Accessing the data of a business
Description of problem


The aim for this coursework is to design a new system for an estate agent called Folly\'s agents. The database will be designed to hold information about the properties such as number of bedrooms, garden size, price etc. Currently the company is using a filing cabinet to keep the current data, this takes up a lot of space and it is hard for the workers to access or amend the information.


I will need to design a solution for this problem, my system has to be fast and easy to use, the information should be clear and easy to change. I will need to find out how the workers are currently using their system and I will need to see if the new one will be easier and faster.


Investigation


I arranged to meet the owner of Folly\'s agents, so that I could find out how they keep their files and records at this present moment. I want to see how they change, search or add any information. I want to know what they need for their system.


Feasibility study


Advantages


∑ Computers are very accurate.


∑ Computers can work continuously 24 hours a day.


∑ Less paperwork involved, it is all stored and easily accessible from the computer.


∑ Low risk of data being erased as it can be stored on various backups.


∑ Not a lot of energy is needed to get data, this saves time and is efficient.


∑ Data can easily be presented in tables, graphs etc.


∑ Changes and corrections can be performed at the touch of a button.


∑ Validation check minimises the chance of any errors.


Disadvantages


∑ The hardware and software can be very expensive.


∑ Employees will need to be trained regarding usage of the computer.


∑ If the computer crashes or there is a power cut, access to data in the computer is lost.


Introduction


The company currently files all the information about the houses that are for sale or rent. They are all organised by the area that they are in. If any customer inquires about buying a house but doesn\'t specify the are but sets other criteria then all the files have to be studied to find a house meeting the criteria set. If information about the area is given then it is a bit easier because only houses in that area have to be searched. Searching for the right houses can take hours because a lot of files have to be searched. House prices are constantly changing and it isn\'t possible for the company to manually change the prices for each house. When inquires for a house which has to be between a certain price range is made, many houses cannot be made available because the current price hasn\'t been updated and the latest price may be out of range. The company is losing a lot of business because it takes a long time to find the right properties for the buyers, the company also needs to employ many extra staff because excessive manual work is required.


Analysis


This is my interview with the owner of \'Folly\'s agents\'


How long have you had your own business for?


Along with my brothers I have been running this business for 18 years now.


What does your business involve?


We collect information of properties that are for sale and when enquiries are made for properties, we search for the properties satisfying the criteria set.


How do you keep a record of the properties, and how do you change the information?


All the information is written on paper and is put into cabinets. The filing cabinets are sorted according to different areas, if any information needs to be changed then one of the staff will have to do it manually.


What do you do when you receive an inquiry for properties?


This depends on whether the area has been specified by the customer, if it has then we find the properties in that area with the required criteria. If the area hasn\'t been specified then all the areas have to be looked at to find a property matching that specification. This can take a lot of time and the company is losing out, we are losing customers because our service isn\'t up to standard and at the same time I have to pay the staff for all the manual work they