When management chooses a database system, it must carefully consider the needs of various users groups not just the technical specifications of the system.
When leaders select a new IT solution to meet business needs there are many factors to consider. Unfortunately, cost of the system can be the biggest factor. However, it may actually be a bigger expense over the long term if the system doesn’t adequately meet business needs, is not able to serve the needs of multiple user groups or departments or requires extensive outsourced programmer time to customize the system to meet the needs of the business users.
Ability to Customize
When choosing a database system that will be used by multiple user groups, be sure that the database is easy to customize in order to meet the range of needs of the users. Ideally, company IT staff will be given administrative access in order to make simple customizations. It is critical to be able to enter test data in order to allow a sampling of users from different departments to practice the processes that are important to their needs. This test should be performed on each database that is being assessed before determining the best overall system for the range of processes that must be performed using the data.
Training Modules for Staff Orientation
Do the various IT solutions offer training modules that can also be customized? Does the service provider offer onsite technical training or customized webinars or other technical training options? If not, time to create a manual, quick reference guides and/or training presentations to introduce the new system to the employee groups that will be using the system.
Ease of Navigation
Which system offers the best user interface? Assess the system looking at:
- Positions of menu buttons and links
- Layout of the fields – Are they consistently placed? Visually appealing? Logical in flow?
- Organization of the fields – How many screens of fields need to be completed for each process
Does the system help with the problem areas that the users have identified the current system they are using? Does the system match or further improve the positive components of the current system?
Does the system provide a way to export data into excel sheets and create formatted reports for commonly needed statistical collection? Can the reports templates produce new reports with a click or two? In order for the data that you are collecting to be of use to your business strategic planning it has to be highly accessible. Choosing a new database system that will meet the needs of all of the staff that need to use the system requires careful collaboration and testing of the options. Assemble representatives from all of the user groups, upload sample data into the systems to be assessed and review the results to be sure you are choosing a system that reflects the needs of the users and not just meets the needs of the IT department.