Managing data is difficult. It takes time. It can be tedious. And it’s a never-ending task.

So it’s very important to be sure we’re not making the management of data even more difficult by virtue of the business rules we have constructed.

For example, I worked with one association who had such convoluted business rules for joining the association that it usually took staff five minutes on the phone just explaining which membership type a potential member qualified for and what the membership fee would be. This wasn’t time selling, mind you, just time explaining.

As a result of these incredibly complex membership rules, joining online is exceedingly difficult, as is processing dues and dues renewals. Much custom programming is required to address all the nuances of membership.

The worst part of this scenario is that this is all self-inflicted. The association set these rules; they were not forced upon them by government or some other all-powerful force.

So look around your organization. Where do you have data management challenges? Are any of those challenges because of business rules that the association has complete control over? Very often the answer is “Yes.”

The good news is, if it’s self-inflicted, you can fix it. If you’re willing to.