Success, not perfection, with your database

A colleague of mine asked me, at what point do you say: “Our database is good enough? We don’t need to keep upgrading?”

I think that’s a fair question. And I think the answer lies in whether or not you’re achieving success with your current system.

Fact is, I’m a big geek. I love technology bells and whistles as much as (or more than) the next guy. But the reality is, very often, we don’t need all those bells and whistles in order to achieve our objectives. So in order to answer the question of “Is our database good enough?” we need to know what our objectives are, and we need to know how to measure if we’re achieving those objectives.

The majority of my clients are accomplishing some things well, while missing other things that they’d like to improve upon. So they’re successful to a point, but want to be more successful. That’s an admirable goal. But in all cases, they must be clear on what they’re trying to achieve; simply upgrading “because you can” isn’t necessarily the smartest move.

So ask yourself: Do you understand the objectives of your database? And are you achieving them? Are you pursuing success rather than perfection?

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, 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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