When questioned on an NPR survey, approximately 75 percent of respondents thought they had a healthy diet, and yet, we also hear that more than 80 percent of Americans don’t eat the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies. We know that an unhealthy diet can have some bad results. But did you ever stop to think that a bad data diet could also yield some pretty horrific results?

“Garbage in, garbage out’’ is an old computer programmer’s saying that means that if the data inputs are bad, the outputs will be bad, too. Just as we need to eat a healthy diet to maintain our energy, so too must our CRM systems receive a “healthy diet” of clean data in order to produce good outputs. For your CRM system, that means accurate lists and marketing data that performs to expectations. “Clean eating” for a computer means clean data or data that conform to rigorous data guidelines. When good data goes in, great CRM comes out.

The Golden CRM Rule of Data Rules

Rules add structure to CRM systems to ensure that the inputs are formatted in a way to generate consistent and valuable outputs. Documenting, training others, and following CRM rules are important steps in the CRM process.

To start creating your own set of data rules, start by documenting your company’s unique processes and needs. Gather a team consisting of frequent database users to start the project. These should be the team members who will use the CRM system the most. The people who need to pull data out of the system must agree on how data are entered into it in order to build a consistent and effective system.

What’s in a Naming Convention?

The bane of any database team’s existence is establishing naming conventions. Naming conventions refer to the names by which you’ll call specific pieces of data. From naming conventions comes the data dictionary, which is the guide that everyone in the company can refer to in order to ensure that data entry is consistent and accurate. Although working through naming conventions can be a tedious process, it is also vital. This work guides database use throughout the company.

As you work through the naming conventions, you’ll also be working through the discussion of what data you should capture and include in the database. Keep in mind that if you don’t set up a naming convention and a data field for information from the start of your project, it may be difficult to create it later, and you could miss some valuable customer data.

Name the Enforcer

The enforcer sounds like the name of the newest Marvel superhero, but it’s actually the name used for the person whose job it is to enforce the database rules you’re writing. You can have all the rules and regulations in place that you need, but if no one is tasked with enforcing them, the database will quickly become cluttered with unimportant data.

In addition to choosing someone who can make sure that the rules are followed, you should also lay out the steps to address what happens if someone doesn’t follow the rules. By creating these guidelines as a team or group with representatives from key departments, you’ll get better buy-in from the rest of the company. This will help people adhere to the guidelines and respect the process.

Healthy Data Diets With Accounting Systems, Inc.

If your data could use its own version of a nutrition coach, Accounting Systems, Inc. is the place to turn. We’ll help you find the right software solution and tailor a data “diet” that meets all your company’s data nutrition requirements. It’s time to get your data in shape. Contact ASI today and see how easy it is to get data fit.