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Before we can start building our database, we need to plan it out. No matter how much enthusiasm you have for building your database to organize your business, you can't just jump in and start typing, then make corrections later. All of the components are interlaced, and the more time you spend in the beginning planning and designing, the less frustration you'll have later, or worse, the less work you'll have to redo. Plan ahead. What information can you imagine ever needing to collect, even if you're not using it now: customer referral sources for marketing, additional details about the product.
The more you build in from the start the less back-filling you'll need to do later. Let's take a look at the project for this course. TwoTreesOliveOil. What information do we need to track? Customers, Sales Reps, Products, and Orders. Next, what information do we need about each one? It's helpful to write these out on paper, or in a Word document. Think about the relationships within the data. How will you put one set of information into another? Then examine what kind of end results you'd like to see: an order form to take customer orders that automatically recognizes our products, a report of what products sold best, which customers sold the most, and reports for your sales reps, everything from contact information to how much money they made to company.
These are just a sample of the analysis we'll do on our own data. But as you think about these questions for your own project, be sure to include all the fields you'll need to generate these types of reports. Planning ahead can be over half the work in developing a database solution for your company.
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