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Riptide Blog

The Dirty Data Dilemma

Posted by Marketing on January 26, 2012

Nearly every Salesforce Admin, at one time or another, has been asked “Why do we have so many duplicate records?” or “Why does this phone have 13 numbers?”  It’s a case of Dirty Data.  Dirty Data is more than a mere inconvenience for users, it’s a roadblock preventing your sales team from performing at 100%.   So, now that we’ve identified that we have a problem with dirty data, how do we begin to address it.  Here are some tips and best practices that can help you keep your data clean and your users happy!

Reviewing Your Sharing Model
One of the most helpful, and often most challenging, ways for a company to help keep their data clean is to review their sharing model.  Your sharing settings control who can access which records.  If your sharing model is too public you may be seeing dirty data by way of inaccurate records, extraneous data, or unwanted changes to records.  On the other hand, if your sharing settings are too private you may be seeing many duplicate records or have an unmanageable number of sharing rules to open up access.

While it may be easy to identify problems with your sharing model - fixing it can be a little tougher.  There are many considerations when defining or redefining your sharing model.  You will likely want to work with your business unit stakeholders as well as your Executive team to determine what is, or is not, appropriate for your business.  Once that is defined it’s time to make some changes.  Some suggested best practices for change management through this process include:

  • Take the time to visually map out changes with a tool such as Visio or Salesforce Flow Designer
  • Always test in a Sandbox before making changes available in your production environment
  • Keep your users informed of the changes, what they can expect to see, and how it will affect them
  • Encourage users to provide feedback through a predefined channel such as with cases or a custom feedback object 

Validation Rules to Enforce Company Standards

While we will be the first to warn against the over use of validations rules, which can cause your Salesforce environment to become cumbersome and inconvenient for end users, this is an effective method to prevent some common mistakes or capture information that is often overlooked.  One example would be if you have a custom field where you need to capture a code that should always be 5 digits, a validation rule would ensure your users do not inadvertently enter only 4 numbers or more then 5.

End User Training
By far one of the best ways you can prevent dirty data, today and in the future, is to TRAIN, TRAIN, and TRAIN.  The more your users know, the more they can own keeping their records clean.  Clean data is everyone’s responsibility, not just the system administrator, and it is not something that can be tackled in just one way.   Training your users on best practices, explaining sharing rules, and being a being a resource when a user has a question about business process is the best way to ensure your organization is working with the best data available.

Contact us here at Riptide to get help on cleaning your data, data duplication, best practices or training!

Topics: VPNs

Written by Marketing

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