Access: Problem or Solution for the Enterprise?

A lot of well-run enterprises have a big investment in Microsoft Access.  And why not?  MS-Access empowers business-users to extract (or even collect) data and perform all sorts of manipulations on the data.  


For example, a bank loan officer might track information about how her loans are originated – where her customers come from, how they heard about her services, what type of load they finally qualify for, etc.  This is great information for the loan officer which can make her a lot more successful in her job.  Imagine, for example, that she learns that a small ad she’s placed in a local community newspaper brings in more qualified customers than a big ad in the city paper.  She could then reallocate her advertisement dollars towards the community paper because of an educated guess that she’ll see even better results.


But what’s an enterprise to do when every loan officer in every branch office uses the same MS-Access application every day?  A tiny little local application isn’t important to the overall health of a big enterprise.  But a tiny little local application that’s used by hundreds or thousands of employees is hugely important.  And anything that important is worth promoting and protecting – with backups, centralized data, rollup reports, and so forth.  But those sorts of measures are expensive and time consuming.  


So what do you think about the situation – is this a solution for a big enterprise or is this a problem?  Does it make the enterprise more capable or does it inhibit the enterprise in some way. 


Or is it a mix?  Does it empower the enterprise until it grows to big for its own good?  If this is the case, what’s your opinion about upsizing from MS-Access to SQL Server?  Is this a good approach or a bad one, and why?  


The Microsoft provides some information at;en-us;237980 about upsizing from MS-Access to SQL Server.  It’s not a very difficult process if you only have to upsize a single small application.  But I doubt this approach would work if you have to upsize a lot of applications.  


So if you have any experience upsizing from Access to SQL Server, I’d like to hear your thoughts about the upsizing tool.  







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