Most businesses deal with a massive amount of information every single day. And, regardless of size or industry, it’s absolutely essential that you have the right tools in place to efficiently deal with and organise all the customer data. This is where SQL comes in. Welcome to our stress-free introduction to SQL for small businesses.
What is SQL?
Let’s start with the basics.
SQL, which is short for Structured Query Language, is a programming language that can let you access a database and acquire information. This information can be about products, stocks and orders, or people. SQL is used by businesses not only for storing information but also for retrieving and manipulating data.
Does it sound complicated? Well, imagine that this programming language works pretty much like your favourite social media app.
When you create a profile for your social media page, you must first share some information about yourself. After this, you can add more information about your friends by connecting with them. All this data is then stored in the app. However, since there’s so much information on your profile – and add to the fact that both you and your friends regularly update your posts – a simple database will never be able to hold such a large amount of information. So, a database management system is needed.
Once the database is created, the programmers will access your data by using SQL, which is basically the lingua franca of the database world. By using SQL, the programmers can pull up your data whenever you need it. You see, a database is pretty much like a library system. The librarian will create a list of the books available and include information such as title, author, genre, languages, and book ID. With these data available, the librarian can easily find the book you’re asking for.
And that’s basically how SQL works. It helps make the retrieval, sorting and analysing of data easier.
What is a Relational Database Software?
We cannot talk about SQL without touching upon relational databases.
These solutions work similar to a deposit box, only with a twist: the data stored in these systems are structured. As the information is stored in tables, in columns and rows, the only way businesses can access it is through a query language that’s compatible with the tables. And this is where SQL comes in.
Structured Query Language has clauses and statements that are intended specifically for understanding structured information in relational databases. Thanks to this, users are able to pull out data from different tables at the same time. Why should you use relational databases?
- They are accurate: As such, there are no redundant data stored
- They are flexible: Even the most complicated queries will be easy to perform
- They are collaborative: It allows multiple users to pull out information from the same database at the same time
- They are secure: Access to the data in the tables is limited to specific users only, meaning that you’re guaranteed its security and safety.
Which Relational Databases are Popular?
Oracle Database 12c
Aside from the basic features, Oracle Database 12c also automates server and data management. It’s also compatible with the three major operating systems: macOS, Windows, and Linux.
This open-source database is developed by Oracle and is trusted by big brands such as Facebook, Adobe and Google. MySQL is free for both businesses and individuals. It’s particularly recommended for start-ups and small businesses as it doesn’t require you to purchase a license fee.
This relational database is not only one of the most popular, but it’s also the one that’s highest-ranked. Users love Microsoft SQL support for query language, and it’s fully compatible with both Linux and Windows operating systems.
Microsoft SQL is perfect for Windows-run web servers, as well as for consumer software.
Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
This cloud-based relational database is easy to set up and use. It’s recommended for its exceptional cloud budgeting, security, and monitoring tools. While it’s not Amazon’s most popular product, it’s still a pretty robust solution.
Why Your Small Business Should Use SQL
Why do most modern businesses use SQL?
Well, it’s rather simple: companies can benefit from SQL because it’s created specifically for your database management needs. In the world of Big Data, businesses just like yours must be able to process large volumes of data every single day. And tools like SQL, and someone trained in SQL programming, can ensure that dealing with complicated data queries will be as easy as possible.
And SQL can be beneficial regardless of the industry you operate in. Many companies operating in the banking or fintech industry often deal with sensitive customer information, meaning that they are fully dependent on a database solution with strict security compliance. However, it’s also considered a proper advantage for Spotify and other similar applications. Since all the music is stored within various databases, Spotify must sort through its vast data catalogue every single time you ask for something specific. With SQL, they can easily navigate through the databases without first sorting through tons of irrelevant data.
But I’m not like Spotify, you might say, so do I still need SQL for my small business?
Well, the thing is: if you’re dealing with data, you will most likely benefit from SQL. And the good news is that most businesses find SQL easy to work with. Although it can be a bit of a challenge to set up, it’s still much easier to understand than many other programming languages. Essentially, SQL will make many data tasks much easier to complete, while also ensuring efficiency and proper organisation of data.
SQL makes the complicated simple. And it can make database management as easy as a walk in the park.