If you don’t want garbage out, don’t put garbage in

garbage-truckThere is an old axiom in computing, called garbage in garbage out. Basically it boils down to if you put garbage data into your system, don’t expect anything useful to come out.

Some garbage data is pretty easy to spot, for example “Mr Jqwdgsg” is probably not going to be a real name, but selecting the suburb of Wanniassa in Perth might be a little harder to detect at a glance. Pro tip, at the time of writing this, there is no suburb of Wanniassa in the city of Perth WA. Continue reading

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Don’t get caught out by the Spam Act

no-spamWe’re coming up to 10 years since the Spam Act was introduced in Australia. So far the maximum penalty has been $4.5 million against a company, with the director personally hit with a further $1 million in fines. Whilst this has been the largest penalty handed out, there have been numerous other companies which have needed to pay penalties in the tens of thousands range because of these laws. Continue reading

What is the cost of not implementing security?

Laptop-Computer-TheifLast Monday I posted about busting some security myths. Well as part of that post I mentioned that security could be considered in terms of the cost of not implementing it rather than the cost of implementation.

As much as anything else, implementing good security should be seen in the same light as purchasing a good insurance policy. It’s something you purchase and hope that you never need to use.

Continue reading

One system to rule them all

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis / FreeDigitalPhotos.netNo doubt at one stage or another, you’ve experienced problems caused by your company having multiple database systems in place which store similar data, and yet none of the databases talk to each other.

This can either become very frustrating for customers who call up, and find that the records you have on them are incorrect because the customer service rep has looked in the wrong database, and it can become time consuming and expensive because your employees have to do triple the data entry work to make sure the same data is in all systems. Continue reading

Does reporting match reality?

graph-paper-magnifyingglassEach day you make strategic decisions based entirely on the variety of reports which you have received from your database systems. What if I told you those reports where wrong? Was your decision to increase the supply of Blue Widgets to Sydney a good one? Did you really just make 300 sales in that market?

Whilst you can provide staff training on using the system appropriately, that will only go so far if the reporting tools are not up to scratch. Continue reading

What is workflow?

WorkflowOver the next couple of weeks I’ll be discussing workflow systems, including the sort of things that you can get a workflow system to do to streamline your business.

Part 1 – What is workflow?

For anyone who has worked in a larger office, you’re probably all too familiar with workflow, even if you call it by another name.

Workflow is simply completing a job by assigning it from team A, to person B, to team C, each doing their part towards getting the job completed. Usually the knowledge of where things need to go within an organisation is considered company knowledge and is either written up in a formal training manual, or more likely simply passed on between staff members when the need arises. Continue reading