Data management is a vexing problem faced by many NPOs. Data in such a set up could range from, beneficiary details, research material, donor details, operational information to invoices, banking information etc. To ensure that data is readily accessible and usable, one needs an efficient set of tools that can help in storing, retrieving, segregating and sharing data.
To select the right tools, NPOs need to understand their requirements, research the tools and solutions that weigh to their advantages, ensure that all stakeholders are comfortable and whether it is easy for maintenance and support. Before stepping into these elements, it is important to first understand Databases and DBMS(Database Management System) -
A database is a collection of data that can be stored or accessed digitally. Databases usually follow a set of properties known as the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) for reliable transactions of information and related elements.
Relational Database Management System is a type of DBMS software tool that helps in storing and managing data while enforcing security and privacy. It is a group of programs that manipulates databases. The RDBMS requests and fetches data from the Operating System (OS) using the application. The RDBMS application mediates the data using the software to give the user the function to view, access and modify the data. Thereby, RDBMS help creates databases as well as provide the interface between the data and the user. Eg. Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, etc.
RDBMS can help NGOs in improving the overall consistency of their activities and operations in terms of collecting and facilitating data. With the ideal software, RDBMS can help the organization in improving its efficiency and scaling standards. RDBMS provides NGOs with the necessary means of observing and monitoring insights and observations which could present breakthroughs for users (in case of structured data).
While RDBMS helps in many things than a traditional DBMS can, many organizations utilize non-relational databases for manipulating unstructured data. Eg. Use of NoSQL, Apache HBase, IBM Domino, and Oracle NoSQL Database for cloud computing and big data because of its flexibility, scalability and storage.
With the help of a powerful DBMS tool, NGOs can optimize the operations history and immediately work on its improvement actions. Also, with a reliable data management system, an organization can improve its efforts in avoiding legal liabilities and regulatory risks. They also improve the investment and financial status of the NGOs and avoid complaint or security issues.
NGOs with the help of databases can improve on the workflow of the management, analysis and intelligence on using the data for future references. Database systems can also help in reducing manual errors, efficient time management and faster rectification of service problems. Alongside a cloud management system, DBMS can skyrocket productivity and effectiveness, while substantially downsizing the processing time and analysis.
In other words, a great database management system that centralizes the data and resides in the cloud could open the door for unrivalled flexibility and efficiency. With proactive maintenance and timely upgrades, it can lay grounds to develop enhancements and support NPO operations.