The company I am going to be doing my project on is a small firm named E.J Computers. The company have been around for about a year and a half now and have 3 staff. Its run from a small shop, which they have just recently moved to and they are slowly expanding. Therefore I am going to introduce an Access database to help make the job of keeping the accounts work easier.
Statement of problem
The problem at the moment is that the company is currently using a paper-based way of doing their accounts. This way is still quite common, but it makes more work for the end-user, as he usually has to go rummaging through bits of paper and filing cabinets etc. Also a problem with doing it this way is that bits of paper etc could go missing and the data would be lost. Its slower, takes up more room and looks unprofessional.
I am going to be creating a database for a computer store that sells various things, from computer parts and accessories to fully working systems. The database will consist of many tables, including ones for customer details, products, delivery etc. I will be making the database a relational database so that the tables will interact and it will make it much more easier for the end user to be able to do or get to what they want.
A computer database will be a lot safer to keep the records on. If they desire the end user could use some form of data protection so that he viewing of the records are not accessible for anybody (by either pass wording it etc). This way is a lot faster, less hassle, takes up less space and I think it looks more professional. So I am going to be creating a database, which will meet all of these needs.
My initial idea is to create a database consisting of 4 tables, one for the customer details, one for the components, one for the ready built computer systems, and one for the orders.
Results from questionnaire
I wrote a questionnaire, and took it to my end user so that he could fill it in. I got it back, and now I can use the information that he provided to enable me to design my database to suit his needs. Basically he has the appropriate equipment that is required for him to be able to use the database and he also has the knowledge.
From the feedback that I got, he basically has left me to my own device on the formatting side, which is good because I can use my imagination a bit and hopefully make a good design.
The end user has also said that he would also like a password on the database for data protection. This ensures that the confidential data of his customers remains confidential.
He also said that he would like his database to consist of 4 tables, one for customer details, two for product details, and one for order details etc.
Information about end users computer
Fortunately, the end user already has a suitable computer system to enable him to use the database. The current system is an AMD Athlon 1500+ 512mb DDR pc2700 RAM, 40GB HDD, 40x CD re-writer, 3 1/2 Floppy disk, 17³ CRT Monitor.
He also has sufficient software, which is a bonus. Is current operating system is Windows XP professional and he also has office 2000.
Description of the previous system
Input of the previous system
At the moment the whole system is paper based. If a customer purchases an item, their details are written down on a little white card, this includes their name, address, telephone number etc and then it is stored into a filing case. Eddie then has to write out a receipt by hand and issue it to the customer.
If a customer requires delivery, there is an extra fee for postage and packaging and their information gets put into a separate file where at the end of the day it will be processed.
Process of the previous system
After the information is collected it is left. Hey dont use it for anything else like advertising or sending special offers. It is just stored in a cupboard and every time a customer phones up or comes into the store and purchases a product it is taken back out and another card is filled in.
Output of the previous system
Again, the information is not used for output at all, the do not send special offers or print receipts. The receipts are all manually drawn up and written out. All products are paid for up front; no credit is given so there are no fines and no need to use the data for output.
Method used for the previous system
Data Flow Diagram of the previous system
Problems with previous System
Main problems with the previous system
Database will be easy and quick to access and use.
All data will be stored on the computer and will be easily accessible and found.
Untidy work area
Database will be on a computer, which will be neatly stored on the desk.
All work will be word-processed, therefore the data will all be neat and easy to read.
The database will be pass worded so that no unauthorised access will be possible
Requirements of the new system
Objectives of the new system
Using access 2000 I will be creating a database for the company, this will make the system a lot better for my end user. To enable me to get an idea if what my end user actually wants he has filled in a questionnaire for me. This should help me understand fully what the end-user wants. My database will consist of four tables, each table representing different parts of the company.
The first table will be a table for the customers details, it will store the details of every customer that comes into the shop and purchases an item. It will store their name, address, telephone number and each one will have their own unique customer ID number. This information can then be used for any marketing schemes that my end-user comes up with and the data will be handy at all times.
My second table will contain information about the components that are available for the customers to purchase. It will consist of a list of the products that the shop has on sale and the type of that product. It will have the price, the amount that the business has in stock and a short description.
The third table will consist of a list of pre-built fully working systems that are on sale; it will have a field for system ID, the price, number in stock, and a specification of each computer system.
I will then have a fourth table consisting of information of the orders that have been placed, it will have the customers ID, the ID of the product that they have ordered, how much it will cost, and whether or not it need to be delivered.
How the objectives will be fulfilled
Description of the new system
Input of the new system
As I said above I will be putting the customer and product information details into the database using a mouse and a keyboard. I will be using a mouse to select to appropriate options and applications. I will also be using a VDU so I can actually see the information that I will be putting into the system.
Process of the new system
The process of the system is going to be pretty simple, I spoke with my end-use and we decided that I will make queries and sorts for the tables so that the information is easier to find and get hold of. We decided that it would be a good idea if I also include a mail merged letter so that things do not have to be written time after time.
