This month, KSC has decided to focus on Database Maintenance. As we often learn too late, sometimes a little prevention can go a long way, and we want to provide you with the tools to develop good database usage habits sooner rather than later. Tune in this month for free articles on internal processes, duplicates, and backups.
For starters, let’s talk about proper field usage. The fields in your database are the labeled blank boxes into which you input your data. The first step to making sure you and your team are using your fields correctly is to have a conversation about how to use them. The goal is to have all database users on the same page about what gets inputted when and where.
For instance, if Bob has been putting secondary email addresses in a field on the notes tab, and Bonnie has been putting them in the important info field, it makes it very difficult to pull this information out in a search, or even for Bob or Bonnie to find each others’ data.
This brings me to my next point. If you have data that consistently needs to be entered, you should have a dedicated field for it. If you know you should be recording a contact’s favorite color, but you do not have a favorite color field, collecting that information in a uniform manner becomes a challenge. You should consider customizing your fields to match your needs, or else your database may become overwhelmed with disorganized data.
Similarly, we advise you to try to limit the amount of fields you include. It is important to remember that with each field comes the responsibility to fill it. If you decide you need 100 fields on each contact record, you will also need to decide who is responsible for filling out these fields. Additionally, with that many fields in existence, the database users may find it difficult to remember where all the data should go, or where certain fields are located, again leading to database disarray.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that using your database strategically will in turn create a source of data that is also a very reliable tool.
These are just a few ideas to help you keep your database running smoothly. If you would like an in-depth analysis of how you are using your database, call us at 847-520-0860 for information about our Strategic Business Reviews. And please don’t forget to check in next week for the continuation of Database Maintenance Month!
Have you added a field to your database? Which custom field do you find most useful?