Browsing articles tagged with " International"

#DataQuality In the Wild, Some Where…

Jul 7, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Data, Data Modeling, Database  //  6 Comments



This is why you should never believe users when they say they NEVER have international data in their databases.

I understand that this letter was probably mailed using some sort of application that has no room for a Country data field on the address.  I get mail from the US all the time with hand written, taped or otherwise appended Canada on the envelope. 

I have business users all the time tell me that they are 100% sure that they have no international data in their systems.  When we dive in to see what they actually have, they will find all kinds of "workarounds" that end users have done to wedge that data into their applications and database.  In fact, I’ve been guilty of that myself.

The C/O trick, pictured in this post, is a common one.  Other tricks I’ve seen:

  • Hand writing the country on that see-through window pane on the envelope.  This often rubs off between the sender and my mail box.
  • Using another field, such as Mailstop or Box #
  • Using "sounds like" choices, such as OH for ON
  • Using "fake" ZIPCodes like 90210, 99999 or 12345 when a postal code isn’t accepted by the application.
  • Adding the country to the end of my name.  I kind of like the sound of Karen Canada, but I’m not sure my postie is going to get that mail to me.
  • Just leaving the country off the address and hope that the mail gets directed correctly.

I will concede that employees are bending or breaking the rules when they accept international data if the policy is that they should not.  By having applications strictly enforce these rules, organizations still end up with that data and it is much harder to find and it is most likely poor quality data at that.

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