Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dear Mr Other ...

The year is ending and two calendars for 2010 arrive from "data quality" companies, each with strange ideas about my postal address.

The first is from a UK data quality exhibition organiser, who addresses me as:

Mr Other Graham Rhind

I can't imagine what is supposed to have been in the field which output as "Other", and I celebrate my individuality, but not in this particular way.

The address block (for my Dutch address) ends with a British postal code and "GB", struck out by the postal services to allow the mailing to reach me - eventually. I recognise the postal code as that I use when I am provided with a web form which does not allow me to add my Dutch postal code. This company is happy to invite foreigners to its exhibitions, it just won't allow them to register without providing false data.

The second is from a Spanish company, who puts my name below the final address line, guaranteed to delay mail because it's where the sorting machines expect to find the country name or the postal code. I am addressed a "D. Graham Rhind" - that's D for Don - and the postal code line reads:

52000 1018 VV Amsterdam

I guess that this company uses a Spanish CRM system that only allows a Spanish postal code to be entered. To allow my (not at all Spanish) details to be entered they have added the least used Spanish code in the postal code field (for Melilla) and then put my Dutch code into the place name field.

Remember, these are both data quality companies. I can see that I still have plenty of work to do to bring the message of our cultural diversity to all in 2010.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Informatica - a step forward in web form quality

Yet another e-mail (from Informatica Netherlands this time) with news of a new white paper. Wearily (why wearily? check this blog entry to find out), I click to check the web form ...

Hey! Hang on a minute. Informatica have actually had the nous (British slang approximately meaning common sense, intelligence ...) to have pre-filled the form with my data (which they indeed already have in their system). And what's this? No state field? And yes, there's Montenegro in the country list, back in all its glory.

Could this be a result in my crusade for better Internet data collection? I gingerly change the country to Canada and yes! The province field appears! Not in a sensible place, unfortunately (if you're going to change fields, don't change them where the customer has already been in the form - the country should be asked beforehand).

But what can I say? RESULT!!