What's that? The noise a frustrated Contract Administrator makes when data mining becomes mind numbingly manual, that's what! Today I spent two hours matching up data from 3 different systems at work, in order to cross reference all of the data necessary to create a much needed report. Why would something that 10 minutes of SQL coding in Access or an even easier vLookUp function in Excel could extrapolate take me two hours you ask? Well, my problems all started many moons ago when some unknowing souls began entering data all willy nilly into these systems, with no consideration for the future. I can't stress this enough: When entering mass amounts of data that might even possibly be used, sorted, coded, queried, filtered, reported upon, or read by me,
Using a naming convention simply means that you use one standardized method for entering the data. The data that was causing me fits today was a list of Site Names. I was attempting to compare contract data from System 1 with cost data from System 2 and add CRM identifier numbers from System 3. The problem was, none of the systems had the site names listed in the same format. To make matters worse, there wasn't even a convention between each system. Instead of writing code to specify that I wanted to pull data from each system for the site names that matched the site names (or portions of the site names) in system 1, I had to run a report from each system and copy and paste them all manually...Can we say, "nightmare???"NAMING CONVENTIONS ARE A MUST!
Take a look at a sample of what I was up against:
Are you growling now too?
An ideal naming convention for this particular field would have been:
[ParentCompany][SiteIDNumber][City] (with no special characters or spaces...that's important. I don't want to type a bunch of brackets when I code later.)
That would give us one concise list:
Job done in a fraction of the time, which means time for an extra cup of coffee (or six) for me.