This chapter begins by discussing why you should analyze the organization's current database. You learned that the analysis helps you identify aspects of the current database that will be useful to you when you design the new database. Armed with this information, you can design a database that best suits the organization's needs. Next, we briefly looked at the two types of databases organizations commonly used:
paper-based databases and legacy databases. We ended this discussion by identifying the three steps used in the analysis process: reviewing the way data is collected, reviewing the way information is presented, and conducting interviews with the organization's staff.
The chapter continues with a discussion of the review process. You learned how to review the ways the organization collects its data and how to assemble a set of data-collection samples. Then you learned how to review the ways the organization presents information and how to assemble a set of report samples.
Next, we discussed the process you use to conduct interviews, and you learned why interviews are useful at this stage of the design process. During this discussion you learned two techniques that are crucial to the success of interviews: the subject-identification technique and the characteristic-identification technique.
Conducting user interviews was the next subject of discussion. We examined the four issues you must address during these interviews, along with the techniques you use to address them. Next, we discussed conducting management interviews. Here you learned about the issues and techniques these interviews incorporate.
Finally, we discussed the process of compiling a list of fields based on the list of characteristics and the characteristics that appear in the samples. You learned that you decompose the field list into two separate lists: a preliminary field list and a calculated-field list. The preliminary field list enumerates the organization's fundamental data requirements and establishes the core set of fields you must define in the database. The calculated-field list consists of fields that contain values resulting from string concatenations or mathematical expressions.