bit-tech.net

Go Back   bit-tech.net Forums > Technology > Software

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 16th Apr 2015, 12:18   #1
MiNiMaL_FuSS
ƬӇЄƦЄ ƁЄ ƇƠƜƧ ӇЄƦЄ.
 
MiNiMaL_FuSS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 6,207
MiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming Saiyan
Database for a charity - recommendations?

Hi guys,

I work for a small charity managing 4 employability support projects. At the moment most things are managed by excel/windows/word, but as times goes on this is becoming increasingly cumbersome and requires a lot of man hours.

We're looking for a database/tool/interfacer that will have 4 main purposes:

1: Our workers can use it to open client "case files" and record basic data like name/address/national insurance number/ethnicity/length of unemployment/etc.
At the moment this is currently done using a heavily formatted word document/formdata is then manually input into an excel spreadsheet once a month...so we have individual word client forms and all client data in a gigantic spreadsheet.

2: Allows our worker to store "case notes" linked to the case files, essentially text notes.
At the moment these are usually kept in a word file in the same folder as the client forms.

3: Allows for reminders to be set against case notes, ideally sending the worker an email or triggering a flag when a date or time is reached.
At the moment workers put reminders in their outlook diary and/or physical diaries manually, but it would make sense for case notes to trigger these.

4: Allows reports to be pulled off the system, ie if 100 people are of the same ethnicity and 60 are of another, essentially basic statics generated from the information input into the case files.
At the moment I'm literally pulling numbers off of an excel spreadsheet and turning them into tables of percentages, etc for written reports.

I have no idea on this sort of stuff, but essentially we're a small charity with nearly no budget...is this the kind of thing we might find off the shelf, do we need to contract some IT company to build something bespoke, or is this type of system manageable for some IT students looking to build a portfolio and willing to help a charity out?
__________________
すべてのあなたのチーズケーキは私たちに属している
MiNiMaL_FuSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Apr 2015, 13:33   #2
Shirty
The Stinking Troll
Moderator
 
Shirty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Saaf Inglund
Posts: 10,979
Shirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming SaiyanShirty is a Super Spamming Saiyan
This would take an Access dev no more than a couple of days to put together, possibly less - as long at they had access to a detailed functional spec.
__________________
3770K | Z77E-ITX | Liqtech 120X | EVGA GTX 980 | 8GB | 1TB M550 | Node 304 | SS-460FL2 (fanless) | Dell S2740L | Ducky Premier | Logitech G500

I also have a Surface Pro 2, even though I'm not a pro...
Shirty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Apr 2015, 15:04   #3
suenstar
Collector of Things
 
suenstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Cornwall, England
Posts: 1,855
suenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyan
As much as I dislike Access compared to creating a proper database, that list of requirements is something that a simple Access database would handle and could be pieced together rather quickly.

It should take someone skilled in using MS Access less than 4 hours to put together something to meet those requirements.
For someone not skilled in the software, they could probably learn to piece it together within a few days by following online instructions as most of Access is visual and simple to put together.

From the looks of it; it could consist of two (possibly even just one) tables, a couple of query & report templates and a few short visual basic scripts to handle triggers like reminders/notifications & logins.


As for cost, don't pay for anything if you don't have a budget.
Check with any local volunteer brokers in your area that could advertise for some volunteers with IT skills to get in touch to help out.
This'd probably your first port of call (guessing Norfolk is correct from your advertised location): http://www.voluntarynorfolk.org.uk/c...r-coordinators
Well worth trying to find out who manages the http://www.do-it.org adverts for your area, they may already have knowledge of a number of people looking for IT based volunteering opportunities.

No harm in contacting your local colleges to see if their IT department has any students looking to do a quick volunteer job to add to their portfolio, any smart student looking to improve their employability should want to jump at the opportunity to say they've made a bespoke system being used by a recognised charity.
For the college approach it might be good to target the first/second year BTEC students doing IT Practitioners/Software Development as they'll often be an eager bunch.


I'm out of the country next week, but if you've not found a solution to your requirement by the 25th then feel free to give me a shout and I'll see if I can help put something together over a weekend.
__________________
Steam: suenstar | Origin: suenstar | Elite Dangerous & Star Citizen: Surren Starr | World of Tanks: suenstar

Last edited by suenstar; 16th Apr 2015 at 15:19.
suenstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Apr 2015, 15:22   #4
MiNiMaL_FuSS
ƬӇЄƦЄ ƁЄ ƇƠƜƧ ӇЄƦЄ.
 
