Data Management is Everyone’s Responsibility

Data ManagementI meet with lots of clients that have staff assigned to manage the database. Membership or IT tends to have the responsibility for keeping member records up to date, updating contacts, maintaining demographic information, etc.

Most organizations limit what staff can access and edit because they’re afraid that records will be messed up. I say that data management should be everyone’s responsibility. This means:

  • The receptionist should be able to change company and individual records when he receives changes via phone or email.
  • Any staff member who interacts with members (and non-members) should take a moment to review the person’s record and verify data or request additional information. Imagine how much more information you’d have on members if every single staff asked members for a current title and their special interests.
  • CEOs and Senior Staff should be trained and empowered to make changes to the database, including updating key contacts and entering notes about their conversations and interactions with members.
  • Meeting staff can update member phone numbers and emails, not just registration data, since they talk to so many people!

So how do you ensure your data will be correct? You can’t ever have perfect data but you’re more likely to have good, accurate data if:

  • You allow more staff to correct the database when they see errors or outdated information.
  • You provide regular training on how to use your database.
  • You have data integrity standards that you train to and reinforce on a regular basis. For example, one of our clients provides training on all the salutations used in their field, how to spell them properly, and when to use them. (I remember a former boss saying to me, “once an Honorable, always an Honorable.)
  • You run reports regularly that show you changes to the database so you can both spot check AND identify changes that should be kicked upstairs. For example, if an admin gets a call to remove X person from the company roster and X happens to be the company’s primary contact, that change should be kicked upstairs to the membership department or a senior staffer.

Isn’t it time to make data management a company-wide initiative and responsibility?

Joanna Pineda

About Joanna Pineda

Joanna’s business card reads CEO/Chief Troublemaker for a reason. She relishes a challenge and introduces change wherever she goes. She knows anything is possible and that clients come to Matrix to hear "Yes", not "No." Matrix is purple because of Joanna. Staff like to call her JP.

2 thoughts on “Data Management is Everyone’s Responsibility

  1. Joanna, great post and I agree wholeheartedly. The key to this happening is that it has to come from the top (call it culture). That is, from the CEO on down, the importance of keeping the data up-to-date has to consistently emphasized. Where my clients do this best, the CEO/ED is completely engaged, not necessarily in updating data him or herself, but making sure that staff KNOWS he or she cares about the data!

  2. Good post. Having well managed, clean data is the key to effective data management. There is so much great work being done with data quality and data linkage tools in various industries such as financial services and health care. It will be interesting to see the impact of these changes down the road.

    Linda Boudreau
    Data Ladder

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