Personnel Manager/Director FAQ's

Rubbish in, Rubbish out

Whether you use People Inc, Vizual Personnel Manager  or any other database, there is one golden rule which is more important that anything else and that is to keep your data tidy.

Some of you may be familiar with the phrase, ‘Rubbish In, Rubbish Out’, but do you really understand what it means? In essence it means if you enter your data in a ‘rubbish’ way, i.e. not consistent use of fields, poor spelling, bad use of upper and lower case text or punctuation, it will result in you not being able to produce the reports you require or find the information you are looking for during a filter, query or other search.

The Key to a well maintained, efficient and effective database is to enter the data as consistently as possible. I have on numerous occasions noticed when working on People Inc that even though Picklists have been set up, people have entered the data into fields by simply typing it into the field, completely ignoring the picklist. The results are therefore completely inconsistent resulting in not being able to pull off the information you require accurately.

Vizual Personnel Manager data

To give you an example, I have noticed on fields such as the TITLE field within Vizual Personnel Manager that users have entered several variations of ‘Mr’. Some examples are. ‘mr’, ‘mr.’, ‘MR.’, ‘Mr.’ etc.

All of these values are effectively the same but because they have been entered inconsistently from not using the picklist, when we search for all the values which equal, ‘Mr’ in the database, not all the results will be picked up. This is because when searching databases the system has a very black and white approach. Most systems dont see ‘Mr’ and ‘mr’ as being the same and therefore when you search for a specific value, you will only get results which match based upon your criteria.

Often people say the system is rubbish because they cannot produce the reports they need, but often it boils down to the quality of the data entered.

The key to remember, is to enter the data correctly each and everytime you enter it, to make sure it is all consistent this making life easier for you when you do want to perform a search or do a report later.

This is often fairly easy when you only have a few users, but the problem can be much bigger if you have many users, this is overcome by proper training and by making use of the options available to you when setting up your pick list. For example, key picklists such as the TITLE field which is pretty fixed (you will rarely add other values) can be set up so that users can only choose an option from the picklist, so that providing the users have been correctly changed to use picklists, they will only be able to choose one of the values from the list.

Part 2 suggests other methods for keeping your data tidy.

Data is the most important element in any database. Contact us if you need any advice on how to get more from your data.

agathonhr

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