I came across questions in few forums asking what is the best source of storing data; SharePoint list or SQL Server. But you may think there are other options such as excel, access, etc.
Typically end users creating SharePoint lists and libraries with any columns or data structures as they like with no solid process behind it when capturing values. You have Access databases which basically allows us to scale up the application and be able to create linked table structures with management of how to move forward with continuity and support of the Access database then you have SQL Server database management system the industry standard managed by Database Administrators which will rely on meeting business requirements to contain as database solution.
The other perspective to consider is the data volumes that you’ll be holding in each of these database environments and that coverage can range from Excel (65000 rows) to SharePoint lists (50 million items) but it warns at about 3000 item limit. The security and compliance context for data has to be taken into account since the users will only want to focus on gaining value from their data.
The importance of data access – how the data is accessed? who will need to access data? and understand the implications should that data be recorded to online storage platforms (sharing, reporting, etc.) and also the situations where the mobility of workforce dealing with data part of the business process if you use of the SharePoint workflows, Excel services, Access services.
Finally with regards to control and flexibility the corporate environment may limit the use of Access software or any other database tools whereby the end-user would only be faced with the office applications such as Excel, SharePoint List or custom database solutions. Of course there is also the options of cloud and third-party online data storage tools.
I hope the above points help you to consider where to store the data!