Output of the new system
My end user has out the point across, that the output of the system is not really as vital as the input. The main purpose of creating this database is so that the details are stored safely on the computer. However a printer will probably be needed for the purpose of printing out records, and letters etc. This is not a permanent thing and maybe things will change later but for now this would be the only output.
Performance criteria and limitations of the proposed system
My database solution will enable the end user to be able to sort the customers surnames into alphabetical so that it makes it easier for the end user to be able to find a customers records.
My end user will also be able to sort the prices of everything that he sells into price order (for example cheapest to most expensive). This will make it easier for the end user, so that if he gets a customer asking about certain products that are on sale he can easily do a quick sort and be able to tell the customer.
With the solution I have made my end-user will be able to find the following:
* Begin using the database within 30 seconds of opening it.
* Find a customer using name or ID within 15 seconds.
* Find a certain product with information within 20 seconds.
* Find out if there re any deliveries that need to be made within 20 seconds.
System flow chart
Software and Hardware considerations
The hardware that I will be using to create my database is as follows:
1.0Gghz Celeron Processor
256mb SD RAM
Internal AGP SiS 8.0mb GFX card
15³ Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor Sufficient size display so I can easily see what I am doing.
Keyboard Standard RM keyboard enabling me to get the job done.
Mouse 3 button Key Mouse to make selecting options easier.
Laser Printer Printout copies of the work I am doing to take to my end-user to make sure it suits his needs accordingly.
Some of my project will have to be completed at home in my own time on my own computer; my own computer consists of:
AMD Athlon XP 1700+
768mb DDR PC2700 RAM
NVIDIA Geforce4Ti 4800 SE
Creative Sound Blaster 5.1
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 Optical (USB)
Logitech Internet Navigator(tm) Keyboard Special Edition Black
The software that I will be using to create my database is as follows:
Microsoft Windows 98 SE Operating System
Microsoft Windows NT Network
Microsoft Office 2000:
Access Mainly using access because it enables me to perform complex searches, have a splash screen and create an advanced database system.
The software that I have on my computer at home, which will allow me to be able to design the database, is:
Microsoft windows XP professional corporate edition
Microsoft Office XP:
Data security of the new system
Use of passwords
I am going to be using a password for my database, as my end user has requested it. My end user will need a password, to ensure customer confidentiality. The password will be a word requested by the end user and only he and his staff will have access to the password and therefore the database.
I have suggested that my end user should change his password on a regular basis, to ensure that if the password is found out it will get changed again. This makes the whole system more secure.
Also, to make sure that the system does not get infected by viruses I have also suggested that the end user invest in some form of anti virus software. The software I have suggested is Norton Anti Virus 2003 but it is down to the end users discretion whether or not he goes ahead with it.
Differences and similarities between the current system and the proposed ICT solution
There are not many similarities between the two systems, as the general idea was to change the system to make it a lot better. However there is one similarity between the two systems, the same information is entered into the database as is entered onto cards. This is only a small similarity, as the whole process is completely different now.
There were a few other possible solutions to my end-users problem; I came up with a number of alternatives but the database solution just seemed to stand out as being the best. The other solutions that I came up with which were taken into consideration by my end-user were as follows:
* Swap the cards for sheets of paper, which could be stored in folder or filing cabinet. We decided that this would not be such a could idea, because its not really much of an improvement and my end-user needs a big improvement.
* A spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel. We also decided against because is not a very efficient programme for the type of thing my end-user wants. You cannot perform clear searches or have different tables etc.
* A table using Microsoft word. Again, we decided not to use word plainly because this programme is too simple and basic. It does not really include many advanced features like searches and the information cannot be stored neatly, which makes the information difficult to access.
Reasons and justifications for final choice of software and hardware
We eventually decided to go with the database using Microsoft Access, because overall we thought it was the best piece of software to use.
A few of the reasons why we chose Microsoft Access are:
* You can perform searches and queries
* Data is easily accessed
* You can create tables which are linked together
* Create mail merged letters
In my hardware section I have already specified what I will be using for hardware. This specification of hardware is suitable for me to create the database because it offers enough speed and memory (both virtual and physical) to enable to be able to work efficiently. This is because the bigger the processor the bigger amount of RAM, all makes the computer a lot faster.
Outputs required by the end user
The outputs that are required by my end-user are:
* Invoices So that the customer has a proof of purchases.
* Splash Screen This is to improve the presentation of the database and to put information about the creator on.
* Reports To enable the end user to print out hard copies of queries etc
* Mail-merged letters So that the end user can automatically contact customers.
Inputs and stored data needed to create the outputs
What is required?
Customer information, product information and details of purchase (date etc)
My 1337 skillz
Results from queries from all 4 of my tables will be shown to make the reports, which will then be printed off so that the user has a hard copy
Mail merged Letters
Customers details, which can be automatically accessed.
Processes that are required to produce the required outputs
Knowledge and ability to use advanced package features
The database that I will be creating will be a many-to-many. I will be in the form of first form normalisation. I will have four different tables, each having its own primary key that will be referentially integrated to a linking table, to make sure all the tables stay up to date.