When you decide it’s time to go beyond a static informational type of web site to something a little more “interactive” for your customers, then database integration can be the solution. Database integration, or data integration, refers to combining databases with your website so that web visitors can add, remove and update information in your database using a web browser. Database integrated websites basically consist of a combined “back-end” database with web pages that contain “script”, programming language capable of pulling specific information from the database depending on what the user wants to know.
These databases can be internal within the company, or externally through a service like SalesForce, or based in the cloud, or so on. Database integration means not only integrating a single database with a website, but also combining data from multiple sources into the one site.
Most sites with integrated databases also allow users to search these databases. Database-integrated sites are typically referred to as ‘web applications‘, because they are a cross between a simple ‘static’ HTML site and a full blown application or program. Database integration can be used in many kinds of websites, especially those that typically have big databases like eCommerce web-stores.
eCommerce databases are a method of storing and presenting large amounts of information that can then be used by an eCommerce or online payment system. eCommerce allows consumers to make purchases or process financial transactions on the Internet. A secure database is needed to store valuable information such as product inventory, shopping cart, and credit card information for use by the company hosting the eCommerce process. Database integrated websites are more complex to design, but can be much easier than the equivalent static HTML site when it comes to maintaining your site’s content. In most cases you can manage your database with nothing but a web browser.
Below we go over some of the applications and advantages of database integration.
Searchable Membership Directories
Membership directories are helpful for organizations that want their members to be searchable, whether to facilitate intra-organization networking and connections or to enable those outside of the organization to connect with talent with it. Often, the membership data is gathered from multiple sources or submissions. Therefore, database integration is a perfect fit for enabling a company website to provide visitors with a unified and fully searchable list of members.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
A CMS is an application that allows web content management, including collaborative creation and editing. One prominent example is WordPress, where multiple contributors can write and publish blog content, even editing one another’s work, all without needing to have any coding or web development background. Database integration makes this possible.
In order to run a site where users can buy and/or sell products, database integration is almost mandatory. Product information, stock numbers, prices, discounts, shipping costs, and so on are all pieces of information that the purchasing application needs to have quick access to in order to provide a smooth shopping experience for the user, and these need to sometimes be adjusted in real-time according to the purchases and interactions of users.
Enhanced information control
Having a centralized and combined dataset immediately makes data easier to manage. But the application-side tools also make it even easier on top of that. This means that people besides technical experts can meaningfully manage data, whether that’s user, company, or logistics data.
Unified, reliable dataset for compliance and reporting
Having a single reliable source for all data makes record-keeping much easier. In turn, this also makes it easier to ensure your company meets any compliance requirements relating to data, oversight, or storage, as well as disclosure or reporting requirements.
Consolidated and integrated data from many sources
Consolodating and integrating data into one source makes it quicker and easier to refer to data as needed, without the need for multiple applications or access rights. But it also means having redundancy in data storage and access. If the original source goes down or is inaccessible for a time, the consolidated dataset should still remain accessible due to being stored separately.
Keep in Mind
When deciding to use an eCommerce database, it is also important to consider if the database provides a secure environment to protect sensitive personal, financial, and project information. Additionally, it’s vital that the database application is easy to use and will adapt to changes so that future modifications and improvements can be added. Choosing the best eCommerce solution takes careful consideration so that it will be useful for the purpose for which it is intended.
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