Database For Small Business – Decide whether it is appropriate for you to use a star or snowflake scheme to normalize v. denormalization affects your analysis and how future database schema designs will look
If you don’t spend time designing a logical and intuitive database schema now, you’ll spend it later trying to figure out how tables are related and how to do JOINs between tables.
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What is a database schema? A schema is a snapshot of all objects contained in a database (tables, views, columns, keys, etc.) and their relationships. This is a quick look at the database structure. Schemas are represented using Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD), flowcharts that show the relationship between entities in a database system, where rectangles represent entities (e.g. tables), ovals, attributes (e.g. columns), and diamonds, relationships (e.g. to -to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one and many-to-many). For more information on the elements that make up an ERD, see this article from Lucidchart.
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Here I will talk about another schema model, normalization v. denormalization and the future for schema design. I assume that the schema is implemented in an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) and that the database is relational. Let’s get started! ▶️
The most common schema models in relational database systems are the star schema and the snowflake schema.
A star schema is the simplest and most commonly used schema model. Historically, it was developed by Ralph Kimball and introduced in
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(1996). Star schemas are represented by a central fact table that can be combined with surrounding dimension tables. Star schema model dimension tables are denormalized and require fewer JOINs, resulting in simpler query logic and improved query performance.
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Creating the dashboard that bought me a job as a data analyst Guide to the Udemy panel that landed me a job offer from one of the biggest names in academic publishing. As a small business, your data is valuable, so you probably need a good system to store, organize, process and analyze it. However, choosing the right data solution for your small business can be a difficult task. There are so many software options; Excel, Google Sheets, Airtable, MySQL, and HubSpot are just a few of the many great options available. With all these products out there, how do you know which one is right for you?
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A database product is probably the most robust and powerful of these options. Fortunately, there are database software options that fit the needs of small businesses. In this article, we will discuss the importance of databases and the features that small businesses should pay attention to!
A database is a data repository that is optimally structured for accuracy, reliability and ease of use. The database enables everything from scientific research to your favorite websites to run smoothly.
How do they do it? They facilitate access to information. In the database, data is organized in a consistent logical structure, which makes the process of storing and retrieving information more efficient. In other words, a database simplifies your data and makes it more accessible.
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Here’s a simple example: A dog breeder wants to track his dog. He could record each dog as follows:
“Bulldogs, white; German Shepherd, white; Poodle, white; Poodle, white; German shepherd, brown; Golden retriever, brown; Bulldogs, brown; Peel, gray; Poodle, gray…”
Now the breeder wants information about the dog. How many greyhounds does he have? How many gray dogs? How much does a white poodle cost? As you can see, it is difficult to get this information from his records, especially if he has hundreds of dogs! So he decides to use a database that could store his data like this:
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Using the database, breeders can easily get information: 52 greyhounds, 71 gray dogs and 3 white poodles!
However, breeders want to know more. What about the dog’s weight, size, personality and activity level? How do these features correlate with price? Complex data-driven queries like these require the use of databases.
Because your data is complex, it’s important to consider how you want to store it. Businesses typically store their data using a database management system (DBMS), which is software that facilitates interaction with databases. This interaction goes beyond storage: DBMSs allow businesses to create, access, read, manage, modify and update their databases, often using programming languages such as SQL.
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It is also important to know that storing data in a DBMS is much more secure than other methods due to control measures such as authentication, access control and encryption. You don’t want your data to fall into the wrong hands.
Thus, a DBMS is important for any company because it stores valuable information in an organized, easily accessible, and secure manner. What other benefits of using a DBMS should you keep in mind?
One of the most important reasons you have a database is to be able to analyze your data. It’s likely that your business collects data from many sources, such as data from Google Analytics, Shopify, Stripe, or other applications.
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To perform a simple analysis, it is often necessary to use several tools at the same time. To perform data analysis and visualization, it is often standard practice to store all data in a data warehouse and then use BI tools to visualize it.
A data warehouse is a system that collects data from multiple sources for reporting and analysis purposes.
But how do you get your data into the database? One common way is to use an ETL (extrah, transform, load) tool to retrieve, clean, and store data into your database system. Your BI tools can then load the cleaned data directly from the database to create dashboards and perform analysis.
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Unfortunately, as you can see, this process involves using several tools to manage the data flow, which can be very complicated. Using these tools also requires technical knowledge of database management and data engineering.
It’s important for small businesses to get the most bang for their buck. Many of the database tools that exist today require an understanding of coding, database administration, and database engineering. These tasks can be difficult and expensive for small businesses that do not yet have this expertise or the existing IT infrastructure to implement them.
You’ll want to choose software that handles the technical backend for you. Efficiency and simplicity are key, so you can focus on creating impactful analytics that drive your business.
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We mentioned data warehouses before. One of the important features of multiple data warehouses is OLAP (online analytical processing). OLAP functionality enables database analysts to perform various types of data analysis from multiple sources by allowing users to easily and selectively extract and search data. Small businesses should focus on OLAP tools to get fast and consistent insights from their data.
Teams should also focus on easy data sharing to increase transparency and collaboration across the company. Collaboration and transparency foster trust between management and employees and business benefits. Internal transparency is the basis for making informed and wise decisions; context and key details are less likely to be buried as information spreads. Teams are also more likely to understand their work and its impact, share knowledge across teams and increase productivity.
Storage is also expensive. Large companies may have local storage hardware that small businesses don’t. That’s why cloud solutions are best for small businesses.
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Notice that the recurring theme here is ‘convenience’. This software should help you improve your business, not burden you with complexity. With that in mind, here are 5 solutions for you to consider.
You probably already know the tables. Although not a database, it is quick and easy to use when you have smaller data sets. You can enter data directly into cells and perform calculations. However, you will face scalability issues. When you have a larger amount of data, extracting information is much slower and takes up a lot of your computer’s resources. Despite its limitations, ease of use is still a good choice for small businesses. It is also possible to easily switch from using a spreadsheet to a database.
MySQL is a free and open source RDBMS, while MSSQL is an RDBMS developed by Microsoft. Both platforms can scale as your company grows and collects more data. The downside of these platforms is that they still require an ETL tool to migrate data and lack simple analytics capabilities. And although MySQL is free, you should
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