Everyday Year 2000 Problems

14 years ago this was busy times for computer professionals, including yours truly, because of the upcoming year 2000 apocalypse. The handling of the problem indeed had elements of hysteria, but all in all it was a joint effort by heaps of IT people in meeting a non-postponable deadline around fixing date fields that were too short.

everyday y2k problemsData entry and data storage fields that are too short, have an inadequate format or are missing are frequent data quality issues. Some everyday issues are:

Too short name fields

Names can be very long. But even a moderate lengthy name as Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen can be a problem here and there. Not at least typing your name on Twitter, where the 20 characters name field corresponds very well to the 140 character message length, forces many of us to shorten our name. I found a remedy here from a fellow Sørensen on a work around in the post Getting around the real name length limit in Twitter. Not sure if I’m prepared to take the risk.

Too short and restricted postal code fields

When working with IT solutions in Denmark you see a lot of postal code fields defined as 4 digits. Works fine with Danish addresses but is a real show stopper when you deal with neighboring Swedish and German 5 digit postal codes and not at least postal codes with letters from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and most other postal codes from around the world.

Missing placeholder for social identities

The rise of social media has been incredible during the last years. However IT systems are lacking behind in support for this. Most systems haven’t a place where you can fill in a social handle. Recently James Taylor wrote the blog post Getting a handle on social MDM. Herein James describes a work around in a IBM MDM solution. Indeed we need ways to link the old systems of records with the new systems of engagement.

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