Inertia Contributes to Bad Data

Inertia Contributes to Bad Data

Without knowing anything about your organization or its data, I'd be willing to bet you have data in your system that you are no longer actively managing/using (e.g., data that was collected long ago for some initiative at the time) or, worse yet, actively collecting data that you aren't actually using (e.g., demographic data collected during membership join process).

In both cases, one of the contributing factors to why this is happening is inertia. That is, once we've started collecting data, we continue to collect it, just because we always have. Or once we've collected data, we continue to keep it on a record, even though it's not being used (because it's easier to just leave it there than it is to clean it out).

I once worked with a client on a data management project. In the course of the project, we identified several data fields within the database that no one could really explain. Finally, one staff person pointed out that, in each case, a prior marketing director had asked to collect the data. Then that marketing director left, a new one came in, and asked for different data. And then a third marketing director did the same thing. The result? Five years later, lots of data that no one is actually using.

No organization is immune to this. It requires intentional action to clean up data that is no longer being used, and intentional action to identify business processes that are collecting data that never gets touched.

What actions are you taking to keep your data clean? Don't let inertia win.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

The challenge the AMS providers see

April 7, 2021

The challenge the AMS providers see Over the years I’ve asked AMS providers what they …

The challenge the AMS providers see Read More »

Be careful about “solutioning” too quickly

March 31, 2021

Be careful about “solutioning” too quickly One of the great things about software developers is …

Be careful about “solutioning” too quickly Read More »

What’s our next action?

March 24, 2021

What’s our next action? As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time in …

What’s our next action? Read More »

Don’t automate for the sake of automation

March 17, 2021

Don’t automate for the sake of automation I’m the laziest person in the world. I …

Don’t automate for the sake of automation Read More »

Don’t forget about what got better

March 10, 2021

Don’t forget about what got better Negativity bias is the tendency to focus on only …

Don’t forget about what got better Read More »

Give a little at a time rather than taking away

March 3, 2021

Give a little at a time rather than taking away I’m sure there’s research somewhere …

Give a little at a time rather than taking away Read More »

First, you gotta have the data

February 17, 2021

First, you gotta have the data When I work with clients on a new AMS …

First, you gotta have the data Read More »

Work on your relationship with your AMS vendor

February 10, 2021

Work on your relationship with your AMS vendor It is no coincidence that my most …

Work on your relationship with your AMS vendor Read More »

Dashboards for Data Integrity

February 3, 2021

Dashboards for Data Integrity I’ve written a bunch on data integrity reports. (Click here for …

Dashboards for Data Integrity Read More »

Next-to-Nothing Goals

January 27, 2021

Next-to-Nothing Goals I saw a Ted Talk by Christine Carter recently discussing the concept of …

Next-to-Nothing Goals Read More »

Scroll to Top