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A Database for a Small Business

Discussion in 'Databases' started by gm10, May 5, 2019.

  1. #1
    In a few words. It's a small (local contractor) business. We have thousands of invoices on Google Drive, but don't have customer database. We want one, and want it to be on the cloud - on our cloud. We have our site hosted on VPS with MySQL available. The account has plenty of resources for a database in a subdirectory or a subdomain.

    We expect to continue using the existing hosted elsewhere email. It won't be connected to the database. All archives will continue staying on Google Drive. Each database record will have a link to the related folder in the Google Drive. It will keep the database as light as possible.

    The database itself should be something like a doctor's database. To keep customers' contacts, appointments, notes, yearly checkups, etc. Except we'd like to have it on the cloud, so it can be easily accessed from any connected device, including mobile.
    SEMrush
    Where to start? Where to look for developers? How much it might cost and how long it would take? I guess we need what is called a front end. What else? Is there software that I could do it myself?

    Your input is greatly appreciated in advance
     
    gm10, May 5, 2019 IP
    SEMrush
  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #2
    You'll be able to get a long way with just a tech-savvy person who can follow instructions.

    Essentially you want a CRM (customer relationship management software) and there are loads of them. Find one that looks ok, install it, play around and be prepared to start over if it's no good.

    Probably the only thing that might be "interesting" is the link to Google drive but I would expect to be able to add that via a plugin or setting pretty easily. Storing docs at Drive, Dropbox etc is hardly new.

    Which came first... the chicken or the egg?

    Do you pick your CRM and then find someone to customise it? or do you find someone you trust and go with the CRM that they are experienced with?

    Do you get someone local who you can meet up with and who understands the nuances of Canadian business? or do you go offshore where you get more bang for your buck?

    There's no right answer to that and you may get further in the discussion with your new tech person if you can show that you've done some homework and know what you do and don't like about some of the well-known systems out there. For instance you might really like zoho but it's not self-hosted, or you might not like the user interface on a different one but like how easy it is to add custom data.

    How long will it take?

    You won't know this until you've picked your CRM and identified what it doesn't do.

    If it's just configuring it might be a few hours. If it's a big job then you could be looking at weeks.

    You may have a shopping list of requirements and go for the "quick wins" just to get started and invest more heavily in customisations once you're up and running and have proven that it's the right CRM for your business.

    oh, and FWIW Doctors records are kept in the cloud too.
     
    sarahk, May 5, 2019 IP
  3. gm10

    gm10 Peon

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    #3
    Sarah,

    Thank you very much for your detailed reply.

    I was afraid to use that acronym - CRM. :) Any CRM would have many features that I don't need and will never use. It would only get worse over the time. Interestingly, you said "might really like zoho". I chose ZOHO email, when I needed to switch from the email client to a hosted email. ZOHO was a small Indian unknown company at the time. Their hosted email had only folders and search. A thing of beauty. I loved it after struggling with the infamous "email with a learning curve". Now ZOHO has streams, tags, views. Hell knows what it is and how many people REALLY need it. But they shoved it down my throat nevertheless. Same will happen to CRM. I'd love it now and gladly have it hosted. But ZOHO would find a way to ruin everything with new features in the future. I'd rather spend time and money now, but have it as simple as possible and not changing in the future. Sorry for the rant. ZOHO caused it. :)

    Best
     
    gm10, May 6, 2019 IP
  4. DriveSoft

    DriveSoft Member

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    #4
    Check out http://myvisualdatabase.com/ it's support MySQL.
     
    DriveSoft, May 31, 2019 IP
  5. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #5
    @DriveSoft how well does it fit with the OP's requirements?
     
    sarahk, May 31, 2019 IP
  6. mmerlinn

    mmerlinn Notable Member

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    #6
    You are dreaming. Any application that you find WILL go the way of ZOHO in the future. That is the ONLY way they can keep generating cash flow.

    So, the only real solution, and probably NOT a very good one for you, is to design and program YOUR OWN database managing software to do exactly what you want to do and NOTHING more. Big plus is that you have TOTAL control - if you need more features, you can add them. Big minuses are writing the program and learning how to write it.

    I had a similar problem decades ago. I learned how to program and wrote my own database managing software. When I don't like something, I simply change it. I am not at the mercy of some bored IT tech deciding to reinvent the wheel and destroy the usefulness of an application that I am using. Today my program manages my database and the 14,000 plus webpages that I generate from that database.
     
    mmerlinn, Jun 1, 2019 IP
  7. c4cyber

    c4cyber Well-Known Member

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    #7
    Try Guru, or upwork
    Just post your description there, and in a few minutes, bids will start to flow in.
    You can check for the reviews, previous profile to find the right developer.
    Hire an agency if you have the budget.
     
    c4cyber, Jun 8, 2019 IP