Companies use databases to centralise storage of their electronic information and make it easy to find and cross-reference information about their business and customers.
Before computers were widely utilised, companies used paper files to store their information. There would be a file for each customer, supplier and product. Computer databases allow companies to store this information electronically, making it easier to access and reference data. Databases allow individuals to easily obtain information that would have required manual work in the past, such as ascertaining which customers have purchased which products, and how frequently.
Companies use databases for a huge range of purposes. Human resources departments can maintain a database to store employee information, including holiday dates, sickness records and performance appraisals. Sales departments may keep a database of their leads and contacts, making it easy to track their campaigns.
Some companies may have databases built to their requirements. Others use products such as FileMaker or Microsoft Access to develop their databases internally.