In my book, Put Your Data to Work: 52 Tips and Techniques for Effectively Managing Your Database, tip #25 is “Create and regularly execute data integrity reports.” The point of the tip is that data integrity reports can help you identify potential data problems within your database and are an excellent method for proactively keeping your data accurate.
I’ve been working recently with a client on a needs analysis as they begin the process of identifying a new association management system. I was so very pleased to learn that they have over 50(!!!) data integrity reports that they run on a periodic basis, to keep their data clean. Here’s just a sampling of what they check for:
- bad US zip code
- duplicate areas of interest
- all cap or all lower case names and/or addresses
- multiple orders for the same journal
- duplicate committee membership
- foreign addresses with no country code
What’s great about data integrity reports is that they can alert you to a data error before it becomes problematic. For example, from the list above, if you’ve got a bad zip code, that could delay or even stop a piece of mail from being delivered. Another example: If someone is listed twice in a committee, that may cause embarrassment to your association.
So ask yourself: What kind of data integrity reports should your organization be running? And if you aren’t using them now, what are you waiting for?