I need to preface this by saying I'm not an IT professional, at all. I'm a data analyst at a tiny non-profit startup. Our data systems are currently stored in Excel for Mac (we all use Macs, unfortunately) and I designed them. Excel's obviously not the best way to store and manipulate complex datasets. We need a relational database system.
Since our budget is nil, I thought using an open-source system like MySQL Community Edition would be the best way to go. I like MySQL because there's many more online help resources for it versus, say, Postgresql (including online tutorials and whatnot) and it'll probably be easier to migrate our data from MySQL to advanced, proprietary (expensive) CRM systems later, when we're ready.
Right now, in our company of 12, I'm the only one who really needs to input, access, and manipulate the raw data. I'll likely set up Excel-based dashboards connected to the MySQL database for different departments to answer basic questions, and run anything different myself on an as-needed basis.
We're small and scrappy and don't have a dedicated server of our own - we use a cloud-based management system - and my coworkers are decidedly not tech-y.
So! The question is: is it feasible/advised to download MySQL for Mac OS X using a local host, and then do what I propose above? That is, a lack of a physical server shouldn't prevent connecting to the MySQL server, right? Is phpMyAdmin through XAMPP the best way to do this?
I do understand how to write SQL queries and set up the basic database schema in a way that makes sense for queries, it's just the first bit about setting up a server that gives me pause.
I'm in slightly over my head here. I'm an excellent Googler but the instructions might as well not be in English. Also I found this, but even that is a bit too high-level of a discussion for me to quite comprehend.
Any advice you have is appreciated!