Is your data …

Complete?Do you store all of the data which you need? If not, is it because some required input fields are missing from your database, or is it because input fields are too small or set up for the wrong type of data input, or do you have input fields with drop-down lists of limited options which don’t include all of the input which you need?
Up to date?Do you know that all your data is current? Do you keep a record of when your data was last updated? Does your database automatically date tag new input and updates?
Accessible?Can you find the data you need and display it on screen or do you always view all records and all input fields and search through them to find what you are looking for?
Easy to use?Are your database screens intuitive? Can you navigate around your data easily and display what you need, or do you scroll round a massive spreadsheet or go through multiple menus to find what you need?
Analysed?Can you easily filter your records to display only those which are relevant, eg. by date, location, category. And when reporting can you filter the records to include only those which you need?
Efficient?Do you record everything you need, without duplication of input data or whole records? Is your data input split appropriately so that you have flexibility to use it in every way you need to? Do you use limited option input lists where relevant and pre-formatted input to ensure entries are correct? Does your database error-trap potential inaccuracies?
Distributed?Can you get out of your data the information which you need and produce reports and extracted lists to share with other systems, eg, letters and invoices to send by e-mail and transaction lists to export to your accounts program?
Useful?Do you get out of your data the information which you need? Or, do you end up doing additional sorting and manual calculations to answer questions which your data should provide?


We all have lots of data, if it is stored in an inefficient database it is not useful to us, but if it is well organised – and clever – it can be of great value.