Choosing the Best Database Designers
Hiring a database designer can be daunting for many small businesses: if you're not a database expert yourself, it is difficult to know how to evaluate the individuals and firms you're considering. The best database designers focus on understanding your particular business needs and translating those into the final product.
The most important step in establishing a successful database is to be clear about your goals from the start. Knowing that you need a sales database or a database to track customer orders and inventory is not enough. Before you talk to a single designer, create a basic outline of your needs:
- What information does the database need to store?
- Does your database need to be on site, or can it be remote or cloud-linked?
- What other systems does it need to connect to?
- Is your information sensitive? Do you need security measures incorporated?
- How quickly will it grow? Does your database need to be scalable?
- Who will use the database and where are they located?
- What types of actions will users need to perform? Edits, approvals, sorting?
- What kinds of reports will you need? How customizable will they have to be?
A detailed plan will help you find the best database designer for your project.
How to Find the Best Database Designers
After you decide what you're looking for, you're ready to start evaluating database designers.
Once you have several database designers on your radar, it's time to prepare for interviews. It's usually best to conduct in-person interviews since you'll be working closely with the designer and you want to make sure to choose someone you feel comfortable working with.
The best database designers emphasize communication. When you talk to potential designers, pay attention to how they describe their design process, and how well they communicate with you during the development phases.
Some questions to ask during your interviews:
- How long have you been designing databases?
- Have you created databases for other businesses like mine?
- What database programs do you work with?
- Are you located near me? Would you be able to send technicians to my office?
- How quickly can you respond if the database has a problem?
- Will we be able to make changes to the database code if necessary?
- Do you provide training for our employees who will use the database?
- Is technical support included in the installation, or is that a separate cost?
The answers to these questions will help you determine which company is the best database designer for your project.
Consider the Short Run and the Long Haul
Finally, while price shouldn't be your only deciding factor, it is a very important consideration. Instead of just looking at the bottom line, compare the goods and services included in each estimate. Look for charges that are included in some proposals and omitted in others as an indication of what types of charges might pop up later.
Technical support and maintenance are universal issues associated with the upkeep of a database. It is important to know what is going to happen to your information when your data storage needs change or in the event of a problem, and to have steps in place to prevent mishaps.
Some topics to consider regarding support and maintenance:
- Is your database easily upgradeable as your business grows?
- Does your technical support include performance analytics and optimization?
- Is your database backed up automatically?
- What happens in case of server failure?
- Is technical support available 24/7/365?
- Does your designer provide patches for glitches? Does it cost extra?
- Are there separate costs for data transfers?
Database designers may bill you a single fee for the entire job, or an hourly rate based on the time involved. Maintenance plans are often priced on an ongoing monthly basis, separate from the installation fees. Prices vary widely, depending on the designer and the size and needs of your database, so make sure you're clear on the proposed payment plan.
Don't hesitate to go back and ask a designer for clarification either. The best database designers will provide detailed estimates that outline your total costs, and will be happy to provide more detail.Ready to Compare Database Design Price Quotes?