MiNiMaL_FuSS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 6,207
MiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming Saiyan
thanks chaps, I'm not really familiar with all the functions of access but i may have a look into a few tutorials and see what I can do myself, good learning curve to be able to amend things later.
__________________
すべてのあなたのチーズケーキは私たちに属している
MiNiMaL_FuSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Apr 2015, 16:16   #5
noizdaemon666
I'm Od, Therefore I Pwn
 
noizdaemon666's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,854
noizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyannoizdaemon666 is a Super Spamming Saiyan
Just to echo suenstar and Shirty, learn a bit of Access and it shouldn't take you long to bob one out at all. Most things are a quick Google away
noizdaemon666 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Apr 2015, 16:23   #6
yodasarmpit
No longer the other Brett.
 
yodasarmpit's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: West Lothian
Posts: 10,800
yodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyanyodasarmpit is a Super Spamming Saiyan
Access would be more than capable of meeting those requirements.
__________________
The Rt. Hon. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson - "Ping Pong is coming home"
yodasarmpit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th Apr 2015, 18:27   #7
suenstar
Collector of Things
 
suenstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Cornwall, England
Posts: 1,855
suenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyansuenstar is a Super Spamming Saiyan
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaL_FuSS View Post
thanks chaps, I'm not really familiar with all the functions of access but i may have a look into a few tutorials and see what I can do myself, good learning curve to be able to amend things later.
Lots of people on here are Intermediate to Advanced with database software so definitely bounce any questions you have to the community.

www.stackoverflow.com is another good website for technical & programming support on databases.
__________________
Steam: suenstar | Origin: suenstar | Elite Dangerous & Star Citizen: Surren Starr | World of Tanks: suenstar
suenstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th May 2015, 20:53   #8
BLC
Something witty goes here
 
BLC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Cardiff
Posts: 2,572
BLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming SaiyanBLC is a Super Spamming Saiyan
Yeah, sounds like a really easy job in Access. As much as I dislike the very existence of MS Access (databases should not be on a desktop), this is one of those use cases where it does actually have utility - assuming licenses aren't a problem for your budget, that is.

Two tables is all you should need: client information and case notes, both linked by an ID column.

I don't think you can trigger email reminders via Outlook, but you could easily have another form which shows you items due within a certain time period (Due today + overdue, due within next 5 days, all overdue, etc). Of course people have to check it, but you could also write a report to pull this information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suenstar View Post
Lots of people on here are Intermediate to Advanced with database software so definitely bounce any questions you have to the community.

www.stackoverflow.com is another good website for technical & programming support on databases.
StackOverflow is my god.
__________________
Asus Z87-K | Core i5 4670K | MSI GTX760 "TwinFrozr OC Edition" | 8GB Corsair Venegance 1600MHz
-------------------------------------------
Look ma, I do game things!
BLC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th May 2015, 00:26   #9
Landy_Ed
Combat Novice
 
Landy_Ed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: I can't remember
Posts: 1,371
Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.
Hi,

Never spotted this before. When you include the timer/reminder feature, emailing and so on I'd suggest it's more a customisable CRM/workflow tool that is required. Keeping it cheap & relatively simple, something like Altassian Jira would do the job at a whopping $10 for a 10 user license. While principally aimed at product (software) development and issue tracking, the entity hierarchy isn't that different. Attributes are customisable (so fields can be added such as you describe), and it runs as a service with a web ui so you don't really need to design pages as such, and it can automatically send out emails via smtp (I think)

I don't believe it's terribly difficult to set up, but I've not done it myself.
__________________
CDR SPUD
Landy_Ed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd May 2015, 12:55   #10
notmeagain
Supermodder
 
notmeagain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London
Posts: 487
notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.
What about SugarCRM?
__________________
Intel i7 4790k @ 4.8ghz | Palit Jetstream GTX980 @ 1379mhz | 16GB Patriot RAM @ 2145mhz | Asus VG248QE | Oculus Rift DK2
notmeagain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2015, 10:37   #11
MiNiMaL_FuSS
ƬӇЄƦЄ ƁЄ ƇƠƜƧ ӇЄƦЄ.
 
MiNiMaL_FuSS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Norfolk, UK
Posts: 6,207
MiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming SaiyanMiNiMaL_FuSS is a Super Spamming Saiyan
Long over due an update! The situation has changed a fair bit.

We're part of a group of 5 organisation that will be undertaking a multi-agency project funded by the lottery from September 2015. The project will essentially focus n helping people in one of the UK's most deprived towns to return to work, I wont attempt to explain here but in short there are partners offering independent financial advice, employment support, social enterprise support, etc etc.

So we're now starting to look at database options. The basis are the same as outlines above, except that we get into the messy water of being able to share across agencies and give access to each others files with permission.

Essentially what we want is:

A front-end which is:
  • User friendly (see idiot proof).
  • Where staff can enter client details (think name/dob/ethnicity, essentially drop down selections).
  • Where staff can enter notes about the client in question.
  • Where staff can send details of the clients to other orgs with the appropriate permissions
  • Where staff can set reminders on tasks and receive email reminders.

