MS Access or Worksheet Systems for Data Management?

While enthusiasm drives your business, it’s your data that makes it successful. Deciding what database engine is most suited to the project in hand is the pillar for success. Whether you are a business-owner, freelance developer or managing IT resources, choosing the right data management tool is not easy.

Databases are management solutions where you can collect, store and access data. Choosing the right tool will come down to your requirements, budget and time allocated for your project.

In this article the benefits of Microsoft Office Access and Worksheet Systems are compared to help you make an informed decision when choosing data management solution for your business.

MS Access introduced…

MS Access, first released in 1992, has since been considered the low-cost data management solution that does it all. Large databases can be easily created, data types controlled, reports build, commands automated, data shared and many other features that are expected from a data management tool. If you know how to build a sturdy back-end foundation, MS Access is a very powerful tool that can be delivered for a fraction of the cost compared to a SQL or an Oracle solution. If you are a little rusty on your MS Access developing skills, Wizard-generated applications can provide an alternative to your basic database needs.

Worksheet Systems introduced…

Worksheet System is a cloud based data management solution allowing users to import, store and access data without any coding experience required. With the end-user in mind, who are becoming more and more involved in data management, user experience and intuitive interface are at the forefront of the solution. Hosted in the cloud, it allows user the take advantage of its enhanced access, collaboration and security features.

Further in this article, we will discuss database requirements that are likely listed in your RFP document.


Cloud. Worksheet Systems prides itself on the collaboration advantages the cloud has to offer, allowing users to access and store data online. Colleagues or customers can easily access data and work together from one dataset while being located a world apart. Not having to rely on hardware, which can be very time consuming and costly to set-up, is another clear advantage of storing your database in the cloud. MS Access is a desktop application which means that every user needs to have a licensed version installed on its machine before accessing it.

Information sharing and visualisation. Flexible and customizable dashboard features have become a mandatory requirement of any data management tool. The primary objective is tell a powerful story to wow your manager, colleague or customer. MS Access has basic features to create charts and graphs, but users are often referred to Excel for advanced data representation features. Worksheet Systems has placed a lot of emphasis on its dashboarding capabilities. The structure of your Worksheet is based on a classic 12 column grid system. This allows users to create reports, graphs and charts bringing it all together into one dashboard.

Control and Security

User Permissions. Unintended or unauthorized use of database programms form a serious risk to your business. User permissions are important part of your security controls that can help to protect your intelligence. MS Access let you edit workgroup files and permissions are assigned to groups. Worksheet Systems offer manual set up at user-level from the actual worksheet.

As part of its service offering, Worksheet Systems offers robust permissioning model. Unlimited number of users can access the worksheet, even if they are a FREE user. Users can be found without ever leaving the worksheet. MS Access takes a different approach and lets you set a password on your database to prevent unauthorized users to access your data.

Audit Trail. Another security control to protect your database is an ‘audit trail’. When ‘write’ access is granted to a user in Worksheet Systems, all changes made to the data are tracked. Annotations of ‘who’, ‘when’ and more importantly ‘what’ has been changed are stored and laid out in a clear format. If the user decides to revert back to its original content, this can achieved in a few simple steps. This is a pre-configured feature that does not require any additional set-up. Moreover, it allows users to collaborate on data without affecting the original document or previous annotations. In industries such as Healthcare, Financials and Insurance this features also ensures compliance with corporate regulations and security standards.

Data loss prevention. With MS Access, data is saved at regular, short intervals so in case a technical failure presents itself, minimum to none work is lost. Should you want to revert back the changes you have made, automatic backup service needs to be in place to restore previous versions of your database.

MS Access Advantages

Flexible – Many programmers, developers and software companies are familiar with MS Access. If Wizard made applications don’t fulfill your needs, there is a lot of help out there to get you going.

Integrated – MS Access is part of the MS Office Business suite, which means it easily integrates with other packages like Excel, Word and Outlook.

Cost effective – If you are considering SQL Server and Oracle as part of your supplier selection, MS Access will be the cheapest option.

MS Access Disadvantages

Prior database knowledge required – Prior knowledge of Access and its VBA programming language is required to use MS Access to its full ability. Once wizard-generated applications don’t meet your needs, be prepared to spend some money in hiring a developer.

On-premises – MS Access is a desktop application. Installation on your local machine is a prerequisite to use and open MS Access files. One installation equals one licence which can be become quite expensive.

Visualisation – If gathering insights and communicating your data to a wider audience is one of your requirements, MS Access might not be the right tool for you.

Lack of audit trail and security – User level security is inflexible. User can alter any setting in the database as long as they have administrator permission. Sound audit trail is lacking altogether.

Worksheet Systems might just be right

Worksheet System offers the flexibility and the control your business would require, without the need for any sort of coding prowess. It has been built on secure, cutting edge architecture that is both optimised for mobile and secure enough to use anywhere. It allows you keep control of your data, both through its audit trail, but also through robust security. So if you are looking for enhanced compliance features, reduced data storage costs, data protection, security and control Worksheet Systems might just be right.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you, open a free account or request a free consultation today. We can’t wait to show you what we can do together.