Is Microsoft Access Still Relevant?

When Microsoft Access was launched in 1992, it was one of the most advanced and innovative applications, that was affordable and user-friendly. Over the next three decades, millions of small and medium businesses have adopted Microsoft Access to manage their data and create custom applications. With the rise of open-source database solutions, there is an undeniable and irreversible trend of businesses switching to cloud-based alternatives. Yet, Access retains a significant market share, and Microsoft will continue to support it in the foreseeable future. In this article, we will see if Microsoft Access is still relevant, and how it can be modernized.

What Is the Future of Microsoft Access?

One of the main reasons for Microsoft Access to become as popular as it has is its backward compatibility and ability to work with other database management systems (DBMS), such as SQL Server, Oracle database, and Sybase. However, limitations such as its compatibility with only Windows machines, lack of web-enabled, and mobile options, have resulted in businesses looking for alternate solutions.

Despite these limitations, Microsoft continues to include Access in the Office 365/ Microsoft 365 productivity suite and released Microsoft Access 2019, indicating that the application will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. However, the fact the Access remains the only Office product that runs only on Windows machines and has lost significance in Microsoft’s promotion of Office products indicates that the software might not be a priority in the future strategy.

Why Use Microsoft Access Databases?

Although Microsoft Access is an aging application, it continues to be a productive tool that fulfills business needs for many small-scale database solutions. Here are some reasons for using Microsoft Access.

  • Familiarity

    Access is one of the first applications available with a GUI (graphical user interface) toolkit, that is still not available in many of the modern solutions. It includes everything required for building databases that are suitable for small businesses, internal departments, workgroups, or series of projects. As a comprehensive solution that includes the database, macro writer, and builders for tables, forms, queries, and reports, users familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem can build complex applications within a reasonable budget.

  • Flexibility And Portability

    Access is one of the few solutions that allow entire applications that can be stored as a single file to be copied to another location. This is particularly useful for end-users, who do not need additional licenses for accessing databases and can instead use Access Runtime that is available free of cost to make changes.

  • Longevity

    Although Microsoft has not made significant improvements to Access in the past ten years, it is one of the most robust relational database solutions that are still widely used. Many businesses in various industries continue to use Access applications which were developed in the late 90s and early 2000s, making it difficult to switch to a different solution.

Apps4Rent Can Help with MS Access Modernization

Although businesses will sooner or later have to switch to a newer DBMS, many of the shortcomings of Access, such as lack of remote access and limited scalability can be overcome with MS Access cloud hosting.

As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP, Apps4Rent can not only host MS Access and SQL Server on our virtual desktops but also help businesses upgrade to superior solutions in Azure, Power Apps, and other Microsoft products and services. Contact our Access modernization consultants, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for assistance.

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