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SNHU - IT-431 Software Development in Distributed Systems
Written by: Chris Bell - March, 2014

Benefits of a Distributed Database System

Growing companies continue to look into distributed database systems in order to make current employees more efficient which, in turn, eliminates the need to hire additional employees. A distributed system has numerous benefits that analysts and management teams love to take advantage of, however they need to first make sure it's economically feasible. Resource and data sharing between company locations is second in line to the economics because it's somewhat of a priceless attribute for the company. Lastly, with a distributed system, there will be far less employee-to-employee and employee-to-customer interaction due to automatic invoice distribution, order tracking information and online order confirmations.

First and foremost, a company's return on investment will determine whether or not to proceed with the system. Let's assume a Pizza shop has grown over the last year from making 20 pizzas a day to making 60 pizzas a day. Last year one employee was making pizzas full time and produced all 20 each day. A simple calculation will tell you that the shop now needs 3 employees to each make 20 pizzas a day. However, instead of hiring two employees, a manufacturer wants to sell him a machine that will prepare 60 pizzas a day with one employee running it throughout the day. Well, even if that machine costs $50,000 the owner will make his money back in one year because two employees at $25,000 per year will be needed to prepare the additional volume. That's a basic way of determining if something electronic or automatic can take the place of human employees. Database systems aren't any different because they provide the company benefits that can eliminate the need for additional employees.

Resource sharing can help a company reply to customers quickly and electronically with less employees. For instance, a nationwide company with thousands of products may need specification data sheets for each product which can be in a shared folder in each location of the company. The mainframe computer holds all of the data and each command is sent to the mainframe to make the change throughout the company. When a sales person in CA makes an update, it's sent to the mainframe computer and the change is reverted back to all of the shared PC's within the network. It may sound like a process but it all happens within seconds. Another salesperson in NH will see the same update exactly as fast as the person that made the change in CA. New product specifications can be added or obsoleted in a single spot which will automatically update the entire network.

Other things included in the company network can be customer lists, vendor lists, inventory lists, past sales, current sales, budgets and much more. The main attraction for the company management is that each employee has real-time information about each customer and, therefore can answer any applicable questions related to their account. No matter what phone number the customer calls, any employee in the organization should be able to retrieve their account information within the distributed database.

Reliability, speed and accuracy of information are unmatched compared to the old school (long hand) approach. Physical papers can be misread, misplaced, lost and unorganized. Most companies wonder where they'd be if they didn't upgrade to a distributed database.

In conclusion, a company with a distributed database system has more efficient employees that can handle more tasks on a day-to-day basis. The benefits are clear and they can be calculated to see exactly what they will save the company over time. Employees will spend less time asking for information from the accounting department, from management and from customers. Customer service agents won't have to get up from their desk as much because of the availability of information at their fingertips. Overall, the company will be able to do more with less.


Courlouris, G. & Dollimore, J. & Kindber, T. & Blair, G. (2012) Distributed Systems: Concepts and Design. Fifth Edition. Published by Pearson.

CIS 505: Software Systems. Retrieved from: