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  • lancelotrussell wrote:

    [...] 

    Oliver- 

    I'm absolutely ready to learn and maintain. Obviously I would run countless tests and demos before going live with the system. I would document everything I do not intend on leaving as my family has had ties to this company for 15 years. However I would try to document everything i could and be as transparent with the application development/sql as possible so anybody qualified to do the work could follow afterwards. 

    I think everyone here is just trying to make sure you really know what you let yourself in for.

    As you say yourself, you're not just replacing the backend database. You also need to develop a new frontend.

    You're basically doing software development, which is a large job and usually carried out by a team of people.

    However, we don't know the scale of your project, so it might be absolutely tiny and a great opportunity for you to learn new skills on the job.

    On the other hand, from what you've posted so far, it does sound like you're planning to develop a new system that is quite complex and very critical to the business. So it's a huge responsibility and a huge project - probably bigger than you'd like to admit at the moment.

    I'd put together a scope analysis first of all. Ideally you also want to estimate how long it'll take, but as you don't know about GUI development, you won't be able to estimate - at least not reliably.

    So, just step back and have good think about it all. It's possible to do in-house development, but it's not simple. :)

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    7 Replies

    • lancelotrussell wrote:

      [...] I've never done the GUI side or inserting data from scales/rf guns. [...]

      That bit right there would worry me.

      It's the age old question: does a business develop something in-house, which is going to do exactly what they want, won't cost anything (other than salary of the person developing it, plus maybe a little infrastructure), but takes a long time to develop and a lot of effort to maintain - or does a business get a third-party to supply a product that's available now, but costs through the nose and doesn't quite do what the business wants, or maybe does more than the business needs?

      So, are you ready to develop something, learn the things you don't know yet (GUI, data import), and are you then prepared to maintain the system you created? What happens if/when you leave the business?

      Spice (1) flagReport
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    • A database is just a thing that stores data.  It is not the application that you use or that matters.  What you are talking about here is an application, not a database.  Really, even for IT pros, we should almost never talk about databases.  They are "under the hood" components.  Yes, once in a while we have to install or even manage a big database management system, like SQL Server or MariaDB, but that's just setting up the server.  After that, they pretty much manage themselves. 

      Databases don't have GUIs, don't interact with users, etc.  And you don't drive decision making from the database.  You build applications that you need and pick a database system that supports the applicaion's needs.

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    • Is it expensive compared to building your own?

      How vital is this database?

      24x7 operation?

      How complex is it? 

      Data sizes?

      Licensing costs? If the solution as built relies on, for example, MS SQL Server Enterprise Edition buying those licenses aren't cheap (from memory starting at about $28k). 

      Capabilities of on-site staff - do you have a team of people who can bring this database from a backup at 3.40am on Christmas day (if required and if your current support contract covers this).

      Development time? Migration from the old platform to the new?

      Ongoing support and development? - Need onsite staff who can develop the database as the company develops and also the age of bug fixing issues.

      All of these are costs that can be easily missed and make that expensive support contract cheap. There are likely others that I am missing but a few ideas and questions from the top of my head.

      Spice (1) flagReport
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    • lancelotrussell wrote:

      Where should I go from here?
      Honestly, classes.  What you want to do is great, but you are not ready to be doing it.  But that's fine, everyone has to start somewhere.  But you are at a level where you aren't even sure what questions to ask or what to call the thing that you want to do.  You should look at some training classes on programming and databases (separate things.)  Understanding what an application is, how it works, what a database is, how they can relate to each other, etc. is the first step. 

      It's a major undertaking and means that the business will rely on your decisions now and your ability to support this application possibly for decades to come.  I'd not do this casually.

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    • I would put in a bit of time researching what is already out there in the industry.  There are definitely times that bespoke software makes sense.  But not many. 
      Spice (2) flagReport
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    • Scott- I appreciate your worth to these forums however i will have to respectfully disagree with your opinions. Just because all your opinions come from assumptions in form as statements do not make them accurate. 

      Absolutely the database would have to be redone from scratch and uploaded with our data. Especially since I am combining 3 for interoperability like the original post states. I absolutely admit I know very little about the side of creating a GUI a little bit but i'm sure I could learn and put it into affect in a matter of months (without wasting time on school..)

      The interface isn't bad for the users but the outside company has overextended its reach trying to do custom mods for each customer.

      Richard- 

      Is it expensive compared to building your own?
      We probably spend around 50k + a year for support/ modifications

      How vital is this database?
      Very Vital it tracks our records for inventory sales accounting...

      24X7 operation?

      It would need to be up for about 2080 hours a year. Could be taken down for maintenance  

      Licensing costs?

      we already own the servers and CALS 

      Capabilities of on-site staff d(o you have a team of people who can bring this database from a backup at 3.40am on Christmas day)  

      Backups no problem. 

      Development time? Migration from the old platform to the new?

      Development time depending on if the company wants to let me work from home for half days anywhere from 1month to 4months. Migration would be easy I can query the data export and import it.

      Ongoing support and development?  

      This is my #1 concern I can document the processes as i do them however will the boss be able or unafraid to make changes if i were to be seriously injured or killed I can't say. 

      Oliver- 

      I'm absolutely ready to learn and maintain. Obviously I would run countless tests and demos before going live with the system. I would document everything I do not intend on leaving as my family has had ties to this company for 15 years. However I would try to document everything i could and be as transparent with the application development/sql as possible so anybody qualified to do the work could follow afterwards. 

      Spice (1) flagReport
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    • lancelotrussell wrote:

      [...] 

      Oliver- 

      I'm absolutely ready to learn and maintain. Obviously I would run countless tests and demos before going live with the system. I would document everything I do not intend on leaving as my family has had ties to this company for 15 years. However I would try to document everything i could and be as transparent with the application development/sql as possible so anybody qualified to do the work could follow afterwards. 

      I think everyone here is just trying to make sure you really know what you let yourself in for.

      As you say yourself, you're not just replacing the backend database. You also need to develop a new frontend.

      You're basically doing software development, which is a large job and usually carried out by a team of people.

      However, we don't know the scale of your project, so it might be absolutely tiny and a great opportunity for you to learn new skills on the job.

      On the other hand, from what you've posted so far, it does sound like you're planning to develop a new system that is quite complex and very critical to the business. So it's a huge responsibility and a huge project - probably bigger than you'd like to admit at the moment.

      I'd put together a scope analysis first of all. Ideally you also want to estimate how long it'll take, but as you don't know about GUI development, you won't be able to estimate - at least not reliably.

      So, just step back and have good think about it all. It's possible to do in-house development, but it's not simple. :)

      Was this post helpful? thumb_up thumb_down

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