My personal databases

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday sees Todd Kleinhans (@toddkleinhans) ask about what we use databases for – outside work. Because obviously as database professionals, we ought to be putting what we preach into practice in our personal lives. We should be leveraging our expertise to make sure that the data with which we live, not just the data with which our clients live, is taking advantage of everything we have to offer.

Obviously.

Except that I’m a consultant. Sure I’m a consultant specialising in the Microsoft Data Platform & Analytics space, but my main priority is looking after the best interest of our customers. Ultimately, that’s what they pay us for – it’s just convenient when it overlaps with our expertise in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Certainly I don’t like to tell my clients to pay for things they shouldn’t be paying for, and that includes my time in building a solution when there’s an off-the-shelf solution.

At home, there are all kinds of data that I’m interested in. I’m interested in my financial transactions, in the car usage, and more. And that’s before I even consider the things that affect the company, which obviously I need to track.

But I have applications for those things. My bank keep track of the financial transactions, and I use Xero for the business. We use Harvest for timesheets, and I track my car usage with an app on my phone. And most of these things provide the analytics that I’m after too. I can look for changes in my spending, or in how project time is tracking against budget, and generally manage my data WITHOUT having to spin up my own databases and creating my own applications. I do this type of work for our customers, but I also know that the best use of my time is not creating applications, but in tuning and troubleshooting, analytics and insight.

I treat my family and my company (and myself) like my customers, and don’t reinvent the wheel for no reason. If there’s a product out there that already does what I need it to do, I’m not going to roll my own. It’s just not in their best interest.

@rob_farley