It's Time for a New Database... (An EALS Post)
Posted by Mar 09, 2012
I work for a nonprofit organization where my title is the incredibly glamorous "Administrative Assistant and Database Coordinator."
Sometimes when talking myself up I like to say I'm the "Database Manager" as it sounds slightly more important. A couple months ago, my management was questioned when on a development call with the board chair the following bomb was casually dropped, "It's time for a new database."
I sat on the other end of the phone in horror. Sure, our database currently has lots of problems, but that's not because of the program, it's because of the data.
We have data imported from Sales Force, Sphere, Excel, Access, Oasis, Giftworks...the list is never ending.
The worst part of all: all this data was input, coded, and organized in different ways by different people. I am the Database Coordinator for a database to which at least seven different individuals currently access over 20 years of data. I spend a majority of my time cleaning up bad data, reorganizing and coding current data, and being contacted by upset staff who don't understand why their 19 slightly different codes were combined into a single one.
Bad data = bad database! Importing it into a new one isn't going to make it any better.Read More