Technology Decision Makers

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A group for those in nonprofit IT decision-making roles to connect with peers and share best practices. This Technology Decision Makers group is for nonprofit IT or MIS Directors/Managers as well as CIOs and CTOs to connect with their peers and share best practices. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to: hardware and software management, product reviews, emerging technology, best practices, collaborating effectively with other departments, and management conundrums. Membership is restricted to IT staff at nonprofit organizations.

Outgrown MS Access - seeking alternatives

  • 1.  Outgrown MS Access - seeking alternatives

    Posted Nov 02, 2018 12:52
    Are any of you(r organizations) using an event management software for conference planning? For clarification - I'm not referring to speakers and content, I mean the backstage stuff (rooms, BEOs, AV, F&B, vendors pieces).

    Our team worked for years with an MS Access database but wanted something cloud-based where multiple users can be working in the system rather than a relay-style hand-off of the data file. So, we switched to something like that but it wasn't really a great fit. Now this product we've used for the most recent meeting announced end-of-life in the next 18 months.

    We're considering moving the MS Access database into Zoho. Has anyone here done that with an Access database?

    The team is also looking at products like eSHOW and Attendee Interactive, but in a lot of ways it feels like overkill and they'd be happy with a cloud-based Access if such a thing existed.

    Note: I'm cross-posting this in the Data, IT Decision Makers and the General Community forums.

    Thanks, All!

    Jessica Daniels
    American Epilepsy Society
    Chicago, IL

  • 2.  RE: Outgrown MS Access - seeking alternatives

    Posted Nov 02, 2018 13:26

    We're not using that sort of software, but have you considered moving the data to a central server for everyone to access? That may be a decent interim solution if you've got someone to set it up. Our current setup is a SQL server backend that hosts all the data with linked tables in the Access file. Then an ODBC connection on the local machines so that the MS Access frontend can reach the server. You could use MySQL instead of SQL and save some $$ on the license. It would require everyone to be on-premises when accessing the materials, and access via a VPN can be a little slow.


    We also use Peters Software Application Starter to ensure that everyone has the latest copy of the frontend with any updated forms or reports.


    We're mid-migration to the cloud though, so I can totally understand the desire to find something else.




    Michael Hofrichter, Esq. |  Operations and Compliance Director | Staff Attorney

    Houston Volunteer Lawyers  | 1111 Bagby, Suite FLB 300 | Houston, Texas 77002 | 713.275.0147



  • 3.  RE: Outgrown MS Access - seeking alternatives

    Posted Nov 05, 2018 13:48
    Hi Jessica!

    I think @Andrea Post has some valuable insight with this; she may have some great ideas​!

    Tristan Penn (pronouns: he/him)
    Community Engagement Manager, NTEN
    503-272-8761 | @NTENorg

  • 4.  RE: Outgrown MS Access - seeking alternatives

    Posted Nov 08, 2018 11:13
    Thanks for these recommendations. I'll share them with my colleagues.

    Truth be told, I'm moving to a different organization so I've started these threads that my colleagues can look through later.

    Jessica Daniels
    American Epilepsy Society
    Chicago, IL