First, you gotta have the data

First, you gotta have the data

When I work with clients on a new AMS selection and we're discussing what they want to be able to do with a new system, it's very common to hear something like: "We want to be able to report on a range of demographics about our members." Early on in my consulting career I would typically respond with "Well, that shouldn't be a problem with the right technology."

But what I soon learned is that often the client wasn't saying "We need better technology," they were saying "We don't have that data yet." So now I'm smart enough to respond with "Is the problem that you don't have the data, or that you can't get it out of the system?"

I know it's stating the obvious, but if you want to report on some data or another, the first step is that you have to have the data in order to report on it.

And good technology will allow you to collect and report on that data. But you have to first have processes in place to collect the data.

And before you put those processes in place, you have to know what data you're going to collect, and you have to know how and where you're going to collect it.

And of course, never collect meaningless data.

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