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Databases in Business
Let’s take the movie industry for our first example. I was a young boy back in early 70-80s when the movie Star Wars hit the silver screen. Within a week the news agencies were talking about what a hit this movie appears to be. There were no numbers yet but evidence was mounting that things were good for Star Wars. Mostly the news cameras would drive by the theaters and see the long lines of people waiting to see Star Wars.
One news agency called the 30 theaters in the USA that showed Star Wars on its opening night to ask about the sales. The theater owners in 29 of the 30 theaters said it was a record weekend for them. OK we are starting to get some numbers now but how about the weekend box office total nationwide or even worldwide? Well after months of accounting the first week and first month’s totals were tallied and this movie would become the biggest hit of all time. It took a team of accountants with ledgers to eventually turn out these totals.
Contrast this example with the release of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” back in 2001. On the Monday morning after the weekend release the news agencies said this movie made 90 million in the opening weekend. When they announced this, the weekend had just ended a few hours ago. So how did this total come so fast? Did a team of accountants work in the early hours of the morning to make this happen? All these sales were rolled up into a database and with one single query a grand total was instantly available.
For centuries we have been collecting data. In 1977 and in 2001 we were collecting data. What has changed now is how fast we can get back our information. This means the reaction of the market to our products and marketing can be instantly known. These capabilities allow businesses to make decisions with that information.
Database Management Systems (DBMS)
Databases have been around since cavemen were drawing stick figures of their family’s on the rock walls. A database is a collection of related information. In the last 20 years what has improved greatly is we can get the information we need instantly from databases. For example if we ran a test promotion in Florida that we were thinking about running around the world we would want to know how well the promotion affected sales. In this case we want to compare the sales gains in Florida to all other areas. There may be millions of sales in Florida and billions of sales everywhere else. That is far too much data for a human ledger. We need a system that can both collect and pull out this information for us. SQL Server is a Database Management System (DBMS) that (if we know how to talk to it) will be our best business friend.
Data vs. Information
The power in the DBMS is when it is necessary to tabulate the weekend gross receipts for the latest weekend movie across the nation. We want to do this easily. Do we really want to ship all the ticket stubs from every box office across the country to a central accounting desk and then count the piles of receipts? No. Fortunately, the movie industry uses a DBMS so that by Monday morning it instantly knows the amount for the weekend gross receipts. This is the benefit of being able to turn data into information.
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Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)