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The SQL Server Module


There are two choices of backend database for Professional Quest - Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server. Many users find a Microsoft Access backend database to be sufficient for their needs - the database can cope with many thousand records, no additional software is needed, and you do not even need the full Microsoft Access product installed. Note that this version simply uses a Microsoft Access compatible database - the software is not written in Access, it just uses an Access compatible database for storing survey responses.

You would only start considering using SQL Server if the limitations of Microsoft Access are sufficient to remove it as a viable option for your surveys.

The key limitations to consider are as follows:

A maximum of 245 questions may be asked in a single survey
Slow performance for 10,000+ reponses in a single survey
Web responses must be periodically downloaded and imported into your survey project (not "real-time")
Data changes (such as adding of respondents, or relationships in a 360° survey) are difficult once a survey is "live"

SQL Server provides a number of benefits beyond the obvious increase in security and robustness that comes with a corporate database. Note that to use a SQL Server backend with Professional Quest, a SQL Server licence must be purchased (in addition to purchasing the SQL Server module in Quest). Key advantages of using SQL Server are:

Question limit of over 1000 questions per questionnaire
Data is available in "real time" for reports and enquiries
All project changes (eg. adding logins) are in real-time
All data is stored in a single database (each project has a separate set of tables)

A diagrammatic representation of how SQL Server can be used within an organisation is shown below. Note that use of SQL Server is optimal when the SQL Server and the Web Server are at the same location as the Professional Quest users. The SQL Server and Web Server can be remote, but Professional Quest Users would connect to the SQL Server across the internet. In such cases, it is important for the Quest user to have a fast and reliable internet connection. If your Web Server is not on site, and your internet connection is slow or unreliable, Access provides a more suitable fit to your situation.

A Professional Quest project that runs using a SQL Server backend features “real-time” data collection and project updates. There is no need for importing of data, and other tasks, such as adding users or relationships while a survey is running, becomes much easier. The lack of the importing and synchronisation issues ensure the chances of losing data are non-existent. Real-time project management is particularly useful for 360° Feedback surveys - if a new review subject, third-party or relationship needs to be added to the project, it can be added in the Professional Quest Project Manager, and it is immediately available in the Web survey.

If you would like more information about the SQL Server module in Professional Quest, contact us.

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Professional Quest 2011 Released
Dipolar is pleased to announce the release of Professional Quest 2011. New question styles, security enhancements and panel integration make this a significant update that benefits from our ongoing development of the software.

The software will be available to existing users immediately.
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