More complex will be the back-end which will have to:
  • Allow staff to share aforementioned client details with only certain other users.
  • Notify staff if a person they are about to add details to already exists.
  • Be online to allow multiple organisations (4-5) to use it.
  • Allow staff to set reminders that generate email notifications.
  • Be able to generate statical data/reports on any of the client details input.

This is very likely something we'll have to hire a company for and invest in, it's also public money so the odds are it'll go out to tender unless we first find a preferred provider who already has something suitable.

Essentially - any suggestions?
__________________
すべてのあなたのチーズケーキは私たちに属している
MiNiMaL_FuSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2015, 11:50   #12
notmeagain
Supermodder
 
notmeagain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London
Posts: 487
notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.notmeagain is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by notmeagain View Post
What about SugarCRM?
---------^

Another managed one is Salesforce (Expensive), as well as SuiteCRM (Cheap).

If you need a telecoms solution... not soliciting or anything
__________________
Intel i7 4790k @ 4.8ghz | Palit Jetstream GTX980 @ 1379mhz | 16GB Patriot RAM @ 2145mhz | Asus VG248QE | Oculus Rift DK2
notmeagain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2015, 12:39   #13
theshadow2001
Mod Master
 
theshadow2001's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 2,493
theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.theshadow2001 is definitely a rep cheat.
This thing seems to have grown arms and legs. Whilst getting a windfall is a boon for the charity has thought been given to the long term support of the new scope of this system? It's up keep will be a regular drain on funds. It's something non tech people over look regularly because their experience with Windows or Macs is that you turn it on run an update now and then and everything works like a charm.
theshadow2001 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2015, 21:33   #14
wolfticket
Downwind from the bloodhounds
 
wolfticket's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 1,917
wolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyanwolfticket is a Super Spamming Saiyan
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001 View Post
This thing seems to have grown arms and legs. Whilst getting a windfall is a boon for the charity has thought been given to the long term support of the new scope of this system? It's up keep will be a regular drain on funds. It's something non tech people over look regularly because their experience with Windows or Macs is that you turn it on run an update now and then and everything works like a charm.
+1

Sounds potentially like a big ole money sink to me.

As mentioned, the suggestion for that feature set would be to get someone designs systems like that. Which in all likelihood mean a lot of expense, both initial and ongoing.

It seems like a questionable way to spend charity money on unless absolutely necessary in my opinion.
I much prefer the brief in the OP.
It sounds more achievable and sustainable, while still vastly improving the system.
__________________
Wolfticket: Ambitious but rubbish

"A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought."
Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 - 1957)
wolfticket is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2015, 21:54   #15
Landy_Ed
Combat Novice
 
Landy_Ed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: I can't remember
Posts: 1,371
Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.Landy_Ed is definitely a rep cheat.
I'm still very much in the frame of mind that a CRM solution will suit you. It would save you from the minefield that is database consultancy, and depending on the provider would keep you both legal and secure. Bear in mind that just because you are charitable/NPO you don't have a get-out clause from the data protection act. So a simple 2-3 table database will not cover you for audit, for example, and would not get even close to where you are likely to want to go.

SuiteCRM actually looks pretty good, so I'll second that recommendation. Their online proposition is also hosted in the UK, so you don't have to worry about cross-jurisdiction data privacy law. What you DO NOT NEED is a bespoke database system from a consultancy. Based on the loose requirement you have stated, you would be milked dry and at the end of it maybe still not have something suitable. Or you would have a very fragile application that does not help you with your obligations to the people you are providing a service to, and also likely still not be 100% suitable for even a single user app.

Careers Scotland did pretty much exactly what you have described, and they used Cognisoft CRM. While the UI and general capability of the product fit what you need, I don't rate their underlying db structure at all, but that's my professional opinion of the db, not the overall product offering. And that was quite a long time ago. At the level you are at, you should not need to care about it. I don't know your budget, but I don't think Cognisoft were particularly cheap. But they *are* established in providing exactly the product you are looking for.
__________________
CDR SPUD
Landy_Ed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th May 2015, 23:21   #16
hughwi
I *am* a Dremel
 
hughwi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: London
Posts: 1,503
hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.hughwi is the Cheesecake. Relix smiles down upon them.
I would second the comments above about the original brief being a cheaper option in the longrun, but if you absolutely do need to adhere to the new brief. - Then CRM is your best bet.

Do you already have an MS Office Subscription? like 365 or something similar? - In which case, it would be worth talking to them about Dynamics, as they often heavily discount / give away their CRM product if you have an existing package, especially being a charity. - Otherwise you could easily build this using the Community edition of SugarCRM (which is free)
__________________
Main Rig: Asus Z97I-PLUS | Intel Pentium G3258 w H80 | Corsair CML16GX3M2A1600C9 LP Vengeance RAM | EVGA NVIDIA GTX 750Ti SC | Corsair RM650 | 2 x Crucial 256GB M4
hughwi is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:13.
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.