September 23, 2014

How and Why Companies Leverage Databases


Hostway Team

Database resources have always been a staple in business environments. However, with advancing computing functionalities, their use has not only increased, but has become a more critical part of company processes.Currently, one of the largest, most powerful databases in the world belongs to the Library of Congress.

According to Free Republic, that resource includes a whole host of informational materials, from federal documents to newspapers dating back to the colonial era. The Library of Congress's database boasts about 130 million items, including 29 million books and 5 million digital documents. All told, the text items alone in the database comprise a staggering 20 terabytes of data, with an estimated 10,000 items being added to the more than 500 miles of shelf space every day.

While this is no doubt one of the biggest databases the world has ever seen, it is definitely not the only one of its kind. However, with advancing computing functionalities, their use has not only increased, but has become a more critical part of company processes. Interparty noted that enterprise databases are now leveraged for internal purposes, as well as to provide information to the public, and will only play an increasingly pivotal role for companies as time goes on.

Top uses for databases in the business sector
Since the dawn of the Internet age, as database services have become more cost effective and available, businesses have found a number of new uses for databases in enterprise settings. Demand Media's Ian Linton noted that there are several ways Internet-based companies are leveraging their databases, including to house product information. With easily accessible resources containing all of the business's products and associated details, employees can ensure that their website always has the most up-to-date information on hand.

Customer information is another usage case for modern databases. Linton pointed out that such a resource can be beneficial in a range of situations, including for marketing and customer relationship management purposes. However, companies must adhere to any privacy and data protection regulations within their industry.

Each shopper's transaction history can be included in such a customer database. These details allow employees to create personalized offers for clients based on what they've bought in the past.

"By recording information on customers' product searches, information requests and purchases, you can also build a detailed picture of individual customers' product preferences, purchasing history and future buying potential," Linton wrote.

Top benefits of business databases
Databases can provide more than an easily searchable range of information. In an enterprise setting, databases enable a reduction in complexity, noted Quintify. As the resource provides a navigable and accessible reservoir of company information, employees can easily check on the status of a project, a customer or campaign, and reduce time wasted tracking connected items down individually.

"With a good database, everyone knows where to find the information they need at the moment they need it," Quintify pointed out.

Such availability of data can also foster more impactful decision-making on the part of business leaders. Tracking employee activities, ongoing projects, customer purchases and other important processes is much easier with all the associated information on hand in one location.

Such a resource can offer a built-in investment for the company as well.

"Not only does a database provide immediate ROI, but also adds to the long-term financial value of your business - it's an awesome investment," Quintify stated.

However, all these benefits are only actionable when the database is available across the company. This is especially important for organizations with several locations as the database must be accessible for employees in each office. With robust database hosting services from Hostway, all of the business's important resources will always be on and always available, ensuring that all the advantages databases offer can be leveraged by the organization.

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