MDR (Minimum Data Required)

MDR (Minimum Data Required)

I've written about minimum viable product (MVP) in software development in the past. MVP means getting the product out into the market with the least amount of features, in order to get customer feedback and to just get something out there.

A related concept in data management is minimum data required (MDR)*. The purpose of MDR is to make it as easy as possible for your customer to buy, and to make it easier for you to manage their data (since there is less data to manage!).

Simply put, MDR asks the question: "What is the minimum number of data points required to complete this transaction?" For example, when a new member comes to join via your website, what is the minimum amount of data required to process that new membership? This is going to vary from organization to organization, but in my experience, almost all associations collect more information than they actually need to process the new membership.

When I ran a customer service department in an association back in the '90s (effectively pre-internet), I used to joke that the most efficient transaction would be one where a person calls and says "I want that" and you already have all their contact and payment information on file, and the transaction is completed. (And then Amazon invented the "Buy Now" button!)

So look at all of your transactional processes, especially those online, and ask yourself "What is the minimum number of data points required to complete this transaction?" Whether it's membership joins, renewals, donations, event registrations, product purchases, or something else, make the process as simple as possible for the buyer.

Less data to manage is easier data to manage.

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