Don't limit your Access to great databases.
December 05, 2014

Don't limit your Access to great databases.

Tim Ritter | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

1997 through 2013

Modules Used

  • Standard Components

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Access

I have employed MS Access in several different organizations, both large corporate entities and at mid-size firms, and even at a number of non-profit agencies. It is typically used by individuals or departmentally, although I have had opportunity in several small to mid-size firms to employ it on a larger scale within the organization. Typically I have found a number of users comfortable with Excel end up developing massive database-like sets of information across spreadsheets that are shared or sent across the org, and Access has presented solutions to migrate these into a more solid data model with a user-friendly interface. I have also seen Access poorly implemented in larger organizations, where it is simply a glorified spreadsheet. The capacity of the tool is enormous, and although the training curve is not steep, it is necessary for some basic user and developer training to be able to employ it effectively.
  • Simple creation of tables, forms, and reports to satisfy immediate business needs.
  • Robust query engine to analyze and utilize data.
  • Depth of features exists for more advanced users and business needs.
  • Relatively simple integration with other MS products for data integration.
  • Familiar MS Office look and feel make it approachable by typical users.
  • Although I have seen costly upgrades to other database systems for Access databases which were unnecessary, based on the real capabilities of the tool, it does have some limits for large many-user deployments that may or may not be overcome in some circumstances.
  • Some of the older features have not been fully updated in the newer versions.
  • Some of the older web integration features were much easier to employ than current solutions in the product (without using third-party tools).
  • This product has allowed us to assist average business users with data they know is needed or actionable in a business sense to rapidly make use of said data without waiting for a larger IT project to deliver something. I have seen this be very profitable.
  • Easier customization and development cycles have meant that a solution can rapidly adapt to changing business needs.
  • Informatica Enterprise Data Integration,Oracle Data Warehouse,SAP Data Quality Management,Crystal Reports,dBASE,QuickBase
It is by far the simplest solution that still has robust database capabilities. It also has a shorter learning curve than most, and with some basic database templates for common uses, even shorter learning curves exist. The development around such a database can be very extendable with simple usage of VBA.
Aside from supporting several systems that are still in use after years, and further development of these existing databases, Access continues to be a 'go-to' solution to rapidly prototype a data model. Such prototypes are useful, even when other larger solutions may later be selected for deployment, but often prove robust enough for actual usage as well.
If the databases are setup properly across a network, and limited properly for access to those who are trained properly in working with the database design and structure components, it can very appropriately and easily be deployed even in larger situations where the interface to the data is setup for appropriate business needs. If large many-user deployments are needed, or fast and high-volume transactional data is needed, it may be less appropriate. As a back end to a web service, it may be unnecessary as a realistic option. If integration is needed with other MS Office products, it is often the ideal solution.