There's a lot to be said for databases. Not, perhaps, a lot that's terribly riveting - most airport bookshops have a distinct lack of database-centric thrillers for reading on holiday - but databases nonetheless play a substantial and important role in business today. Whether managing staff details, examining accounts, recording client and customer activity, monitoring stock, maintaining a mailing list, or whatever you choose to make of it, databases allow a vital and reassuring certainty that the information the company needs is always at hand.

However, there are many database software solutions, with their own benefits and detriments, and it's easy to pick up the first that you come across, put together a straightforward database, and keep using the same system to maintain the same records. It's certainly a disruption-free scheme - but it also risks missing out on many tools and options that could be advantageous to any business. And now might be a good time for reconsidering whether your existing database solution is giving your company everything it needs, with the arrival of the much-enhanced Microsoft Access 2010. Of course, it won't interrupt your everyday database use: all of the standard database tools are at hand for entering, sorting and managing your information, and data can be imported without difficulty either from an earlier version of Access, or from a wide range of other software. But the tools and techniques that Access 2010 offers for controlling, analysing and utilising your data are extensive.


Merely storing data rarely amounts to making the best use of it. Through analysing the information you've accumulated, you can often get a far clearer picture of the position that your business is in, and where it's likely to be heading. Access gives you the power to analyse any aspect of your information, producing detailed reports on key details across many different fields and categories. For instance, an office maintenance company can easily assess a correlation between certain kinds of offices and the types of work that they're called in to do; similarly, a shop with a loyalty card scheme can see immediately which categories of customers are purchasing which items.

And with Access 2010, it's easier than ever to construct the queries and expressions which will find you this information. A simplified Expression Builder helps you to get just what you need from the database, without having to learn any complicated syntax, terminology or coding - decide what you need to know and Access will do the rest.


Chances are, there'll be others around you in the organisation who could benefit from the analyses, or who could help you to collate the information itself. Fortunately, Access 2010 has a great deal to offer when it comes to sharing work and its results. The new edition of the software makes it easier than ever before to co-author work, regardless of how geographically scattered contributors may be. Using Access 2010 in tandem with Microsoft SharePoint, contributors can even add information if they have no internet connection, with SharePoint automatically synchronising their data with the central database as soon as they come online again. Users without Access can even contribute, as 2010 permits data to be submitted and reports created via Web forms, accessible through an ordinary internet browser - while the results can be easily shared as a pdf file, accessible on any computer without the need for specialist software.

None of this will disrupt your everyday database usage. However, those normal processes can be so greatly enhanced, bringing such benefits to your organisation, that there's really no point in overlooking them. And learning to use the tools shouldn't be seen as a daunting task - indeed, a short training course can transform the way you manage, understand and work with your important information. Access 2010 can genuinely be the key to a brighter future for your business.