Airtable: Base Building and Data Migration 101

Databases can be complex or straightforward. However, even if you have an extensive database filled with information, it is essentially useless if you cannot work with it. Airtable is unique in that the platform has the performance power to handle data as no other software system has before.

Better than spreadsheets – one of the most significant benefits of Airtable is its ability to put your data in visual form. Unlike older systems which could be challenging to learn, managing a database with Airtable is easy. The system has a highly intuitive design, simple language, easy color schemes, and plenty of help icons. One of the best things about using Airtable as a database management tool is that it is customizable, versatile, and delivers far more as an all-over work tool than any other platform in the marketplace.

Table of Contents:

  1. Is Airtable a Database?
  2. The Basics of Bases
  3. How to Make an Airtable Base
  4. Data Migration Important Facts
  5. Getting Help with Bases and Data Migration

Is Airtable a Database?

Not quite. Airtable is a powerful relational database tool. It is also a work collaboration tool. It can also help automate workflows, manage customer contact, set goals, assign tasks, and so much more. It could be the real "everything platform" that we have all wanted. This SaaS platform offers robust free versions or low monthly costs, and you can use it to track inventories, plan events, track time, assign tasks, communicate with coworkers, and automate those marketing emails you hate sending. Sounds great!

Airtable is an exceptional option to manage your data. Today your data may be stored on a server or other legacy system. Its clunky, difficult to access, and often limited in its accuracy. Employees are not able to get data and see changes in real-time. If your goal is to reach the top of any market in 2022, you need to deliver real-time, accurate data. You can work with data migration specialists to ensure your data is moved onto Airtable quickly, accurately, and securely. In cloud-centered Airtable, your database will be transformed into "bases," a term used on the platform. Bases can be analyzed independently or compared to or combined with other bases.

The Basics of Bases

Jumping onto any new platform isn't easy. However, that is one of the benefits of Airtable. It has a very easy-to-learn interface and integrates well with all the software and work tools you use regularly. Using this platform can be much easier than traditional spreadsheets. There are limitations to data comprehension when viewing the information in a grid format. Airtable brings spreadsheets and databases into the present. With Airtable, you can create reports, analyses, and charts. You can go beyond tradition and view data in a gallery, a Gantt chart, a calendar, or a timeline. It brings your data to life.

When you first log in to your Airtable platform, there are a few basic terms that you might want to know.

  • Your Workspace – When you first open your software, you will find workspaces listed. You will see icons grouped under the workspace title. Each title holds all the data you and your team are currently collaborating on. You can share projects with other collaborators and coworkers in a workspace. You can have single workspaces and shared workspaces. Shared workspaces are perfect for teams and small businesses. Workspaces are even great for families. Airtable at home allows for trip planning, communication, and household task management. To start a new workspace, scroll to the bottom and click 'New Workspace.'
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  • Bases – Short for databases, bases hold data specific to a workspace. A workspace can have multiple bases. All the data you need to complete a task or any business process is contained within a base. Bases can be intended for an individual project, several, or hold all the data needed for company workflow processes.
  • Airtable Universe – Airtable Universe is an interactive, well-documented Airtable forum for users. You can find templates, post questions, get ideas and find more great uses for your data platform. You can even find a list of topics and easily find ideas that best suit your business services or marketplace.

These are the basics to get started. Next, it is your data, and you need a place to interact with your data and a great community of others who use or develop with Airtable. So now that you're more comfortable with some foundational knowledge, let's make your first base.

When you click on your workspace of choice, the actions are intuitively similar if you want to add a new base. Scroll to the bottom and click 'Add Base.'

How to Make an Airtable Base

Everyday use of this platform is to improve workflow processes. When you decide which function you want to improve, task to assign, or project to complete, the first thing you will need to do is build a 'base.' If you are an old pro or if you have never used a database before, let's review how these basic terms are defined within Airtable.

