26 May 2006

Real World Access (2)

One of a series of articles about where Microsoft Office Access applications have found a real-world niche.

Albert Kallal's fishing lodge system

During the off season a well established holding company that owns many restaurants and all kind of properties also owns a successfull fishing lodge. The office has a 1-800 number, and also several staff at this "main" office take reservations during the off season (winter). The system is thus multi-user, and several users in the office all use the system at the same time to book, invoice and follow up customer's requests for bookings and information. MS-access allows this system to be multi-user and functions without having a specialized database server.

When summer comes along, one of the staff members takes the data file with them and moves to the lodge for the summer (lucky dog!!). Thus, for the summer months, they run the reservation software at the lodge (they have one computer in an office at the lodge!).

The beauty of this system is that the MS-Access database can be transferred as a simple file on disk. This is no more work then transferring an Excel or Word document. This "one" file for ALL OF the data has been a great feature of ms-access since day one. Taking that ONE data file to the lodge means that WHOLE system is now transferred to the one lone computer at the fishing lodge.  The staff member is now ready to work! This single file concept for the data also simplifies backup, maintains, and essentially means that a complex data application is really just a simple windows file.

It would make no sense to hire a database administer to fly out to the fishing lodge to support, setup and maintain some type of database system on that one computer.

At the end of the summer fishing season, that data file (and staff member) returns back to the "main" office.  Thus, once again, moving a compete system with contacts, reservations, and full sales data is really just a simple file copy.

The reservation system has a nice large Outlook-like calendar display for booking customers.  The application also features customer relationship features such as reminders and follow-up for the sales process. And, of course once the sale is made, then the system handles invoicing, balance due etc. And, these invoices can be sent via email (in PDF format). So, the system covers both the sales process, and the daily practical managing such as occupancy reports for the lodge.

An Access application is thus simple, easy to maintain, and yet you have powerful self contained multi-user database system, but none of the hassles of having to install a database server at the lodge.

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At 28 June 2006 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It would make no sense to hire a database administer to fly out to the fishing lodge to support, setup and maintain some type of database system on that one computer."

Still...if that day should come, I offer a huge discount for my services when it comes to fishing lodges 8-)

gary walter


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