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Overview of the Services Provided

Thomas Eklund

Welcome! My name is Thomas Eklund. Throughout this website you will find information on database and report development, business analysis and project management services that I provide.

I have over 10 years of IT experience, and it is a diverse experience from different fields. This hands-on experience and expertise helps me to evaluate differing aspects and to produce better quality outcomes as an analyst, developer, and project manager.

This website content reflects that diversity as well.

My work has a common denominator: it's about producing results that help other people to achieve more, and make life easier and better for people who use them.

Here's how I may be able to benefit you.

Is any one of the following true for your company or organization:

  • Employees at your company handle workflows that require decision making and involve dealing with data.
  • When your customers use the services that you offer, they handle data that you provide and have to make decisions in the process.
  • Employees at your company handle workflows that involve dealing with data and your current operations are heavily spreadsheet usage dependent.
  • Employees at your company handle workflows that involve dealing with data and your company needs to get work done faster, more cost effectively, more accurately, and more productively.

If so, you can greatly benefit from hiring an experienced database application developer who is good at converting the workflows into computer applications that handle data processing tasks and provide automated, intelligent workflow handling support.

Why Do You Need an Expert Level MS Access Developer Who Is Also a Skilled Business Analyst, Report Developer and Project Manager?

The answer to the above question is that if the employees of your company work with data, I can develop for you solutions that increase quality, timeliness and productivity of the work done, and increase employee and customer satisfaction and company's competitiveness.

Depending on the project, I can deliver the results myself, from start to completion, covering all the needed aspects, or I can work as part of a team, as business analyst or project manager - or both.

Similarly, I can devise and implement strategic IT initiatives for you. For example, if your current operations are heavily spreadsheet usage dependent, I can implement for you a customized IT infrastructure development project.

I have developed over dozen successfully functioning relational database applications. For most of the projects described here I also worked as the technical project manager.

Over the years, in every single instance when I worked as business analyst, application developer or IT project manager, I achieved the stated objectives. (This also indicates that in my professional capacity I never promise results that I cannot deliver.)

How many database application developers or IT project managers do you know who can make the same claim?

Other relevant benefits are described on this website.

Does Your Company Work With Data?

Does your company work with data, or does it have to track deliverables and deadlines for operations management purposes?

If the amount of data involved, such as number of clients, accounts, or products, is in thousands or tens of thousands of records, as compared to hundreds of thousand or more, then MS Access may be the right software for you. If the number of records is larger, we will want to use enterprise level relational database back end solutions, such as SQL Server, or Oracle, or MySQL.

Each of these software packages has its plusses and minuses. Among the ones listed above, MS Access tends to be the most cost-effective option, and I also have the most experience developing applications using this software. So, I will focus below mostly on MS Access development.

Successful relational database application development relies on all of the needed areas coming together in a complementary manner. Relatively few MS Access developers can handle equally well all the diverse database application development tasks, the way I can. However, most companies do not want to hire an entire team of developers for MS Access database work.

My big advantage is, that I handle on expert level all the necessary MS Access development-related tasks: project management, business analysis and user interviewing, application architecture and navigation structure development, usability engineering and user interface design, table structure and other objects development, programming, quality control and user training.

This means that the end result makes the users more efficient by doing more work for them and delivers better user experiences. All of this matters and can make rather big differences to both bottom line and to the application users-employees job satisfaction.

Further, this experience allows me to build effective bridges between the users needs and the development capabilities, and devise solutions so that the outcome adheres to the budget and schedule, has good quality and usability and increases user productivity.

I have also handled successfully both ad hoc, automation and operational reporting. For example, I have developed complex automation reports, so that data is stored in Access and calculated values end up in fully formatted Excel reports with few button clicks, without any additional manual work.

Further, I developed a new version of departmental management reports from ground up, including report's content and design, operational key performance indicators, formulas, relevant database driven functionality, and visually informative and attractive PowerPoint slides.

How Can Business Analyst Increase the Value of the Outcome?

The work that I have done over the years as business analyst is very similar to what Mike Schaffner describes in his excellent article on the requirements for a business analyst.

In addition to working as a business analyst, I have also actually built the applications, reports, self-service report centers and other computer application functionality parts that are described on this website (and others, that are only briefly mentioned here). This experience provides insights that I would not have otherwise.

Keeping this in mind, I can say that business analyst being closely involved in the development process can help:

  • to ensure that the users needs are built into the application's functionality as needed,
  • to increase the usability of the outcome, and
  • to increase the probability that the outcome is delivered within the schedule and budget.

Further, the better a business analyst understands how IT solutions can help to move the company forward in a competitive marketplace, the better solutions can that business analyst provide, that help to both generate and to materialize business management and development related opportunities.

It should be the obligation of a business analyst to understand and to convey to the developers the users needs and business rules in a manner that ensures, that the end result actually helps to deliver effective results. If the developers and programmers work without such insights, it is more likely that the outcome is driven by engineering thinking, rather than being an effective combination of usability, users needs and business rules.

Here are some examples.

  • From application development basics to usability, reporting and data mining, understanding, documenting and verifying the users needs and workflows helps to increase the probability that the development project is successful.
  • On a basic level, subject matters and their characteristics become tables and table fields, user actions and results that need to be generated determine the functionality, and information flows and workflows determine the user interface development aspects.
  • When users needs and workflows drive the user interface design, the outcome tends to have higher usability. For an engineer, it may seem only natural to put functionality parts next to each other on the user interfaces, wherever there is space available. Application users, however, need the functionality parts to be available to them in accordance with their workflows, and the way they process information in the application usage processes.
  • The less interaction there is with the users during the development and testing processes that also involve a competent business analyst, the more likely it is that some of the users needs are overlooked. In each such instance, once the application is ready to be used, the users may have to do more work than they otherwise would have to do. Multiply this pay the number of application usage instances and you can get big bottom line differences.
  • Similarly, if application developers are the only quality controllers, they test their own application usage assumptions. The users, however, need their application usage processes to be tested for bugs and other problems. This is another area where business analyst's involvement is needed.

You can find more information on the relevant topics on this website. Next subsection provides an overview of my work history and descriptive examples of work that I have done as business analyst and database application, report and report center developer.