Has anyone experienced the dad who angrily says ‘where’s my screwdriver’, because it wasn’t put back where he thought it should be. Are some of your family members more organized than others? Is one more detail oriented or creative or devil-may-care? Maybe if your house was a lot smaller, say one room, you wouldn’t have this problem.
Ok, blow that up by 1,000 work associates and think about your critical information. You can’t make that “house” smaller. No HR department can choose work associates who all think and work alike. And you can’t effectively force a single method. What can be done to give users a reasonable chance to avoid wasting time looking for that screwdriver? Or more importantly, avoid a negative compliance or audit situation.
In our opinion it’s a three-step approach to ensure good data, aka make the house feel smaller. The first step is to provide flexibility in the way in which information is captured or entered. The more options available, the more likely it is that one of the methods will resonate with a user. For instance, it might make sense to ensure that all data can be captured on a mobile phone. Maybe its via email or even audible, “hey Siri add a new customer…”
The second step is to have automation to keep data entry to a minimum. Lookup lists and pre-filled data are a must wherever possible. You might even employ AI in some instances for portions of the data capture. Everyone is in a hurry so the faster the data can be entered, the better. But, put in validation so that errors are prevented. Don’t allow a phone number with an incorrect number of digits or emails with incorrect formatting.
The last step is to require Minimum Data Reference on all data entered by users directly. What is MDR? Think of it this way – what are the minimum three pieces of information that you would want to know about a customer? Customer name, Customer web address and Customer account number. How about a sale or order? Then you want to know the customer, the amount and what was sold. What if it were a document? What department, what is the document name and date. If you enforce MDR for all processes, everyone’s house feels smaller.
In our next post we will dive deeper into the why and how of capturing the valuable data beyond MDR. But if you want to right-size your house for better information management, you can start with these steps.