System Structures

There are going to be as many types of system as there are businesses - this is why I am in the custom database field and why it is more relevant to talk about structures and functions. There is always something new to learn and new ways to do things. However if you have never had a system created for you before, you might like to look at a few aspects of database design that might help trigger some ideas for how I could help you and your business. You may be using many apps that manage different parts of your busines and you want to combine these functions. We will need to work out what kind of animal you need on your side.

I have been asked - why don't I just tell you what you need? The answer is that a custom solution is a collaboration between you and me. You have the inside knowledge on what you need to do and why. I have the experience and technical experience to make those tasks simpler and user freindly.

Data Gathering

  • Who enters it?
  • What data needs to be collected?
  • How are you going to sort it?
  • What do you need to find within it?
  • How are you going to categorise it?
  • What needs to be linked together?
  • Does it need to be duplicated or revised?
  • Do you need to merge data from various sources?
  • Do you need to import it from other sources?
  • Do you need to export it for use by others?

Using Data


  • What is it?
  • How many do we have?
  • Where are they?
  • How much does it cost to buy?
  • What are we going to sell it for?
  • How many have we sold?
  • Who to and when?


  • Why do we know them?
  • When did we last talk to them?
  • What have they done for us?
  • What have we done for them?
  • What do we need to do next?


  • When did it start?
  • How long do we think it will go on for?
  • When will it/did it stop?
  • What was the total duration?
  • What is that worth?
  • Is this part of something bigger?


  • What do we owe?
  • What is owed to us?
  • What is in the pipeline?
  • What are we working on now?
  • What exchange rate will we use?
  • How is profitability affected when...
  • What commission is due?


  • What has just been done?
  • Where are we now?
  • What needs to be done next?
  • Who needs to do it?
  • What triggers the next event?


  • Do we have all the data?
  • Is it correct?
  • Is this finished?
  • Who needs to know?

What Else

  • What else could be done at the same time?
  • What else is being done that is similar?
  • What else is being done that conflicts with this?


  • What is relevant to this person?
  • In what order should the data be shown?
  • In what format should the data be shown?
  • What data do we need back from this person?
  • What needs to be hidden from this person?
  • How will we know if the data is correct/complete?


  • How is the thing started and by who?
  • Who can modify this data?
  • When will it be done?
  • When must it be done by?
  • Who handles it next?
  • How will they know it is in their hands?
  • How will they know what needs to be done?
  • Who else needs to know what is happening?
  • What oversight is needed?
  • Who gets to sign this off?
  • Who knows if it is right?
  • What happens when it goes wrong?
  • Who needs to be prevented from seeing the data?


Hardware - what does the system need to work with?

  • Servers
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Barcode Scanners
  • Cameras
  • iPhones/iPads

Software - what does the system need to work with?

  • Email
  • Accountancy Packages
  • SQL or ODBC - links to other databases
  • APIs - links to 3rd Party software
  • Javascript and external graphical resources
  • Mapping

Access to the system

  • Office based computers (PCs and Apple Macs)
  • Via a web browser
  • Via the internet
  • Via an iPhone or iPad
  • Via Terminal Services

So much potential

There is so much more that could be written and so much more detail that could be added. If you have got this far then it is a clue that you are as fascinated by data as I am!