Bad Data = Bad System

In over 17 years of consulting, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation similar to this one:

Client: “Our database sucks.”

Me: “What makes you say that?”

Client: “The data is bad. I pull a list of board members and I see lots of errors.”

Me: “Why is the data bad?”

Client: “Because the database sucks.”

The reality is, for many users, bad data = a bad system. All the user cares about is having good data and being able to access that data easily. Another reality is that “better” technology won’t necessarily fix bad data. Bad data occurs for lots of reasons, not the least of which is bad processes and/or poor management of the database.

So when your staff is complaining that the database doesn’t work, dig deeper and find out what they really mean. It’s highly unlikely that “bad technology” is causing bad data (although better technology may make management of the data easier and more effective and efficient).

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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