Bespoke Database Design and Data Projects

All companies generate data. If the company employs staff there are employee records and HR information. Customer contact, quotes and sales must be recorded. Purchasing and supplier information must be kept track of and prices monitored. And of course a company’s financial records need to be meticulous.

For a small business, keeping track of this kind of data is often paper- or spreadsheet-based. This can be a huge drain on administrative resources, as well as allowing human error to creep in resulting in data not being properly recorded or reported on.

Every businsess that needs even a moderate amount of data to be recorded – and requires effective reporting on its raw data – will need a database solution that allows for accurate data entry, preservation of the data’s integrity, and the generation of intelligent, clear reports.

At Manta Projects, our aim is to help you save money by streamlining your data capture process and providing you with insightful business reports – at an affordable price.

Our solutions are known for their user-friendliness and interface simplicity, as well as their effectiveness in reducing time taken on data capture and reporting.

Contact Manta Projects…

…to find out how we can help you reduce your data input errors, minimize the time you spend on administrative tasks and better interpret the data you have collected.

Data Projects

In addition to database design, we also receive requests to help clarify and organise raw data stored in Microsoft Excel. Excel is a popular and very powerful data manipulation tool used by many businesses, but sometimes it becomes cumbersome and overloaded with so much raw data that it becomes confusing to work with.

We can tailor your Excel workbook, helping you organise and make sense of your raw data. Here are a few examples of how we can do that:

Set up PivotTables

PivotTables are an interactive way of effectively summarizing and presenting data. Using a PivotTable, you can create multidiensional views from large amounts of data, allowing you to extract meaningful information to help guide you in your business decisions.

For example:

You have a list of sales by date, product and sales person. By creating a PivotTable you can:

  • Show the monthly sales figures for each product along with product and month totals for the period
  • Show the monthly sales figures for each sales person along with sales person and month totals for the period
  • Filter out the information you don’t want to view
  • Group products into product categories and view either the total figures for the category or the individual product figures
  • Show monthly sales in Rands and compare it to the number of orders taken
  • Change the order of (sort) any of the columns to show highest to lowest figure
  • Use a function in another workbook to look up a summary figure (e.g. Craig’s sales of yellow lifejackets in July).

Set up Charts

Charts are an effective way of graphically displaying data over time. Instead of showing your raw data in a presentation, rather convert the figures to a chart, making it much easier to see patterns and interpret trends.

Implement Automation Routines

Macros allow you to automate a task or set of tasks that you perform repeatedly. A macro is a recording of a series of commands that can be replayed whenever you need to perform the task.

For example:

You often need to apply bold formatting to a range of cells, then run a spell check and print your worksheet to a non-default printer. A macro can be created to do this, and accessed either by clicking a command button that is placed on the worksheet, or else through a keyboard shortcut, such as Ctrl+J.

Macros can be further tailored to perform much more complex routines. This is done by creating code in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). VBA is the coding language that resides behind all Microsoft Office programs, and it allows users to take the program’s abilities to the next level.

For example:

You run a direct sales cosmetics company, using independent agents to sell your products. Every month the Sales department sends you a workbook showing that month’s sales by agent. You need to calculate commissions due, issue commissions statements and populate an overall commissions table for the given financial year.

VBA can be used to:

  • Create a new worksheet in the Commissions workbook using a Commissions template
  • Rename the worksheet to the current month
  • Pull the sales data from the most recent sales workbook and populate the newly created worksheet
  • Create a Commission Statement in PDF format for each agent
  • Email the Commission Statement to each agent
  • Populate the overall commissions worksheet with this month’s data

All this…at the click of a single button!

Build User Forms for Data Entry

Excel’s grid-like interface is not always the most user-friendly way of entering lots of data. Instead, you can create user forms that allow users to enter data into discreet fields. User forms are particularly powerful when combined with VBA.

For example:

You have three people entering sales data.

  • Create a logon form that automatically opens when the workbook is opened
  • When users log on, one or other form is displayed, based on their logon type: the SuperUser’s form allows them to see reports; the StandardUser’s form only allows them to enter data
  • New records can be created by clicking a button
  • The Salesperson field is a drop-down box that lists all of the salespeople
  • Inputted data can be validated, e.g. product codes must be 8 characters
  • The user can confirm or cancel an entry by clicking a button

Contact Manta Projects to find out how we can help you work more effectively with your Excel-based raw data.