Why doesn’t software check for duplicates?

02Jul09

I often run into situations where data ends up being duplicated. For example:

– A contact changes companies, so they’re listed in our CRM system under both the old and new account
– A prospective customer contacts us by email but also fills out a form on our website
– A coworker and I both log the same email or event record under an account

In each of these cases, the only solution is to manually click a button for “Find Duplicates” — if the feature is even available at all. Considering how easily a software program can look for identical entries (e.g. by name or email address), the lack of automation and proactive assistance is rather pathetic.

Software should constantly be on the lookout for duplicate information, rather than making the user worry about finding it. And when extra copies are found (ideally during the data entry process), it should tell you about the duplicates and let you decide if you want to continue with what you’re doing or merge the records together. This leads to cleaner data and fewer housekeeping hassles, thus freeing up users to focus on more important tasks.



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