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Computer Questions for Ministry Growth Series
Do You Do "Care" for Your Data ?
As we employ technology to provide our information services to our ministries, we sometimes are focused on pushing ahead to solve immediate problems and overlook the "care and feeding" of our systems - - including their contents.
What "housekeeping" are you doing for your database ?
Our ministry "information storehouses" also need "housekeeping" care on a regular basis. There is stuff getting in (simply because people are fallible) that will dirty it up. There are omissions that leave holes in our conversations with our constituents - - sometimes making it look like we as a ministry do not care about the details of this person.
How often do you check for duplicates in your ministry's contact database ?
Do you have simple low-cost ways to check that certain parts of addresses make sense ?
Can you identify the records modified recently in order to do a visual spot-check ?
As you examine your data, you should be able to identify various combinations that should either appear or not-appear. You should be able to define when something is "missing". You should be able to define when something is "extraneous".
Most times the best data-checking tool is found between the ears of the ministry staff. They begin to become acquainted with and (hopefully) to know the people represented by the contact records.
Do you encourage your staff to "be on the look-out for" items in the records that should be researched or verified ?
Generally the technology that underlies your database also provides tools for maintaining a clean and consistent storage of the data. The operating system and utilities programs associated with it provide additional tools for protecting and preserving your information.
Are you using the "clean-up", "repair" and/or "compact" features of your system ?
Are you backing-up your data regularly ?
Are you backing-up your data every day/night ?
How much data and work loss are you willing to allow ?
Does a copy of the database/system backup get taken away from the premises to a safe place ?
Have you outlined the various "failures" that could lead to data loss ?
Have you prepared for the realistic potential failures ?
To learn more or to arrange for assistance, see the Contact Page.
(c) 2006 David McQuoid
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