Outsource MS Access?
If you are wondering if your company should outsource MS Access, there is usually very little to weigh up. This post will quickly take a quick look at the main points you need to consider before choosing to complete your MS Access project in-house or if you should just outsource it.
Considerations to think about before starting your MS Access project
Is the project to create a completely new MS Access database
Be warned! … New databases tend to require much more work than is budgeted for! Unless you or your team have years of relational database design experience, multiple the time allocated for the project by at least a factor of 4. There WILL BE parts of the project that the database is not functioning as it should. It is these minor ‘glitches’ that can cause massive headaches and long delays – usually accompanied by re-writes to big sections of design. It is worth noting that a professional designer will be after coming across many of these issues previously. It is likely that they will structure the database in a way that will lead to less bugs and (at a minimum) resolve ‘glitches’ faster. If you outsource MS Access, it is worth noting that completion dates will be far more reliable.
Is the project an “addon” or fix to your current MS Access database system
If you have MS Access experience and you know your databases functionality, it may be cost effective to fix or upgrade your database in-house. An outside MS Access development company will need to allocate a lot of time to getting familiar with how your system was built and how it is supposed to work. This is costly and (in some cases) not necessary. Upgrades and fixes will usually come in two disguises; more functionality or more speed. The underpinning of these upgrades usually do not require masses of MS Access experience – they can be accomplished by just researching what is needed and how to action it.
More functionality – research the required VBA or SQL and how to embed an event
More Speed – research how to archive table data
It is worth noting that you definitively need to back-up the database prior to any experimentation and have your paracetamol at the ready!
How many hours have you (or your team) previously accumulated on database development
Coding is like anything in life, you learn by your mistakes and, over time, you forget you made the mistakes only to make them again. The two languages that MS Access requires are SQL and VBA.
SQL – Structured Query Language (gives the ability to query your data)
VBA – Visual Basic for Applications (gives you the ability to run unique functions etc.)
It is likely that you will need (at least) a basic knowledge of both to accomplish most tasks through MS Access. There are great resources available such as stackoverflow (https://stackoverflow.com/) (and of course ArrowDesign.ie) should you get stuck. Databases are labours of love and if you are not up for it, it is better to outsource MS Access!
Have you sufficient time to create/upgrade your system while carrying out B.A.U.
One of the main considerations before internally starting an MS Access project, is to ensure that your normal, “Business As Usual” tasks can be carried out in tandem with the creation or repair of the database system. MS Access, and most coding projects are accomplished in a fraction of the time if they are the developers sole focus. If there are breaks in the developers’ attention, “getting back into it” can take longer than you think! The time taken to get back to the task in hand sometimes will take as long as writing the code. Breaks in attention inevitably lead to unnecessary and improper coding, which means bugs and re-writes. Ensure that if you choose not to Outsource MS Access projects, you can allocate specific time to the project – phones and email off!!
Are all processes/functionality mapped and defined
Definition of required functionality will be needed no matter if you choose to outsource your MS Access project or not. This is a timely process and if it is accomplished correctly, it will save you money and time no matter who completes the database project. Mapping the required tables, queries, reports and required outputs can be done in plain English – the plainer the better! Having the required processes in English will allow you to see what needs to happen and allow you or your chosen developer to create the required functionality efficiently and will be a great visual aid to accomplishing your goals. Mapping functionality onsite and giving it directly to a developer may be a great way to get the most from both outsourcing and “in-house” design.
Outsourcing or not outsource MS Access Summary
If your company is considering outsourcing an MS Access project, ensure that you weigh up you’re your options. Choosing to complete your MS Access project “in-house” may save money or cost you more than expected. If you are going to complete it yourself, make sure that you budget way more time than expected and ensure that you can handle your business as usual. A cost benefit analysis is an excellent tool to enable you to definitively decide on outsourcing MS Access needs. Remember that it is also possible to both create and delegate – the less time your developer has to spend, the less you spend in money!
If you have any MS Access outsourcing questions, or we can help in anyway, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. We offer professional, affordable, software development and training. We mainly provide outsource MS Access Services throughout Ireland but can help you with any MS Access Issues, no matter where you are.