United Postal Service (UPS) has invested billions of dollars into analytics and captured over 17 petabytes of data (equivalent to 225 years of high-definition video). Using this data, UPS annually saves 38 million litres of fuel and delivers 350,000 more packages.
The Microsoft Access problem
Data is digital oil, and like oil, requires tools for extracting, storing, and refining. Many SMEs have selected Microsoft Access and antiquated, under-supported legacy systems, and in doing so have made finding a competitive edge in analytics impossible. Cloud migration and digital transformation is necessary.
Most of the problems with these legacy systems and Access can be traced back to three core issues:
- local storage;
- lack of integrations;
- ease of use for non-developers.
Basically, Access databases are easier to set up, but harder to turn into a competitive edge. (UPS doesn’t have a 16 petabyte Access database.) The alternative, however, custom web and mobile apps, have their own problems, such as costs.
The solution for SMEs comes from an unlikely source: citizen developers. These people are non-developers operating within businesses who are armed with tools for efficiently creating and maintaining their own software solutions to their own practical problems.
Access migration: The citizen developer solution
Tech-savvy employees and owners transform into citizen developers when they create and edit software with only a little technical know-how. All these citizen developers need is the right set of tools: software for making software.
Software and apps (e.g. Facebook) are databases with a user interfaces and complex behaviours. Traditionally, only experienced developers and designers could create these components. Now, citizen developers can create each of these using low-code platforms, such as Codebots.
The downside of these platforms has always been exclusivity; nothing gets in, and nothing gets out. For businesses stuck on Access, getting stuck on another platform is an unappealing solution.
Uniquely, Codebots users can unlock existing Access databases by migrating them to the cloud, and transform them into web-based applications. Access migration and transformation requires no coding experience. You can achieve it all with the power of code-writing bots.
Transform an Access database into a web app
All businesses (big and small) need software for managing data. The question is, where will this software come from? There are two possibilities: create your own solution or buy one off the shelf. The former is expensive and the latter seldom user friendly. Faced with this hard choice, many businesses have attempted to forge a new path with Access.
The problem with Access is efficacy. Access extracts, stores, and refines data, however, its capabilities have a low-ceiling. This is because it’s a database management system (DBMS) with only simple, app-like capabilities. To compete on analytics, and empower your workforce, you need custom software.
Software has an air of mystery. Fundamentally, however, it’s simple.
All applications are comprised of objects, which have two basic properties: state and behaviour. An object’s state is defined by its attributes, which are distinguishing features. An object’s behaviour defines functionality and use. For example, we have an object called “Car”. Car is red, a Holden, and a Commodore. This is state. Car can also move and make turns. This is behaviour.
If you have Access databases, you probably already have your state. For example, stores have sales, sales have products, products have inventory. However, your business is probably lacking in behaviour. For example, automatically updating your inventory after a sale and delivering alerts when prices change.
Uniquely, Codebots can unlock your existing Access databases by migrating your state to the cloud. Codebots users can choose from more than a dozen complex behaviours - called Extensions - and add these with a click.
With enough time and experience, many of these extensions can be added to an Access database or to a legacy system with additional code. However, both of these potential solutions lack scalability.
On a low-code platform, a citizen developer can rapidly create and update software solutions to problems within their workflow using predefined extensions.
Citizen developers armed with low-code platforms are revolutionising how SMEs can engage with big data and offers new opportunities for seizing a competitive advantage over laggard competitors.
Codebots presents magical onboarding for Access database users live (Myriad, 2018)
Have a little extra time up your sleeve? Watch a full-live demo of this Codebots feature.
Last updated: 10 January 2020