Fledgling firms require a range of hardware and software solutions to get off the ground in the modern era, and in particular there is a pressing need for even the smallest organizations to stay on top of their data management responsibilities from day one.
SQL Server is one of a number of database platforms available, and is amongst the most popular for a wide range of commercial deployments. Of course startups need to appreciate the features and benefits of such a service before they commit any resources to it, so to that end here is a look at the main factors which might motivate an ambitious enterprise to embrace SQL Server.
Quick intro to SQL
Structured query language, more commonly known as SQL and often pronounced as ‘sequel’, forms the foundations of millions of databases globally.
Developed over four decades ago, SQL architecture enables the storage, transformation and retrieval of structured data, which can include everything from details of orders placed with a business to information on key contacts.
As well as being used in commercial database solutions like SQL Server from Microsoft, the language is also harnessed for open source alternatives like MySQL. For the purposes of this discussion, we are focusing on the former, but the advantages for startups apply to most services which use SQL as a foundation.
The Importance of Data analysis for startups
The first reason to create a database using SQL Server as soon as possible after establishing a new business is that it will not only give you a repository to store the data generated by your activities from this point on, but will also let you perform all sorts of crucial data analysis of said information so that your decision-making can be based on hard evidence rather than guesswork.
This is applicable in all sorts of ways; for example, when determining the wants and needs of your target audience, or delving into the behaviors, habits and preferences of your existing customers, you can harness the power and efficiency of SQL Server to sort through the data and come to actionable conclusions.
The relevance of scalability
Although startups may be small to begin with, their needs can expand rapidly once they gain momentum in whatever marketplace they are targeting. This can leave you with unfortunate bottlenecks if you choose poorly early on, especially when it comes to IT.
A common example of this is relying on standard spreadsheet software to handle data storage, only to find that this becomes a limiting factor once the volumes of data involved pass a certain level.
SQL Server, on the other hand, is a superbly scalable solution that is capable of wrangling a wide variety of data volumes, from the moderate to the immense.
There are, of course, limitations in terms of the hardware on which the database is running, but these can be factored in advance, and plans to migrate to more capable kit or even elope to the cloud, while still using SQL Server as the software solution, are increasingly common in the startup world.
The Power of flexibility
On the surface, SQL Server sounds like a simple and somewhat basic storage solution, but this masks a much deeper and more versatile potential that lurks just underneath.
You can think of SQL Server as being the framework upon which you can hang a huge variety of other services and solutions.
For example, lots of businesses have a database of this kind sitting at the core of their website, and it can be a useful facet for collecting customer data and helping you to grow your online presence as a result.
In addition, SQL Server is commonly found at the heart of all sorts of software applications, whether that might be in-house solutions that only employees will use, or customer-facing products that will be key to your overall growth strategy.
The Appeal of Accessibility
While the prospect of implementing an SQL Server database might seem intimidating at first, the good news is that the language itself is not overly complex, especially compared with some of the other programming languages that are out there.
With a logical approach to syntax and the use of English words to deal with queries, even complete amateurs can familiarize themselves with SQL in a relatively short space of time.
And of course because it is a hugely popular solution, it is also very easy to find experienced, qualified administrators to come onboard and take charge of setting up SQL Server for you, whether you decide to hire full time team members for this purpose or simply work with consultants on a temporary basis. This helps to level the playing field so that startups can compete more successfully against their established peers.
The Matter of Cost
As mentioned earlier, there are free to use SQL-powered databases available on the open source market, although these are typically trickier to implement from a technical standpoint. This might leave startups with the prospect of opting for a premium equivalent, which you might assume is expensive.
Thankfully even SQL Server from Microsoft has a free iteration, providing basic functionality and features so that small firms can get their foot in the door. This goes back to the scalability mentioned earlier; the same is true of the price as it is of the potential power of the database solution itself.
So in summary, startups have a lot of reasons to choose between when looking to justify their adoption of SQL Server; you just need to go ahead and make the decision.