In the realm of Microsoft Access, the term "automation" has two meanings. First, it's used to describe the computerization of a process where Access self-regulates a procedure based on predetermined requirements you supply. It's also used to define the means of manipulating another application's objects with the use of Access Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). In the context of this book, the term automation involves the former.
Access provides you with two key methods of automating your analytical processes: macros and VBA. This chapter focuses on using macros to automate your processes and run batch analysis on your data. Why should you care? Well, leveraging macro functionality is not just a cool way to use Access, it offers the following advantages:
Higher productivity: Just because you have the skills to analyze data in Access doesn't mean you have the time. With automation, you can have Access carry out redundant analyses and recurring analytical processes, leaving you free to work on other tasks.
Quality control: Human beings make mistakes. The more you touch a set of analyses, the greater the chance there is for errors. Automation takes humans (you) out of the equation.
Reproducibility: There's an old quip among data analysts: "It's okay to produce the wrong answer, as long as you produce the same wrong answer consistently." Although you obviously don't want to produce a wrong answer, the point is you want to be able to reproduce ...