The following is a reply to my query from a private source:
Data bases are for fixed data columns and standardized input methods and
require manipulation by sql type query tools. Unless you are getting
automatic feeds of significant amounts of data from your world wide
operations I don't see what it would do for you. If you are putting together
a business then a data base would be a good thing even if it is simple, but
those are available pre-canned and some are open source. Unless you are
doing something far more complex than I imagine spread sheets should serve
you well and spread sheets have reporting capabilities.
In reality, the reason just about every company went to data bases was that
it centralized and standardized the data it needed and made it available to
each different level of management in order that they could do their jobs
and analyze their results.
The complexity of data bases arises from how data is loaded and validated
and the number of users, which is generally every employee of a corporation.
Big companies have petabytes or more of data to manage and parallel and
redundant servers are required to ensure business continuity.
The other use for data bases is like firefox which has it's own mysql
database built in to manage stuff like cookies and cache and run under
control of the firefox program.
Regardless, a lot of small companies keep some data on incomplete data bases
that they got free or cheap and accumulate, compile, analyze and report
their data from spread sheets for which they either write macros or use the
spread sheet's native reporting tools.
To demonstrate the similarities check out this video tutorial.
What it implies of course is that if you have many spread sheets and they
are formatted in such a way as to correlate inter-relationships you could
import them all into your data base and manipulate that data into a report.
Fancy data base features include data entry windows for individual
contributors and complex reporting engines that can generate charts and
graphs as well as specific answers to pre-determined questions.
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