Mar 06

New Video on Microsoft Access and SQL Server Migration Challenges

Over the years, I have had an ongoing discussion about how Microsoft Access best fits in an organization's database strategy. Similar to how some Excel files evolve beyond the capabilities of a spreadsheet and move to Access, some Access applications grow beyond the features of Access.  Recently, I was interviewed by Microsoft’s Architect Evangelist Dr. Zhiming Xue on dealing with Access Database based solutions and the challenges of migrating them to SQL Server. Watch the 22 minute video and read more about Migrating Microsoft Access Databases to SQL Server. Let me know what you think.

Jan 29

Taking Advantage of Emailing Microsoft Access Data and Reports

Microsoft Access Email BlasterTotal Access EmailerMicrosoft Access Email Microsoft Access

One of the most powerful ways to increase productivity is automating the distribution of personalized data to your contacts. Whether they are customers, prospects, or internal people, simplifying communications is a wonderful result of all your efforts collecting and analyzing data. With our Total Access Emailer program, we are helping thousands of people leverage the power of emails and their Microsoft Access data.  Easily send HTML emails with references to your data fields to personalize each message.  You can even add filtered data from a table or query, or email Microsoft Access reports either as attachments or as your HTML email.  Total Access Emailer makes it easy to do on a one time basis or continuously. It runs as an Access add-in with a Wizard interface, and also has a programmatic interface with runtime library to launch emails from VBA code.

Recently, we’ve helped several organizations create Access applications where email was a critical part of the solution. For Harvard College, we developed a system to manage the assignment of interviewers and candidates. An Access database on SQL Server is used by an administrator to match the two parties, then an email sent out to the interviewer. The Interviewer then visits an ASP.NET web site to record whether they accepted or declined the assignment, and upload their results. Reminders are automatically sent if no response is received by a certain time. It’s running hot and heavy now as interviewing season comes to a close for this year’s applicants.

Similarly, we created a solution for a national firm in the customer loyalty business to improve their partners’ communications with the customers they’ve signed up. The main application is a web-based ASP.NET and SQL Server solution, but we decided to build the communications part in Access. This separated it from the transactional load on the web site and simplified its development. The marketing people could design their emails in HTML and use Total Access Emailer to replace the fields in the message with the data downloaded from SQL Server. After tweaking their message, previewing sample emails, and getting it perfect, they could launch the blast on their own. The result was a personalized email to each participant with a custom letterhead with graphics for each affinity partner as if the message came directly from them. We’ve created monthly statements, a campaign for Toys for Tots, and other notifications to drive build a closer relationship between the partners and their customers.

So if you want to send emails from database, learn more about Total Access Emailer.  A free 30 day trial version to send emails from Access is available. If you’d like us to help you create a custom solution in Access or .NET with email, please contact our Professional Solutions Group.

Jan 05

FMS Offers Access to SQL Server Migration Services

FMS has offered Access to SQL Server "upsizing" (aka conversion or migration) services for a number of years. We have been working with Microsoft to help customers convert their database applications from Access-based systems to (most typically) SQL Server and ASP.NET websites and web applications. We are one of the few companies in the world who are recognized by Microsoft as being experts at Access to SQL Server migration (see our whitepaper and partner link at the bottom of that page on the Microsoft website).

To kick off 2009, we are offering special rates on these services. Please contact us or give us a call at 703-356-4700 to find out how we can help your organization take the next step.

Dec 22

FMS Delivers a Social Networking Website for Businesswomen and Entrepreneurs

FMS is excited to announce the launch of The HotMommas Project, a case study competition and social networking website for businesswomen and entrepreneurs. FMS developed this Microsoft ASP.NET and SQL Server based website for a GWU business school professor in Washington, DC. The HotMommas Project just announced their judging panel and the group is generating quite a buzz. Check it out, and we encourage you to tell anyone who may be interested to sign up and enter the competition.