. The research confirmed that using Gain access to:

It can be done to build a credit card applicatoin relatively quickly but an application can be further tweaked using macros and VBA coding to generate more complex software.

Access has a well known interface and selections.

Access can be integrated with other Microsoft products.

Access helps industry standards, i. e. relational repository: identity secrets, joins and unions etc.

Access can simply work over the network.

Lots of support is designed for access including a help system.

Using ODBC drivers, access can talk to most of the major big-system databases

Access can relatively easily be migrated to Microsoft SQL server.


Access has a size limit of around 2GB and if you exceed that limit the database will seize. However as mentioned above you can slot the back-end data to MS SQL Server.

Although access can work on the network it can only support a little quantity of users.

Incorporating security within access can be a little difficult and can be limited, if you wish good security its better to code your own, however this involves technical capability.

Usually in an organisation each copy of Access really needs its own specific licence which can be costly.

Although access has some issues the majority of the disadvantages can be beat, for instance if the application for Booths become over sized it could be easily migrated onto MS SQL Server (an evaluation is discussed later). Networking issues will never be a concern for Booths as only 3-4 users will be using the system and they already have licences for all the networked pcs using Office 2007. Security actions although a little cumbersome can be contained:

File Permissions: Microsoft windows network record permissions can be placed onto the record or folder.

Passwords: A single security password or multi-level workgroup security can be contained to allow different privileges to different users. In Gain access to 2007 the security model will be a lot more powerful than in earlier versions.

File Encoding: Articles of a repository can be encoded at the document level.

Hiding navigation aches and pains such as concealing design UI, navigation shortcuts and category's.

Create a custom menu.

Split the databases to create a front and back-end.

It must be explained here that of these are designed more for usability than for protecting the record. However over a secure network and with only a few users the security should be sufficient, but no matter what you do to gain access to it will never be as secure as it could be if it was deployed on MS SQL Server. To illustrate the differences an evaluation stand shows the dissimilarities between Access and MS SQL Server




Development environment supports: tables, inquiries, forms, reviews and encoding logic

Scalable, reliable and more secure customer / server databases engine

Maximum Database size

2 gigabytes (GB)

1 terabyte or greater

Maximum concurrent users

Up to 20 concurrent editors

Up to 100 concurrent accounts being run



File access-based security

Enterprise-Level security


Limited by document share model

Limited only by hardware and program design


Adequate for individuals and small team utilization.

Recovery from network failures can't be rolled back again.

High trustworthiness. SQL server is a mission-critical database

Backup and supervision tools available.

It is clear looking at the above stand that SQL Server is a high-end solution but it is also a costly one. Among the benefits of Access is that it's a cheaper choice and should the amount of users exceed "the maximum concurrent users" the databases can be put onto SQL Server, signifying access permits scalability. Many different approaches can be studied to secure directories but the essential requirement is to constantly appraise the security of your data source.

5. 1 Analysis and Reflection

Booth Commercials have improved since commencing this project, they have got moved premises, used extra staff and since Booth Industries also have undergone a change in their staffing structure this has also damaged Booth Commercials. In this process the requirements of Booths held changing and changing and credited to Booth order deadlines it was not always easy for me to set up meetings with the task sponsor. Originally an order system and content management system were proposed for this project but after looking at the requirements and analysing Booths and with the researched learned from supply chain, observations and interviews it became clear an order system was the fundamental product needed. Therefore I asked my supervisor easily would be able to drop the content management for the next reasons:

Booths didn't need it.

The sales order system became more technical and progressed into a listing stock system.

It allows concentrate to be centred on the system required by Booths.

My supervisor suggested that was fine and this focusing on one thing was good, however as with any system the first design is never going to be accurate and several designs ended up being produced for Booths due to the requirements keep being evolved. The first design was for a relatively simple sales order system with the addition of a supplier table, however this might not create the correct relational repository and after conducting more interviews would not meet the company's requirements, next a purchase order system was combine in to the design to build up a more complicated system as per Booths requirements. However this in itself helped bring issues because the company wanted to know provider details, but to produce an integral relational database the only path to get this done and give them better examination was to include purchase requests, Booths wanted the data but didn't want to get into purchase orders and as with any system an type should be designed to get an outcome. This was flawlessly understandable however as I learned later that purchasing allow a read only usage of their system, however it has all of Booths Industries buys and not merely Booth Commercials purchases and is definitely not specific enough for Booths requirements, therefore other factors had to be reviewed:

Entering purchase requests would in reality be data duplication.

Consideration of job time e. g. unnecessarily taking on employee time to get into data and incur costs to the company as production is reduced as a consequence.

Time taken to complete data admittance for users.

Constraints of School deadlines.

It was then asked if data could be pulled from the purchasing departments databases to update purchase requests on the machine being built for Booths Advertisements or allowing me to create a query to revise, but after talking with Nick Morson he discussed that this was unlikely to be allowed because they are allowed no privileges to purchasing. In addition consideration needed to be given to the university deadlines and may something this complex be able to be built within the deadlines and timelines constrained to this project? The easy response to this is no, a good purchasing system and order system may take anything from 12 to 1. 5 years to be properly designed, developed and implemented. Therefore I had to re-evaluate the look once again and although it's not the way in which to do things as data should be normalised, after talking with my supervisor the best solution was to simply add a purchase reference from the delivery/ goods received take note, this would suggest should Booths wish to know further details they might have to look at the document but at least they would have a reference point and it allowed the design to be centred round the users requirements, which in the end, as the look approach is a consumer centred one I have to do what the user requires and needs somewhat than what I as a designer think should be achieved.

6. 1 References

Pg8 Section 4. 1 Conclusions

Chung, L & Haught, D (2007) When to Migrate from Microsoft Usage of Microsoft SQL Server. Available from: < http://download. microsoft. com/. . . /when_to_migrate_from_access. doc > [Reached: 7th April 2011]

Pg_ Appendix B Resource Chain

Emmett, S (2005) The Ninety Minute Series: Supply String in 90 minutes. Gloucestershire: Management Books 2000 Ltd

Pg_ Appendix B Resource Chain

Emmett, S (2005) The Ninety Minute Series: Source Chain in 90 minutes. Gloucestershire: Management Literature 2000 Ltd

Pg_ Appendix C Program Design, Evaluation & Usability

Stone, D et al (2005) User Interface Design and Analysis. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

Pg_ Appendix C Software Design, Evaluation & Usability

Http://www. statistics. gov. uk/cci/nugger. asp?id=868

Pg_ Appendix C Program Design, Analysis & Usability

Http://www. w3c. org

Pg_ Appendix D Good Program Design

Hobart, J (1995) Ideas of Good GUI Design: Available from: < http://www. classicsys. com/css06/cfm/article. cfm?articleid=20> [Accessed 9th Apr 2011]

Pg_ Appendix E Access: Advantages & Drawbacks, Security and Scalability

Chung, L & Haught, D (2007) When to Migrate from Microsoft Usage of Microsoft SQL Server. Available from: < http://download. microsoft. com/. . . /when_to_migrate_from_access. doc > [Utilized: 7th April 2011]

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