Efficient management and analysis of large volumes of data has become a necessity in businesses today, be they large or small. When your organization starts growing in leaps and bounds, there is an increased need to structure data in meaningful ways that will assist you in understanding and optimizing your information for improved efficiency.
If not managed properly, unchecked exponential growth of the company’s database will impact the efficient functioning of the system, slowing down queries and retrieval of information.
What is a database management system?
A database management system (DBMS) is a tool that enables the creation and management of data for specific use by an organization. It allows authorized users to access, modify and delete data and to perform queries while at the same time organizing the internal structure of the database and ensuring data security.
Unlike the database management or administration function, which is more of a manual process of controlling and organizing data, a DBMS is software-driven.
One advantage of the DBMS is the improved data security in terms of strong privacy and security policies. Database administrators are able to grant access to specific users, giving them read, write, modify and sometimes delete access as well. Some DBMS systems will also log user activity.
Another strong feature is the structure and organization of data, which is stored it in a format that makes it easier to understand, with quicker retrieval times.
The DBMS facilitates integration across platforms, which enables application programs to identify data inconsistency and to rectify it.
The administrators are also able to set up database rules and standards in order to protect data integrity.
The data is created through a front-end application by system users. Software programmers and database administrators (DBAs) use the DBMS to interact with the database in the backend.
The function of a database administrator
DBAs are responsible for ensuring that the company’s data is efficiently stored and secure. In addition to maintaining the overall health and availability of the data, the DBA has the following functions:
- Create the user permissions within the DBMS.
- Archive, replicate, partition and mask data.
- Monitor the performance of software applications and their data functions.
- Establish a reliable backup system.
- Plan for storage capacity and growth requirements.
Database administrators and application programmers rely on the DBMS for a centralized view of the data.
Benefits of a database management system
There are a vast number of DBMS solutions out there, and they differ in what they have to offer. When assessing a system for your organization, it’s important to research the different products thoroughly to find the best match for your business.
The benefits of running a DBMS include sophisticated data analysis tools for visualization and reporting, which help you gain insight into how your company is progressing and plan your way forward.
Data can be collected from a number of sources within your business operations and consolidated in your DBMS, giving you an overall view of the different areas of your business. The data is usually consolidated and cleaned automatically by an application programming interface (API).
The benefits offered by a DBMS package
DBMS packages allow users to access the database and work remotely from different geographical locations.
From a security point of view, the DBMS provides a stronger platform for data security and privacy. In addition, the administrators are able to limit functionality per individual user, significantly reducing risk.
Efficient storage of data and improved data quality gives a clear and logical view of the information. Integration with various tools and system across various platforms means improved overall visibility.
The combination of application tools available on the DBMS enables quick access to data without the need for users to have technical skills.
Not all database management systems are created equal. Many DBMS systems come with features that will fit your business without too much intervention. However, there are other DBMS systems that need significant input from the database administrator or application programmer to set parameters and manage functions like integration with other systems and the sharing or retrieval of data across platforms. Choosing a DBMS depends on the complexity of your business and what your applications are going to produce in terms of data.
Other features to look out for when evaluating a DBMS
When deciding on the right DBMS solution for your business, you’ll want to consider factors such as user friendliness, ease of software implementation and data manipulation, data recover efficiency and the security of your data.
Other features to look into include:
- Automated data cleansing and transformation from different platforms
- Graphical integration and availability of diagrams
- The extent of query complexity available
- Ease of integration with other systems
- Processing speed on long queries or large databases
- High-volume data storage and management ability
- Freedom to customize data, if required
- Automatic backup system
- Flexibility of import options, such as Excel files, extended files and fixed-width data files
- Logging of system messages and user activity
- Check future development plans regarding software upgrades
The first step is to do a thorough analysis of your business requirements. Thereafter, an evaluation of the different DBMS systems available should help you identify a system that suits your business requirements. Once the decision has been made and you start with the implementation phase, it is imperative that your DBA, application programmer and key stakeholders plan and design the system thoroughly, from data structures to user access, front-end applications and back-end organization of data, as well as backup management and network access.
There is so much to be learned about database management systems and the different query applications and programming languages that drive them. As a BS graduate in computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics or something similar, a post-graduate online MS in CS with Baylor University would enhance your knowledge and increase your career prospects in terms of specialization. Dive into the world of advanced data science or software engineering, databases or AI and take your professional life to the next level.
The fast implementation time and quick access to data, often with lower costs and automatic access to the latest technology, make switching to a DBMS a viable option. You can begin almost immediately, gathering and structuring your data, sharing, reporting and utilizing your chosen database for the benefit of your business.