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Success, not perfection, with your database
7 October 2010, by , in Data Management, No comments

A colleague of mine asked me, at what point do you say: “Our database is good enough? We don’t need to keep upgrading?”

I think that’s a fair question. And I think the answer lies in whether or not you’re achieving success with your current system.

Fact is, I’m a big geek. I love technology bells and whistles as much as (or more than) the next guy. But the reality is, very often, we don’t need all those bells and whistles in order to achieve our objectives. So in order to answer the question of “Is our database good enough?” we need to know what our objectives are, and we need to know how to measure if we’re achieving those objectives.

The majority of my clients are accomplishing some things well, while missing other things that they’d like to improve upon. So they’re successful to a point, but want to be more successful. That’s an admirable goal. But in all cases, they must be clear on what they’re trying to achieve; simply upgrading “because you can” isn’t necessarily the smartest move.

So ask yourself: Do you understand the objectives of your database? And are you achieving them? Are you pursuing success rather than perfection?

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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