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DAVE's Dirty Dozen Data Disasters: Irregular Data, Abbreviations and Acronyms



DAVE’s ‘dirty dozen’ of data disasters continues!

Over 12 posts we’ll break down each of the 12 dastardly data disasters for you, so you know what to look for and what to avoid – the last thing you want is your day to be dragged down by data.

We’re continuing this week with #5 Irregular data, abbreviations and acronyms.

Irregular Data: The inconsistent use of abbreviations and acronyms are a major cause of irregular data. Throw in the inconsistent use of Company naming conventions, such as including the word “The” (as an example: “The Australian Broadcasting Corporation”) or adding the legal entity denotations, such as “Pty Ltd” or “Ltd” (or not) and you really can have a mess.

Abbreviations: If you are dealing with state government department names, they too can cause confusion in the mix. Some names are so lengthy that abbreviation becomes a necessity as to be able to cram it into your CRM company name field! Consistency and clarity are the keys to success. “The Department of Health and Social Security” is a prime example. The name can either be written out in full or going with the tradition of government departments being expressed as an acronym, such as DHSS. The challenge with acronyms (around Government departments) is that there is no clarity of them being a Federal or State department and, in the case of the latter, which State? Furthermore, to shorten names, there is often a tendency for words such as “Department” to be shortened and ampersands (“&”) to be brought into play, such as “Dept Health & Social Security”. Again, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, providing it is applied consistently and that your CRM doesn’t struggle to cope with ampersands – some do, especially when data is exported.

Acronyms: It is not uncommon for a company name to either be an acronym, such as AMP, or to contain acronyms, such as NSW. In itself, this is ok, providing that the acronym is so well known or unique as to be unmistakable. The challenges come when the acronym is either inconsistently applied or is not unique. A prime example of this is “ABC”. This could be the TV station, the retail shops or the taxi company - to name but a few. The solution is to ensure that the company names are better described and, for good measure, to also include the acronym. As an example, “Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)” leaves little room for ambiguity.

Reality is that, wherever there are multiple people using a CRM, inconsistency will creep in.

The impact on your business is that you can end up having multiple versions of the same organisation and duplicate contacts, which can easily result in multiple sales people operating within the same account - even though your CRM thinks they are different.

DAVE fixes all this up by ‘regularising’ the company names to comply with your data policy. DAVE’s just a regular kinda guy.


Check out some examples

Next week: Inconsistent data format

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