  • Tables – A table groups items of the same type. Tables are comprised of records and fields.
  • Fields – In a 'Base,' a field is the same as a column. The contents of an entire column belong to the field.
  • Records – Records in a base are individual data entries.
  • SQL – This acronym is for Structured Query Language. Thanks to Airtable, it's a database programming language that you don't have to learn. On this platform, all the SQL is handled in the background by the system.
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When you are on your home screen, find the workspace to add the new base. First, click on the workspace, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and choose "New Base." At this point, you can start a new blank base, or you can select a template. A template is helpful in that the fields are set up, and it may include some data fields you may not have thought to store. For example, the above image is a template found on Airtable Universe. Dona McGray built it to track book recommendations.

After choosing which base type you want to create, you will be given an area to name your base. Your new base will appear on the screen as soon as you finish. You can look under 'Edit Base' to find style, color, and fonts options. You can also choose your icon; this is the image or button which will connect you to this newly created base.

Data Migration Important Facts

If you are a small business or large enterprise and want to move your data from legacy systems onto Airtable, this is called data migration. Data migration is a tense period for many IT departments and upper-level management. However, data is the source of your business. Data migration is a method of moving data from one system or location to a new or updated system. Most companies only do this type of large data migration when introducing a new system or platform to the workflow process.

A big move in recent years in the area of data migration has been from corporations who are moving to the cloud. These companies use specialists to help them move data from their old systems to a new cloud-based application. Moving data to the cloud can transform businesses as they realize their unique ability to access data in real-time and work with new applications.

The difficulty and risk that come along with data migration are due to the concept of data gravity. The concept has been around but has become a challenge as companies with extensive databases migrate their data to cloud infrastructures. This is because so many things occur to your data as you use it, compare it with other data, or add additional information to a record. Data gravity as a concept discussion includes several ideas.

  1. As your data grows, how does it attract other data?
  2. Understanding of how data is integrated into the company workflow.
  3. Discovering the trail of how information is customized or streamlined over time.

Top data research firm, Gartner, suggests 'disentangling' your data from all applications before moving it. The theory is that when you make time at the beginning of building the foundation of your new database, you can sort out any data handling issues your company may have been experiencing. By working with migration specialists, you move your data effectively and without loss, you can improve data management, enhance information governance, and increase application mobility. Data migration can be highly complex and involves many elements. It can include application design, workflow assessments, and customized data architecture. Nevertheless, administrators often take a sigh of relief when specialists address data migration.

Outside of the many advantages of working with your data on an upgraded platform, you will find benefits reach many areas. Managers witness other advantages when data is moved into next-generation applications on the cloud. Employees can focus more on relevant tasks, fuel growth, reduce expenses, increase agility, and develop higher job satisfaction. The benefits certainly outweigh the fear of losing a business's most valuable asset to outdated systems.

Getting Help with Bases and Data Migration

Data migration can be one of the most intense and essential moves a company makes to modernize. Due to the complicated nature of data migration and the importance placed on getting the migration done right the first time, it is recommended that you work with an expert data migration specialist or team that can help you with any of the three different types of migration.

  • Storage Migration - is the technical method used to move data from existing arrays onto modern systems. Initiating this changeover will deliver your company faster performance. It also enables cost-effective scalability. Your specialist will help you set up features like automatic backup, disaster recovery, cloning, and snapshots in time.
  • Application Migration – In this case, specialists move applications to new environments. This migration can be done in several different ways. It can mean moving the application to a new platform, a new on-site database, or the cloud.
  • Cloud Migration – Many companies that have recently undergone these changes have them in the works. In this instance, your data migration specialists will help move your data from your legacy system to the cloud.

DataCose has built one of the top data migration teams available. Our data specialists can help you extract, transform, and load data into its new system or format. Planning out the steps to handle data migration without an interruption in services requires experience. Contact our team of specialists by filling out the form below for a no-obligation review of your data migration needs. With our team - we will deliver a solid plan to improve, move, and protect your data.

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