A database management system (DBMS) is a software program that is designed with the purpose of defining, manipulating, retrieving, and managing data in a database. A DBMS generally manipulates the data itself, the data format, field names, record structure, and file structure while also defining the rules to validate and manipulate this data.
To put it simply, a database acts as an intermediary between the database and the user. Typically, the database structure is stored as a collection of files, so access to the files is only possible through the help of a database management system. It receives instructions from the user and translates them into the complex operations understandable by the database required to fulfill those requests.
Pros & Cons of Using Database Management Systems
Just like any other software program, the Database Management Systems have their benefits as well as shortcomings.
● Better Data Integration
With wider access to well-managed data, organizations get an integrated view of their operations and a clearer view of the bigger picture. It becomes that much easier to see how processes in one segment of the organization affect other segments.
● Better Data Consistency
Most organizations face the challenge of data inconsistency, and it can severely hold back operations. Data inconsistency is the scenario whereby different versions of the same data appear in different places. A practical example is when a company’s sales department registers a sales representative’s name as “Robert Green” and the company’s personnel department stores that same person’s name as “Rob W Green,” or when the company’s regional sales office shows the price of a product as $25.99 and its national sales office shows the same product’s price as $30.99. with the right Database Management Systems, you can streamline such inconsistencies.
● Improved Data Security
In the past decade, the value of data has exponentially increased. There are no limits as to what data can achieve when used in the right way. With that in mind, corporations ought to do everything in their power to ensure that their data is safe. Consumers are also more likely attracted to companies that have shown that they can protect their clients’ data, so that is another reason for companies to do everything in their power to improve data security.
Database Management Systems provides a framework for better enforcement of data privacy and security policies. This is through limiting the number of people that have access to the data as well as putting up measures to curb off unauthorized access.
● Improved Decision Making
Every major decision that an organization makes stems from careful analysis of data. Therefore, to arrive at the right decisions, quality data is needed. The only way that this can be achieved is through proper database management. Database Management Systems play a critical role in providing quality data, which can then be analyzed and used by the managers to generate better decisions for the organization.
● Better Access to Data
Database Management Systems allow for the production of quick answers to ad hoc queries. From a database perspective, a query is a specific request issued to the DBMS for data manipulation—for example, to read or update the data. Simply put, a query is a question, and an ad hoc query is a spur-of-the-moment question. The DBMS sends back an answer (called the query result set) to the application. For example, when the sales department is analyzing the sales in the last quarter, they may want quick answers to questions such as; what was the average weekly sales during the quarter? What percentage of sales exceeded $5000? And, how much of the sales were credit sales? All this information can quickly be accessed with the help of a well-managed database.
● Increased Costs
All the best database management systems require sophisticated hardware and software as well as a team of well-trained professionals. All these are set to come with their own costs, including training, licensing, and regulatory compliance costs, as well as a host of other operational and maintenance costs.
● Frequent Updates
Many DBMS vendors regularly upgrade their products. They do this to improve functionality as well as keep up with the ever-changing trends in technology. As much as it may be for the good of the user, these frequent updates come with their inconveniences; for example, the user will have to pay for the upgrade and also get the necessary training to be able to work with the new features.
● Maintaining Currency
To get the most out of your database, you have to keep the system current. This means that you always have to install any necessary updates as well as apply the latest patches and security measures to all components. This could prove challenging because, again, there are costs involved and you have to train the staff on how to properly use it.
Choosing the Right Database Management System
Now that we’ve seen the advantages of disadvantages of using a Database Management System, it’s time to go through some of the things to look out for when choosing a database management system.
For starters, it is important to consider security. As we stated earlier, the security of your data is paramount, so it is very crucial that you ensure you get a DBMS that is secure. This means that only authorized personnel should have access to it, and it should be difficult for cybercriminals to attack.
Secondly, functionality. Different DBMS offer different functions. For example, there are some that extract and filter data, others offer insight and analysis while others do segmentation and modeling. On the other hand, some offer a variety of different functions. Go for the database management system you feel works for you best.
Lastly, support and development are also key factors to consider. You should purchase your system from a software provider that offers quality support services. You need to be able to rely on them to come in handy whenever you are having problems with your system.
In summary, database management systems are one of the best inventions in data management. They will make your life a whole lot easier as well as bring added convenience.