I manage the IT Operations for a UK based Recruitment Agency. We have about 40 employees. Our main business system/CRM runs on a MS Access front-end connecting to on-prem MS SQL Server. The front-end uses a mixture of linked tables and stored procedures to interact with the data. We use mixture of Access Reports and Reporting Services for reporting. We are doing some bits and pieces with Power BI but this is likely to increase moving forward. We have a few external services that we are connecting to via APIs to integration interfaces, not directly to the MDB file. We already have access to the Visual Studio system.

We need to migrate our front-end to a more web based/'modern' platform. We need something that is designed to work in the multi interconnected world that we now exist in, with lots of services being supplied by different providers, generally via some sort of open API. Something that has been designed from the ground up to be web based.

I appreciate this is a very broad question but what would the experts on this forum recommend as a good platform/language/framework to replace Access? We are never going to have hundreds or thousands of users but perhaps one hundred. We are currently on prem SQL Server but could move to Azure at some point...who knows.

As a sub question, if I was looking to contract someone to work for us to define that language what would their title be?

Thanks for any help you can give,

4 Answers 4


You might want to give a go to following two opensource projects which really are alternatives to MS Access:



I have used both of these for bigger clients and to their complete satisfaction.


This sounds like a perfect usecase for Django:

From the front page:

Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. Built by experienced developers, it takes care of much of the hassle of Web development, so you can focus on writing your app without needing to reinvent the wheel. It’s free and open source.

Some example sites are listed at https://djangostars.com/blog/10-popular-sites-made-on-django/ I am sure that you will have heard of one or ten of them!

  • 1
    Hi @Steve, Thanks for your suggestion. Ben
    – Ben
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 13:05

This sounds expensive and full of surprises.

My recommendation is to start by scanning the market for existing solutions. Having your own unique application might be a major competitive factor (I believe not) or making you into a software company (which I guess is not your core business). How does other companies in your sector do this?

Moving your very specific application from MS Access to a web application will take time and cost, both now and for the foreseeable future. Is this really what you want? Projects like this tends to be 3 to 10 times more expensive than expected. And it locks you in to using one or a few developers (which will find new jobs at the worst possible moment).

  • Hi @ghellquist, There are a number of 'off the shelf' options within our industry and we have looked at some of those and actually used some for specific parts of our process but have never felt it is quite as good as having our own. Especially as we work within a specific sector so you are always trying to fit their (the software provider) vision into how we do things. You do make valid points though. Thanks
    – Ben
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 13:03
  • Also have a look at a couple of open source suggestions in my answer to a related question here softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/56921/…
    – Z Z
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 7:53

We have used OutSystems with great success.

It is more like programming than not, but it is far easier than just building a raw system from scratch.

But it offers full customization and expansion abilities. You can add APIs for others and consume APIs from others.

However it is a bit expensive, though these things are relative. (One company's expensive is another's pocket change.)

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