To check for errors and problems with the current ICT system I will use the Database as a normal user would and list down anything that prevents me from finding out the information I require and any errors that appear when exploring the database. A major problem with most out of date ICT systems is that they are time consuming so a major factor concerning the design of my system is going to be how I can make it fast and reliable to use. Whatever the user requires every part of the system should work 100% efficient and gather the correct results. A way of finding problems with the current system is to check the forms, tables and queries to ensure they run and perform when needed to and the information within the database is correct.
The queries could be ran to prove that the outcomes match the titles of the searches and the forms could be modified to suit the needs of the company. For example if one of the problems is that the system is hard to navigate then one of the changes to the system would be to ensure the main interface enables the user to access the internals of the database with ease and at a fast rate instead of wasting time trying to find the required pages. This could be done with the use of buttons on the main startup interface providing links to the forms queries and tables within the database itself. Before starting the designing all of the current problems of the ICT system need to be noted so changes can be made accordingly and the new up to date database can be modified to a companies specifications.
* Analysis Questionnaire
This questionnaire is designed to aim certain targets at certain people within an estate agency to gain feedback and opinions on how the new database should look, perform and what they expect the system to have, the thoughts of the current users of the ICT system can be considered in order to improve and modify the new system to ensure the database is efficient and as beneficial to the company as possible. If the database when used correctly performs efficiently then the estate agency will perform to its full potential and using the newly designed system will hopefully achieve this.
* Database Survey
The database survey is designed to receive specific feedback from customers and workers within a company to ensure that when designing the new system everyone’s needs are taken into consideration and the database can be made according to everyone’s requirements. By using a survey many questions can be asked and in-depth answers can be given enabling me to design my database as detailed as possible.
Do you think a new database system is required?
How do you think the current database system is performing?
How do you think the new database should be categorized?
All properties in one database
In an alphabetical database
Sectioned by area
Sectioned by postcode
Sectioned by city
Sectioned by county
Would you like to see a database designed for the properties that you are specifically dealing with and not those of another company?
Will the database contain both the customer and property details and the customers requirements?
What would you prefer the database to show or inform you about?
Would you like to see a range of prices suited to you or a specific amount that you can afford?
Is the new database going to be easy enough for new users to understand and learn from?
Is the database fast and reliable with easy access and capable of quicker responses compared to the previous one?
Can Pictures of the property and examples of rooms inside be viewed after selecting the required property?
Is access restricted at certain levels?
* What can the database find out?
The database will contain all records of both the property and the customer and will list them according to any of the following criteria:
Customer- Name, Surname, Address,
Property- Area, City, County, Country, Postcode
Within the records will be the information of both the buyer and the seller and any additional requirements from both parties, including contact details and offers. The database will display the amounts of each room and there measurements. Also there will be an account of all the services within the property whether it be gas, central heating and/or garage. This includes a brief description of the property and a picture to show the possible clients. In addition the database will be capable of running queries and reports to give customers relevant information that is displayed at the click of a button. For instance if a customer required a 4 bedroom house in Greater Manchester with central heating and a front and back garden the results will able to be filtered down and results shown ready to present to the customer with pictures and information connected.
Reasons for:- Program uses:
1. Word- This is a word processor and is used to ‘process’ letters’ replies and other text based documents, it allows the company to edit forms send replies and construct letters, with the simple use of one program. Other features of Microsoft word is that it has spell check for any errors that can be found, paragraphing, bullet points and graphical methods to highlight and enhance the way a document looks.
2. Excel- This program is slightly more advanced to word and is not capable of processing text based documents, however excel is used as a spreadsheet and can easily make detailed spreads of almost anything ranging from a companies earnings, budgets, accounts down to the more simpler recording of money coming in and going out of the company. This program is highly successful with many businesses and forms a part of there success when running a company that is based around an ICT system.
3. Access- Microsoft access is probably the most advanced of all the Microsoft office packages and when used correctly and intelligently can be the catalyst in a companies success. It enables it users to construct a detailed in-depth database that holds vast amounts of information and data ranging from reports and tables and for the advanced user queries and forms. It is capable of recording data of any type that is stored and then later viewed as the user wishes. This program is the one that will be used in the design of the database for the new ICT System.
