A client called our sales department requesting a database for his employees. The sales representative assured him that we had the ability to design a database for them.
Relieved, the client asked for a quote for the design and setting up of a database. At this point, our sales representative asked the client what he expected the database to do for his business.
The client outlined the following list of functionalities:
- I want a database that keeps all my employees’ personal Information.
- I also want to keep the employees’ documents, which are required for compliance in this database.
- I want the database to alert me when an employee document is about to expire. I want to know this, for example, thirty days before the expiry date.
The list of functionalities expected from this database was growing by the second, when the sales representative interrupted: “What you want is a system.”. The client suddenly stopped and wanted to know what makes a system different from a database.
1. What is a database?
According to Wikipedia: “A database is an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system”. Storing and retrieving a collection of data simply provide you with a way of having a peek into your data.
Making sense of your data or using the stored data as an insight into your business decisionmaking requires an additional factor: adding intelligence to your database. A decision layer that query the database, visual layer that abstracts the user away from database operations while providing a friendly view of the data. This brings us to the level of a system.
2. What is a system?
According to Wikipedia, “a system is a group of interacting or interrelated entities that form a unified whole”. The entities work together to achieve a specific goal. The goal can be so abstract that one can simply fail to see the component underneath it.
It is imperative that the goal the system is to achieve is totally understood from the start. This goal is then dissected into smaller functionalities that are determined by a process called System Analysis. At system Analysis completion, it must be clear which component need to implement which functionality; so that when all components are put together, we achieve a fully functional intelligent system.
3. Advantages of a system.
Our system implies a development of components that add intelligence to the database, making the database a part of the system. Together, the components work seamlessly, and when presented to our client as one modularised package, will enable our client to implement the goal of keeping employees compliant with the law.
We translated our client’s requirements to these components:
- A streamlined user interface component facilitating the business administrator to enter employee’s details and perform analyses,
- A resilient and distributed service layer component executing our client business logic ensuring that all required functionalities are met.
- An alert component that continuously monitors our client employees’ documents and fires up alerts to the client business administrator.
- A database component to store information.
At this point, one realises the Power of a Systems. In fact, when you look around, you will notice an amalgamation of disparate component working together to achieve specific goals.
Throughout history, systems have been used to solve problems by breaking them up into smaller parts, with the best tool possible. The smaller solutions are put together to produce the solution to the big problem.
We need systems and our company specialises in helping you build intelligent systems.