“Is this normal?”

"Is this normal?"

ne of the greatest parts about my job is that I get to work with so many different associations, which means I see all kinds of things that most of my clients never see. It also means I have a very deep perspective on how often something does or does not happen with associations and data management.

One of the most common questions I hear from my clients is: "Is what we're experiencing typical?" And very often, the answer is "Yes, what you're experiencing is very typical of what many or even most associations experience." Here are several examples off the top of my head:

  • Duplicate records. Every single association struggles with this for many reasons, not the least of which is that members and customers themselves will often create duplicate records!
  • Bad data/old data/accumulation of data. The older your system (or data) is, the more likely you'll have bad data or data you're no longer using.
  • Poor or no documentation. Business rules change over time. Software interfaces change. Product lines come and go. All of which means documentation has to be updated.
  • Exceptions are everywhere. No matter how hard you try, you can't avoid them entirely.
  • Software vendors are having resourcing issues. It's a simple fact; most vendors have too much demand (too many customers with too many needs) and not enough supply (employees) to cover it.

And these are just a few off the top of my head.

My point is this: If you think you are experiencing something unique, test your belief by asking several of your colleagues or a consultant. You might find out that what you're experiencing is, in fact, very typical.

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