9 Database Models for Writing a Strategy Statement
Integrating Information Technology
Integrating information technology should be a significant part of an organization's overall mission. Information systems should be incorporated into the mission and strategy statements. A specific objective might include the expansion of information technology across all work silos.
Educational institutions likely have made some of the more significant progress in incorporating information technology to increase and enhance distant learning as well as other important areas such as communication and Internet presence. Texas Tech University includes these quantifiable goals: “Create a secure wireless network to serve at least 50% of campus. Expand the number of technology-enabled classrooms by 100%. Provide 25% of all Internet services through portable devices.” A goal to increase student achievement might be accomplished by the increased use of technology.
Goal setting and mission statements are the basic foundation that helps motivate employees to achieve common objectives. There is a need to develop strategies that point team members in the right direction. Berkowitz (2011) says that, “In general, a strategy statement should contain the following elements: publics, logic, communication channel, type of medium, [and] timing.” A well written strategy supports the objectives and outcomes that the organization is striving to achieve.
Greater Profit Margin
The use of information technology (IT) by many organizations has increased dramatically over recent years. Databases help an organization store, retrieve, manipulate and print information with increased speed and accuracy. This increased efficiency helps organizations to enjoy a greater profit margin.
Murphy (2006) says that making use of information technology can help you, “Avoid duplication of effort, save you time [and] money, make you more efficient, introduce staffing economies and ultimately increase your profit.” Increasing the profit margin as well as improving staff efficiency are common goals for organizations. Are they the goals of your organization?
9 Database Models
Consider these nine database models: (1) Hierarchical, (2) Network, (3) Relational, (4) Object/Relational, (5) Object/Oriented, (6) Semi-structured, (7) Associated, (8) Entity attribute value, and (9) Context.
How might an organization go about choosing the most appropriate database type?
Sabastian's Relational Database Theory
According to Paragon (2005), “The most common kind of database used for structured applications is the relational database which is partitioned into tables.” If an organization chooses the relational database model, then designing tables will be the next step.
Sebastian (2005) says one should consider appropriate naming conventions that limit the use of, “dashes, spaces, digits and special characters.” The author notes that the designer should also, “avoid language mix-ups…use consistent table naming and give them a technical primary key.” Sebastian discusses the relational database theory and identifies ways to setup a “one-to-many relationship” structure. “You need a policy for many-to-many relationships too.”
A thorough understanding of the components of a relational database gives the designer a competitive edge.
Are you happy with your organization's database?
Choosing a Database
It is important to consider five key components during the planning and setup phase of the database design stage. Duffy (2000) states that the components of a database plan should include, “an executive summary, implementation plan, hardware/software purchase plan and needs, staffing recommendations, training recommendations and data/information flow (where/how data moves through your agency).”
Which database you will use? Who will build the database? Who will maintain the database?
Example: Table Naming in Relational Database
The user might set out to design some basic forms and reports. Microsoft Office software products are very commonly used by many corporations and non-profit organizations. Simple tables can be designed in either Excel or Access. One might first choose to begin in Excel and follow the suggestions outlined above by Sebastian.
Once the tables are designed in Excel, the user can import them into Access. At this point, the names of the tables and the identification of primary keys can be modified as needed. There are built-in help features which allow a person with a basic understanding of computers to design forms with radio dials and fields with dropdown menus.
Before a user is able to make any meaningful reports or forms, data modeling should be conducted. It is important because it points the designer in the right direction for setting up the appropriate tables. The business design needs to be studied and then matched with the model that is most applicable. Work silos can be identified and their relationships studied. A relational database is appropriate across many organizational structures.
A diagram helps to depict the relationships of the data being modeled. Chaple, (2011) says an entity-relationship (ER) diagram is, “A specialized graphic that illustrates the interrelationships between entities in a database. ER diagrams often use symbols to represent three different types of information. Boxes are commonly used to represent entities. Diamonds are normally used to represent relationships and ovals are used to represent attribute.”
IBM describes an entity as, “a principal data object that is of significant interest to the user. It is usually a person, place, thing, or event to be recorded in the database. If the data model were a language, entities would be nouns” (IBM, 2005). The IBM guide also discusses attributes. “Entities contain attributes, which are characteristics or modifiers, qualities, amounts, or features. An attribute is a fact or non-decomposable piece of information about an entity. Later, when you represent an entity as a table, its attributes are added to the model as new columns.”
Entity Relationship Diagram
High quality information technology should be incorporated into all aspects of a given organization. IT systems should be more user-friendly. Using Microsoft Office software products might be replaced or enhanced by voice recognition systems that design an appropriate database by oral command. Databases should be complex enough to capture all relevant data yet be intuitive for the end-user.
Berkowitz, D. (2011). How to write a strategy statement. Retrieved online.
Chaple,M. (2011). Entity-relationship diagram. Report of the DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative. Appendix D. Retrieved from: http://databases.about.com/cs/specificproducts/g/er.htm
Duffy, M. (2000). Avoiding disaster: The database planning process. Save money, time, and resources with a good database plan. TechSoup Global.
IBM (2005). IBM informix database design and implementation guide. IBM Informix Dynamic Server Enterprise and Workgroup Edition.
Murphy, C. (2006). Avoid duplication of effort, use technology, increase profit. The Social Programmer. Retrieved from: http://www.craigmurphy.com/blog/?p=215
Paragon Corporation. (2005). Choosing the right database (relational). Retrieved from: http://www.paragoncorporation.com/ITConsumerGuide.aspx?ArticleID=1
Sebastian, (2005). Database design guide. Smart IT Consulting Services. Retrieved from: http://www.smart-it-consulting.com/database/progress-database-design-guide/
TexasTechUniversity (2001). Information technology division: Strategic plan. Retrieved from: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/infotech/strat/it.pdf
UnixSpace (n.d.). Database models. Retrieved from: http://www.unixspace.com/context/databases.html