We are currently using a MsOffice Access database for our company jobs lists and reporting for the last 15 years. We need to replace this system with something more stable for larger amounts of data, which has the following capabilities:

  • Loading our customers and customer information This need to include prices for each client for different inventory items - pricing only visible for management level users.

  • Loading our suppliers Including supplier costs (to be able to calculate profit on each job based on charge to client) (Eg. Supplier charges R5000 for transportation of goods to KZN Province, client is billed R7500 -
    therefore profit on jobNr 001 is R2500

  • Job Cards / Authorization lists Each job completed for each client is linked to an authorization or job number - all details pertaining to this job are captured here (each job is linked to a customer as well as which supplier completed this job) - documents need to be able to be scanned in and linked to each completed job

  • Job status go from "requested" to "in process" to "awaiting docs" to "completed" at which time it would be sent for invoicing.

  • Various reporting necessary including: client reporting for invoices to be issued

  • Supplier reporting - to cross check invoices from suppliers

  • Profit reports (client charges less supplier costs)

  • Jobs Requested, jobs still in process, jobs awaiting documentation

Please kindly provide any software or platform suggestions which could allow us to develop a type of system which can be used by our main office as well as at our one other branch.

Perhaps something similar to msAccess but more stable and with the ability of being loaded in a web browser to allow for off site capturing etc?

  • It's been many years since I used it, but you might check out Filemaker Pro. claris.com/filemaker
    – Eric S
    Nov 13 '20 at 15:34
  • If your existing MS Access application provides the functionality you require and your issues with it are just around stability and data capacity (i.e. 2GB limit, ongoing need for Compact & Repair), I would suggest looking into keeping the front end as MS Access and migrating the backend to an SQL database (probably SQL Server would be the simplest migration, as the Migration Assistant can do most of the work for you). This would address both those issues for the least cost and disruption. (Note: I have done this many times for just these reasons). Nov 18 '20 at 7:04

It's expensive, but a custom web application with a robust database backend may be what you need to meet your fairly specific needs, as well as the scale of your data. The Access database could be migrated to SQL Server using SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access and the business logic would have to be replicated in a web app (the obvious choice being a .NET app, but by no means the only choice).

I mention SQL Server because the migration assistant makes it reletively easy to migrate database schema and the data itself during development and when the time comes to make the switch and go live, but other relational database management systems (RDBMS) could be used.

I don't know of any off-the-shelf or "as-a-service" solutions that would meet your needs (you could look into customizing a CRM system perhaps) but that doesn't mean there aren't any, my area of expertise is custom software development.

  • 1
    thank you for your feedback. I think with my msAccess background SQL Server would not be too much of a learning curve, however am unsure about something like a .NET app - in your opinion would that be something which can be learnt well enough in a short time to compile such a system or would you recommend rather finding a customizable CRM? any possible WYSIWYG type .NET app front end builders which you perhaps know of? thanks again for the help Nov 13 '20 at 9:35
  • 2
    @user2502658 I don't know of any WYSIWYG tools and if there are any I'm doubtful that they would allow you to handle any complex business logic. Customizing a CRM may provide an easier starting point, but you'd still need to learn a new system in order to customize it - the more complex the customization, the more likely you'll need to write code anyway. Learning to build a web app from scratch with .NET is doable, but to do it right would be quite a time investment. A business large enough to outgrow Access should probably be looking to hire a company or individual with the necessary skills. Nov 13 '20 at 14:24
  • I don't know your exact situation, but that's my take. Nov 13 '20 at 14:24

We have setup Microsofts product line for our clients to replace Access. You could either utilize sharepoint, or a better option visually, the Common Data Service. It is not too expensive depending on how many users you have. I believe $35/m for one user to set up everything, and then at least $4 for each user that needs access to this data to make edits.

For the most part it is the same concept but without really having design the look of the input screen


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