Database Design, Development & Improvement

We handle database projects with an eye to designing and implementing systems that people will use effectively. When working with your employees learn all relevant techniques, methods and processes to make your Information Technology investment pay off; transfer of technology is always a key element of our services.

SophiTEC has developed numerous database applications and decision support systems for the engineering, manufacturing, legal, business, medical, and non-profit sectors.

Database Design

After more than 25 years of business, industrial and academic experience in both the architecture and design of databases has the experience, knowledge and insight to discover, implement and maintain solutions that work. For instance we have extensively used entity-relationship formalism and associated design tools to represent data models. Our design process produces the conceptual model for the database, an external model for each application and physical implementation documents (or source files) using DBMS specific Data Description Language (DDL).

Before designing a database we look at the functions that the system must perform and the characteristics that it must possess. This kind of analysis can lead to a re-engineering of the Client’s business process itself. The result is often overall improvements in and across business functions. Specifically, our areas of expertise include data processing for accounting, finance, payroll, order management and production plants (including real-time databases), electronic design and development, as well as applications for large retail stores, engineering activities and for service industries such as real estate, financial services, marketing, advertising and legal offices.

Database Development

SophiTEC people are experienced with all major Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) including Oracle, Sybase, Ingres, DEC RDBMS, Watcom and Access on UNIX, VAX VMS and Windows platforms. Database development includes all aspects of physical implementation (table design, index, extensive use of integrity constraints through primary keys, foreign keys and triggers), the initial or test load of the database, the actual development of the applications using traditional embedded programming techniques (C++, C, FORTRAN), homogeneous development environments (database supplier programming tools) or client server environment (UNIX/MS-Windows, Oracle/PowerBuilder or Visual Basic).

Database Improvement & Optimization

SophiTEC is often called to resolve major issues on existing systems including low performance, poor data integrity and partial or global database re-engineering. Our first step is gaining a thorough understanding of the dissatisfaction, after which we diagnose the problem, using methods that include:

Actual measurements at system and/or application level and recommendations to improve the database at architecture level, index, application and data levels to pinpoint and resolve difficulties.

SophiTEC considers managing and then leading the corrective actions with the client’s and/or consultant’s specialists as part of our job. We always provide our client’s management with final reports clearly showing the improvements and actual changes made during the course of the project.

Expert Systems Development

Expert systems are computer applications that simulate the reasoning and behavior of a human expert. Such systems allow non-specialists to perform as if they had expert advice at hand. These applications can assist at many points in the decision-making process.

SophiTEC has designed, developed and implemented Expert Systems in a variety of application domains (such as Human Resources, decision support, legal, engineering, production and medical) for small and large, profit and non-profit organizations. We have worked with several expert system technologies as well as more traditional computer technologies including database, artificial intelligence or complex algorithms.

Custom Services

SophiTEC can help with information technology (IT) problems in two ways: Off-site development and the SWAT Team approach. Our goal is always to provide whatever IT services may be required to get the job done. Complete software projects, implementation of new technologies, customization, integration and maintenance of custom or commercial software packages are all available when you partner with us.

Off-site software development

Off-site software development provides numerous benefits. This special service option allows Client’s company to access additional resources – people, equipment, office space and know-how without the burdens of installing equipment or hiring and training a supplemental workforce.

The Three Phases of an Off-site Project

  1. Phase 1 – Specification: The specification phase includes precisely defining the objectives of the project, the main functions of the application, and the architecture of the system (generally referred to as “project requirements”). This phase also defines detailed software specifications, test plans, acceptance tests and software documentation requirements. This Phase One is often performed on a time and materials basis and may represent 20% to 30% of the total development cost. This first phase is especially important when the development itself (Phase Two) is made on a fixed price basis, providing a precise definition of the agreement. Even if detailed specifications are already defined, this phase is still necessary to ensure that your requirements are well understood by the team.
  2. Phase 2 – Development: The development begins as soon as agreed upon specific resources that the project may require are made available such as test data, special equipment, process facilitators and access to both human and technical information sources. provides bi-weekly progress reports allowing a detailed evaluation of the evolution of the project. Several development milestones agreed on in Phase One confirm progress toward the end goals.
  3. Phase 3 – Installation/integration: During this phase, the product is delivered and tested using the pre-defined acceptance procedure. This third phase may include integration within the client’s computer system or organization, a technology transfer to the internal resources, system and/or user training, user documentation, and if applicable, a pre-defined maintenance period begins at this juncture.

In most circumstances, off-site projects can accommodate confidential requirements even better than internal projects. For example, has completed off-site projects involving advanced technologies, or those addressing human resource management issues, marketing policies or profit and loss (P&L) data. Evaluating the following criteria may help you determine how to move forward with an off-site project.

Development on a fixed cost basis is NOT a Good Idea when…

  • technological risks are involved.
  • project objectives may evolve while intermediate milestones are reached.
  • development requires a constant interaction with an evolving internal system.
  • Development on fixed cost basis is an Excellent Idea when…
  • the project is well-defined
  • the project has precisely defined boundaries

The SWAT Team Approach

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures
Have you faced a crucial professional situation in which time is of the essence? Meeting a critical deadline, reacting quickly to an unexpected attack from the competition, immediately implementing a mandate from corporate staff or quickly developing a computer application to take advantage of a very profitable opportunity, within a very short time frame are all examples of such situations.

A SWAT Team’s success lies in the cohesion, motivation and overall ability of the team complemented by the vision of the team leader. SWAT Team Project Leaders are always senior consultants who have worked with us on several projects. When well orchestrated, diverse experiences among team members often lead to novel solutions and technology break through.

SophiTEC selects SWAT Team members based on education and training, a wide variety of experiences, including successes and failures, and a proven mastery of the technologies involved. We then assemble and organize this team of high level consultants who combine the necessary skills and understand both the business and technology sides of the project.

At the end of the project a complete transfer of technology can be provided to ensure that the newly acquired benefits will be retained, maintained, and improved by the Client. When a business situation goes with comments such as, “That’s a great idea – but we can’t move that fast,” a SWAT Team is the best answer.