Foxcore Retail (A): Designing a Database
(3 pages of text)
On April 2, 2017, the two founders of Foxcore Retail were preparing for a third summer managing their small retail business in Ontario, Canada. They had spent the weekend reviewing budgeting, staffing schedules, and inventory planning for their biggest expansion to date. There was only one pressing concern that had not been solved. In the past, employees had tracked sales by hand, on paper, which led to headaches when it came to calculating sales representatives’ commissions. Additionally, the two partners knew that by not documenting key information about each sale, they were missing the opportunity to collect valuable data that could provide insight into the performance of employees, events, and products. As the business grew, they were starting to notice the impact of these inefficiencies on customer service, and it was clear that this was the right time to implement a more disciplined database system.
This case can be used in undergraduate, graduate, and Master of Science courses in data management to reinforce data modelling concepts that were covered previously and to introduce database implementation. The overall objective of this two-part case is to learn how to turn a database design into a physical database. Case A reinforces the importance of data modelling as a necessary step before implementation, and allows the students to practise their design skills. Case B is more technical. A sample data model is provided for students to learn about the tools that can be used to create a database. After completion of both parts of this case, students will be able to
- understand the complications that can arise from implementing a database from scratch without going through the proper steps to design a model;
- learn how to identify entities, attributes, identifiers, and relationships from a description of business requirements, and convert this information into a data model using Barker’s notation; and
- learn how to convert a data model into a physical database by using both structured query language (SQL) and phpMyAdmin.
Canada, Small, 2017
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