Data is any written, drawn or typed material that will later on be processed or converted into useful material referred to as information. The process of arranging data into useful information is done through the use of machines and stored in a database.
A database usually serves four major purposes, namely data definition, data maintenance, data retrieval and data control (Beynon 67). They are a perfect replacement for manual filing of documents which normally prove hard to access in case certain information is needed urgently. Users will only be required to key in specific codes and get the required information.
Compared to traditional filing systems, databases are secure since they are electronically protected through the use of passwords and antivirus. A database is not prone to risks such as fire or accidental destroying since they are not physical per se. Information can only be accessed by the people that the information is meant for unlike files which anyone can access.
The use of databases has seen reduction in the cost of running companies because one person can manage the whole system. Although its initial cost of installation may be heavy, it has been proven that it helps companies save a lot of money in the long run (Thomas). This is particularly significant for small businesses that want to cut costs while at the same time maintain quality in service delivery.
Databases facilitate easy transmission of information among employees and partners in a business organization. Information is electronically transferred through emails and other modes of electronic communication. Users can track and update various processes that go on in an organization thereby facilitating easy communication among workers and customers.
There has been a notable increase in the use of databases especially in North America, APAC and EMEA with 34%, 41% and 36% respectively of purchase orders being transmitted electronically (Thomas). The future is bright for many businesses if this information is anything to go by.