If you collect data, you must also maintain it

One of the joys of today’s database technology is that it makes it exceedingly easy to collect data. Put an online form, or add a field to a member profile, and <BAM>, you’re collecting a new data point, just like that!

But it’s important to keep in mind that, by implication, if you collect data in your database, you must also maintain that data in your database. In other words, with very rare exception, most data points are data points that may change over time.

For example, do you have food allergies? Yes, I do now, but I may not later.

So just collecting a new data point isn’t enough. You must also have a process for allowing your members and customers to update that data as appropriate.

So before you jump into adding yet another field of data to collect, make sure you’ve thought through how you’ll maintain that data over time.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, 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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