What is data conversion?
Data conversion is simply the process of moving data from one place to another. Whether you are trying to convert data from an old application into your new Access application, or trying to export your Access data into other applications, data conversions can be a real challenge (read "pain in the butt"!).
- "Field Splitting" involves splitting data that is stored in 1 field in the old application into 2 or more fields in the new application. For example, a single name field (with format of "LastName, FirstName") might have to be split into 2 name fields ("FirstName" and "LastName").
- "Field Combining" involves combining 2 or more fields into one, which seems easy enough but can be tricky. For example, combining an Address1 and an Address2 into a single Address field must solve the sticky problem of inserting a carriage return between the lines, but ONLY if there is data in the Address2 field!
- "Data Cleanup" involves correcting those problems make data conversion difficult or impossible. Often due to poor data entry validations, these might involve invalid dates or invalid numeric data.
- "Field Standardization" involves converting variations of field values into a single, acceptable field value. For example, the list below shows a variety of spellings for just one city that I encountered when converting a customer database (not including the misspellings!):
St. Petersburg Beach
St. Petersburg Bch
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Bch
St Pete Beach
St Pete Bch
So, you currently use>?>
I have found that there are several problems seemingly common to many companies that use Access:
- The original developer is no longer available for support.
- The original developer had no real understanding of a relational database. For example, data entry is done through the Excel-type table datasheets, and involves alot of copying and pasting.
- Growth of your business has made the application slow (especially when moved to a network), and not particularly useful in general.
- Here is what you can expect from Liquorman, Inc.!
What is custom software?
Now, I know that you can go out and buy QuickBooks (or some other such program) and get modules for Order Entry, Inventory, Invoicing, etc. And while they all allow for some customization, you quickly find out that most of the changes you make are to your operations to make them conform with the program requirements!
Custom software is simply software that has been designed specifically for your company. It works the way you work, and uses the same terminology you use.