Microsoft Access

  • Cons - Custom Development

    If you don’t scope out the development project correctly, you may NOT get what you need.
    If you have proprietary code developed by a single developer (and he/she didn’t provide documentation), modifications to the existing code could be difficult.

  • It is easy to use … I’ve encountered many “broken” applications built by power users and others … they reached the point where their skills (or time to learn) were not sufficient to the task,

  • Cloud Database Solutions

    Cloud solutions are becoming more popular, as they allow users to manage their data over the internet, using many devices, without having to provision servers, etc. at their local business. Most of these solutions require customization and some programming, however.

  • Custom Database Development Solutions

    While both Access and Excel can be customized, many small businesses will choose to go with a custom database solution, due to their data needs and how they need to manage, analyze and disseminate the information. Custom solutions allow businesses to choose their platform (web, desktop, mobile, all) and the backend database (SQL Server, MySQL, etc)

  • Pros - Why Use MS Access

    Fast to develop forms, reports and queries.
    Microsoft included many wizards to guide the creation of forms and reports.
    Very good report writer.

  • Pros - Custom Development

    You get exactly what you want.Can run the solution on multiple platformsand technologies, based on your specifications. You have an external partner (the DBAs and Programmers) working with you to make sure everything works … that is their specialty.

Microsoft Excel


I’ve often encountered folks using MS Excel for data management, and while it can work for small lists, etc, in general it is not suited for maintaining data. 
Pros – Why Use MS Excel
It is available.
Easy to setup and use.
Analysis is built into Excel.
Easy to save and distribute.
Cons – Why NOT to Use MS Excel
Multi-user capabilities are limited (yes, you CAN have several people accessing the same file at once, but this generally is not a good idea to record locking issues).
Can be difficult to setup solid data entry forms without a good knowledge of VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). Data Storage is not separate from the code and analysis.
Not well suited for serving up data to Websites (when used as a datasource, not simply as a download link).