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Guide to What a Database Is
A database is a system of storing data. It was invented to address the issues that were involved with file-oriented systems. It is now commonly used for fast, easy, and accurate access and sharing of data.
History of Database
The 1960’s saw the rise of mainframe computers being used by companies. These computers were used to store large amount of information and were also ran using computer programs, the early versions of which were FORTRAN and COBOL. Eventually, these companies learned that more than just storing data, they also need easy access and sharing of data . However, they encountered problems with inconsistent data, redundancy, low standards, and poor programming skills.
The Management Information Systems (MIS) was then launched in 1964. It is still used as the basis in designing computer systems and data manipulation.
The 1970’s marked a significant improvement in moving the database management systems forward. This was mostly due to the increase in memory and the reduction in the process used in making computers.
The 1980’s saw the combination of database hardware systems with database management systems to create a systematic solution.
In the 1990’s, the focus from running an accurate database shifted to having a low maintenance one.
These days, work is focused more on automating database systems.
Uses of Database Systems
There are many groups of people that can use databases. These include the following:
- Businesses. This is probably the largest sector that relies on databases round-the-clock. They use it to manage their inventory, payroll, order processing, shipping, accounting, and transportation routing. These are important business processes that would not have gone on without the use of databases.
- Non-profit organizations. Database in this sector is often used to monitor volunteers, donations, clients, hours of service, and other information.
- Educational institutions. Schools use databases to keep a record of students, transcripts, grades, transfers, and other school-related information.
- Households. Databases in homes are often used to record family birthdays, expenses, bills to pay, addresses of relatives and friends, assets, DVD collections, and other home-related data.
Importance of Database to Business Organizations
Since the most common use of database lies among businesses, you would understand its importance better if you know how it is used by this sector. Here are the common uses of databases for business organizations:
- To store product information. The database can store information such as product descriptions, product specifications, reference numbers, promotional offers, prices, and more.
- To store customer information. Customer databases can store customers’ full names, addresses, and contact details. They may also have information on income, age range, interests, demographic details, and other data necessary to estimate their buying potential.
- To keep track of transactions. For ecommerce businesses, they need to record the customers’ searches, purchases, information requests, purchase history, product preferences, and buying potential.
- To monitor marketing campaigns. Databases can help businesses compare previous and current sales to see the results of your promotions. This allows businesses to change their prices, stock levels, or product mix.
- To personalize offers to customers. Databases that are used to keep customer information can help businesses determine the appropriate offer that would attract the market. This might lead to changes in prizes, creation of new products targeted for a specific niche, or launching a campaign that will catch the attention of a certain market.
These days, there are more ways that databases can be used due to the need for more information. As information becomes more valuable, so will databases.