Microsoft Access Roadmap to Maturity

Background & Key Terms

4 Domain Architectures

A Microsoft Access database application contains 4 domain architectures:

  1. Data Architecture
  2. Application Architecture
  3. Technical Architecture
  4. Business Architecture

A 5th domain is tracked as a capability within the organization

      5. Change Management – an organization level capability.


Gaps within the MS Access Ecosystem:

Within the three pillars which make up the MS  Access ecosystem (business customers, consultants, and ms access technology itself) the technology gap has but a handful of product suppliers.

1. Within in the technology Gap microsoft Access has desired future and State is most often tailed with products like Microsoft sql server, Oracle or MySQL with no clear migration path. The path to application modernization is even less clear then the database modernization path.

The other gap to mention is between Microsoft Corporation with it’s 1 trillion dollar market capitalization and the small to mid-size business customers (SMB’s) which use it’s products. Microsoft partners are positioned to help fill this Gap armed with little more than low-cost soft licensing from Microsoft and no real guidance or introduction.

2. Within the consultant (professional services) gap lies a hodgepodge of junior to very senior Access programmers with a varying degree of expertise. However, what these Consultants lack in a formal computer science fundamentals more often than not they make up for in their seasoned business knowledge and experience and ability to establish rapport with business customers.

3. Within the ms-access ecosystem, within the business customer, the gap exists and is comprised of a lack of skills and experience performing both vendor selection or product selection. The concept of buy-vs-built and the critical thinking needed determine which business processes warrant IT investment is beyond the abilities of most small to mid-sized (SMBs) but no formal chief Information officer (CIO).

The Microsoft Access roadmap to maturity framework provides an established and proven protocol for addressing each of the gaps within the three pillars which make up the Microsoft Access ecosystem.

3 Support Services

At the highest level, every custom Microsoft Access database application requires three support services:

  1. Supporting the existing application (bug fixes).
  2. Develop of new business requirements or enhancements.
  3. Modernization and migrations to more robust technologies.

As an application matures, it requires less and less support from each of the 3 support services.

Using a triage approach, our priority is to insure the existing Microsoft Access database application is supportable and decide if any emergency procedures are needed to insure the business functions it supports remain operational. To accomplish this, we perform an assessment. The assessment measures the application within each of the 4 domain architectures including the maturity of the change management process.

Application Maturity Roadmap

Help4Access has developed a standard treatment protocol for the modernization of any Microsoft Access database application. This protocol is described in detail within a document titled “Help4Access – Microsoft Access Roadmap to Maturity™” H4AMAR2M.

The H4AMAR2M describes the characteristics of each of the 4 domain architectures as they mature through each of the 5 maturity levels.





Planning – The Assessment – Finding the current state

Service Item #3 – Modernizations and Migrations
The initial assessment grades the Microsoft Access database application in each of the 4 domain architectures and the maturity of its change management process with respect to Microsoft Access development. Grades range from 0 to 5. These grades are then averaged to come up with a GPA or grade point average for the entire Microsoft Access database application and the organization’s change management process.

We typical see new client database applications scoring a GPA of 1.5 and need immediate support for critical business functions. The bulk of our work occurs nurturing an application from a GPA of 1.5 to a more stable GPA of 3.0 or 3.5. Only 5% of all Microsoft Access database application every need to achieve a maturing rating grater then 3.5.

The assessment establishes the current maturity level of the database application, after which time we can determine what the next steps are in the future state by simply examining the body of the H4AMAR2M which describes the treatment plan for each domain architectures acting as a roadmap to maturity.




















Many of the milestones within the H4AMAR2M leverage tools and programming utilities developed at Help4Access to programmatically perform much of the heavy lifting required to implement the milestone.

It’s important to incrementally nurture an application toward maturity and not try to take too big a jump forward such as moving from maturity level 0 to maturity level 3. Such non-incremental jumps are higher risk and often incur higher financial costs. In general, we recommend staying within the Microsoft Access technology as long as possible nurturing the solution forward incrementally and making those transitions to the next level of maturity only when absolutely necessary.

Service Item #1 – Support and bug fixes
During the assessment for the above service item #3 Modernizations and Migrations, a list of bugs is often found from within the system and/or directly by talking with key stakeholders involved in the often-informal change management process.

Service Item #2 – Enhancements
During the assessment for the above service item #3 Modernizations and Migrations, key stakeholders often identify or supply a wish list of new feature requests.

(Sasha: Continue to refine page from source document “03b SOW 2-IMPORTANT.docx”)

Thoughts on 10/17/2020…

The Microsoft Access roadmap to maturity


Microsoft Access’s mission is to provide business users access-ibility to their data.


Having been originally developed and deployed by Microsoft Corporation in 1992 the basic rapid application development platform foundation remains in essence largely unchanged underline the fact that it’s value proposition meet the needs a small to medium-sized (SMB) business worldwide.


Small to medium-sized businesses pivot and evolve to changing economic environment and their software Solutions must change and adapt also.


Microsoft Access Remains the world’s most popular customizable database application software filling the gap between software-as-a-service, commercial off-the-shelf and manual office operations.


The three pillars at the Microsoft Access ecosystem are the customers, the consultants in the technology.


All of the actors in the Microsoft Access ecosystem are very intelligent but in order to sustain the environment wisdom needs to be developed.


Over the past 30 years new consultants and new customers have come to rely on Microsoft Access their evolving systems in different levels of maturity have come across same problems requiring many different consultants to develop Technical Solutions.


The Technical Solutions developed these access Consultants are not unique and neither are their Solutions but why does each consultant have to reinvent for a problem that’s being ants all over and over again before?


And other Technologies the manufacturer but hold solutions to adhere to a set of standards and guidelines and Frameworks to be adopt what into the base code that the application. This professional software development methodology doesn’t exist in the open world development atmosphere within the Microsoft Access ecosystem.


There are many websites on the internet for Consultants to get answers to technical questions but there is no framework or repository from which they can derive a proper road map from maturing and modernizing a Microsoft access database.


It is my intention to develop a framework too much to assess the maturity of any Microsoft access database application; define the characteristics of its future solution architecture; and there by using the established roadmap have a detailed description of the features required to take the access solution from current state to Future state.


Thomas Jefferson once said, ” vision Without execution is delusion.”  meaning, knowing the proper incremental steps to take from the current state to the Future state well result in failure.


The Microsoft Access roadmap to maturity is a framework used to assess the current state, identify the desired future state demonstrating the incremental feature enhancements required to increase the likelihood of successfully reaching the future state.


The detail steps described in the Microsoft Access roadmap to maturity contain reusable solution building blocks microsoft Access vba code which can be into in a Microsoft access database application.


The Microsoft Access roadmap to maturity framework takes the idea of high code reuse used in commercial software development, and provides a reusable framework designed to assess and develop road map for maturity with reusable code blocks along the way.


The Microsoft Access roadmap to maturity is an Enterprise level approach to solving tactical technical issues.


This allows Microsoft Access to gain acceptance in Enterprise it and further enhances its ability to complete its mission of enabling innovation by leveraging technology and giving users access to their data.