Microsoft Access is a database system that allows for individuals and business to capture data, manage it, and create reports quickly and effectively. It’s long been part of the Microsoft Office suite of products and is included with certain Office 365 subscription packages. Is this system right for your needs? Here are the pros and cons of Microsoft Access to consider today.
What Are the Pros of Microsoft Access?
1. It’s very easy to install and use.
It only takes minutes to install this Microsoft Access. In return, users receive a database that is fully functional. It doesn’t require any complicated programming to use either, so the average computer user can take advantage of the information that can be gathered by this system.
2. It’s also easy to integrate.
Pretty much anything that is based in Windows has the potential of being able to integrate with Microsoft Access. This includes SQL, Sybase, and Oracle for front-end or back-end tables. It is also easier to maintain than other systems that may offer larger database applications.
3. It offers a large amount of storage capacity.
You can store multiple GB of data using Microsoft Access. It is also available to numerous users on a single Access application. Some users report having 10 users in a network accessing an Access application at once.
4. Importing data is simple.
You can import all of your gathered data into Microsoft Access in about the same amount of time it takes to initially install it. There is also a simple backup solution for your data since everything is saved by Access in the same place.
5. Cost is a real advantage.
Not only is Microsoft Access often more affordable than larger database systems, it can be essentially free for some business. Since it’s included in the professional suite of Office products, many small businesses already have it and are simply not utilizing it right now. Cost benefits also apply to consultation rates when issues may arise with the program.
6. It can be placed on a website for remote user access.
Although you’ll still have simultaneous connection limitations when you have remote user access, you’ll be able to give full control and functionality so that telecommuting can become a viable option for database managers.
What Are the Cons of Microsoft Access?
1. It is a finite database system.
There is a wall that can eventually be reached when it comes to inputting information into this database. For larger data users, Microsoft Access may cause limitations that other database programs may not have simply because there is a file size limit.
2. All data is saved into a single file.
For files that are closed to the maximum size that this database program allows, the one-file format slows down the performance of the program. Reports can take minutes to generate and share. Queries and forms may even cause crashing issues on some computers.
3. Multimedia data is difficult to incorporate into Microsoft Access.
This is because of the one-file saving issue. Multimedia data tends to take up a lot of space, which means only a couple of files can really slow down database performance.
4. Time critical transactions are difficult to capture in Microsoft Access.
If you generate data that needs to be immediately used or distributed, then this database may not be right for you. Think of Access as a long-term database for data mining and metric evaluation instead.
5. There can be security concerns.
If your database needs to be protected by extensive database security protocols, then Access might not be the best option. You can avoid this issue by using Access on the front-end of a SQL server, but not every business needs that level of infrastructure and still creates sensitive data to be protected.
6. Multiple Windows operating systems can corrupt your database.
You might have several different Windows operating systems in use at a business, from Windows 98 to the current Windows 10. When you share an Access database with mixed O/S users, then you can corrupt the information that is being gathered.
7. There is still a learning curve that needs to be followed.
Microsoft Access has a relatively poor relational design, which can make it difficult for some users to learn how to use or access the database forms. The controls and forms can also be difficult to customize or fit certain needs and there must generally be a basic understanding of SQL programming language for the best chance of success.
The pros and cons of Microsoft Access show that it is an effective system for data collection and management. If you can spend the time it may take to learn it, then you’ll likely find that it will become one of the most useful resources that is available today.