Database design is the process of making a specific data model of a certain database including the various logical and physical designs and parameters. It is used in various applications such as in a customer database. Moreover, making a database design for such applications requires standards and guidelines to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency. For such reason, customer database design guidelines must be followed, be it for customer tracking or customer access and management.
There are different steps that a customer database designer must take before finally coming into completion. The steps may vary depending on the purpose or the preference of the user. Some steps may not be taken while some are required.
Generally, the step that must be followed is determining the relationship between the data elements comprising the database and using a logical structure for the data on the basis of the determined relationships. The final step usually requires determining the basic objects in which the needed information is stored. After this, the relationship between the groups of information or the basic objects is determined. These guidelines for the design process are a must not only for a customer contact database but other applications as well.
In most cases, the designer of the customer database is someone who is skilled in the database design, and not necessarily in the domain from which the data needed to be stored is drawn such as customer tracking data and customer access. For this reason, the data that must be stored can be taken from an expert in that domain.
Thus, cooperation with a person who is an expert in that domain is part of the guidelines that one must follow in determining the data to be stored. Once a database designer is aware of which information or data is to be stored in a customer database such as a sales database, inventory database or contact database, he must then determine the dependency within the data. If the data is changed, that could mean changing other data that may not be too visible.
After the relationship and dependencies among the data and information is determined, logical arrangement of data can then be done. However, it must be done in such a way that the data are arranged in a logical manner, since it will be mapped in the database management system. It can be represented by storage objects. Commonly used are rows and columns, which are oftentimes included in one table. Each table may stand for the object or relationship that joins the data and information together.
In general, the guidelines involved in the areas comprising a customer database design can also be used for other applications. However, aside from these basic guidelines, the following are also helpful to ensure the efficiency of the system.
- Each record must have a unique identification such as a primary key, a part number or a customer number. Primary key is the column utilized to maintain the unique identity of the record as compared with the other tables, especially in a relational object.
- In defining a column, it is better to use numeric values, especially if the data is to be entered in the sales database or inventory database. Aside from these general customer database design guidelines, there may be specific guidelines for the specific design that you apply for your own data base. Guidelines may vary, but see to it that you stick to the basics.