4. PowerPoint- This program is designed to present ideas and plans in the form of pictures and animated presentations. The slideshows of PowerPoint portray very visual information that is often used to show employees what lies ahead for the company and the latest figures in charts and tables. Everything is designed beforehand and then controlled by the click of a mouse, with the introduction of sound and movement PowerPoint can form an important part of a company’s success.
5. Publisher- This Microsoft program is one of the lesser out of the office series and is a simple program based around displaying and creating advertisements that can be used within the company to spread the name and logo of the company. This would then help with the general sales of the company,
6. Internet- although this is not part of the Microsoft package the internet or world wide web is one of the most advanced and highly technical parts of many businesses and households across the world. The past 5 years have been revolutionized by the internet and people can now come into contact with each other through the click of a button. Most businesses have now adapted to become a user of the internet and integrated their company so that their business runs alongside this feature. ‘Web pages’ are now the easiest way to pass on information and advertise a business and the internet market holds billions of pounds through this form of business to business contact
The sound card within a PC enables the user to hear sounds within programs and on the desktop, everything on a PC can be customized with sounds and it is the quality of the soundcard that enhances this experience. The card is then linked through the computer and sounds passed out through the speakers. As with all hardware sources the higher the value of your soundcard will determine the quality of sound you receive.
An essential part of any computer as it will enable vast amounts of data and programs to be stored on your computer, and with a business this is needed to be capable of handling many types of software and records within the database. A large capacity memory chip is suggested.
This connects more than one computer within your company and file sharing will be available easily and with quick responses. This will be highly beneficial to the company as time will be saved and money saved in the long term. All types of data and documents can be shared and sent across the LAN. (local area network)
C.D Rom Drive
The CD Rom drive allows you to run CD’s that may hold programs and documents that are stored with a capacity of up to 800 megabytes that is 700 times as big as a standard floppy disk. Which can only hold around 1.44 of data. CD Rom’s are the most advanced way of storing and running data as all PC users will have at least one of these drives.
Floppy disk drive
Nowadays these have fallen behind the technology advances due to the demand for faster loading and higher capacity storage, however your company may need to store small files up to 1.44mb to use on another computer that also has a floppy drive.
I am highly pleased with the end product of this task. The whole assignment was successful and I completed all the criteria set and to w high standard. I am pleased with my time management as I met all deadlines set and produced a fully functional database within the time given. Firstly I familiarized myself with all the programs I was going to use, this was to save time further into the designing so I could manipulate and find my way through programs using shortcuts and other time saving methods. With every program and piece of software I used I found a quicker method that helped me perform the same task at a faster rate than I would have manually. The use of the property guide to find the data for my table of properties proved highly relevant as all my records of houses were accurate and as detailed as possible, having said this, this method could not be used in real life for my database design it was substantial enough to perform the tasks I required.
The gathering of results on the database proved very easy with my use of macros because it was a case of clicking the desired icon and receiving the results in the form of a table instead of manually filtering through the records until the correct property details were discovered. In addition to this my queries for the price ranges for example >50,000 <75,000 proved very useful as property searches could be specific and not just a manual way of looking for a property, this way houses wont be overlooked and missed as the data with the search will be displayed when the price range is entered. The use of a computer always decreases the risk of human error as long as the initial input of information is correct, however if the initial data that is entered is inaccurate then from that point forward the results are likely to be wrong and human error to blame for the mistakes.
One possible flaw of the database is the display of pictures for each property type, from this I mean that for one the properties do not match exactly with the image of the house and secondly the images are not the best quality, because of this customers may get the wrong impression of a property and sales may be lost because of the misleading images of the houses. The main success behind my design was the data type that was entered in the field names for example I used drop down lists to make entering data easier for fields such as ‘city’ and ‘county’ I constructed a list from the internet and incorporated it into the database to allow users the option to select their city from a list instead of manually having to enter it themselves. I felt that a major benefit was the ability of the computer to allow me to import data from other programs into my design as it saved time and gave me reliable in-depth sources of valuable data and information.
If I was working manually then I would have had to repeat various tasks by hand instead of being able to use other sources to aid my work, the copy and paste command is just one basic example of this. By using computers and databases within the estate agency gives the company an efficient and reliable system that performs to the needs of their customers and therefore improving sales and reputation, these facts alone suggest that an ICT system such as the one in question can be and is the catalyst for any company serious about their services.