Jul 14, 2010
I write this in the usual place – the airplane. I’m in a window seat, so I’m only surrounded on three sides. The guy in front of me has decided that all the stuff he does not want should not go in front of him, but that “out of sight, out of mind” is a good solution as he shoves the stuff under his seat at my legs. I was about to start throwing stuff back at him over his head, but thought better of it. The guy behind be decided the armrest was actually his footrest. When his shoe was on my arm, he didn’t even have the sense to pull back a bit. I had to push his foot off the thing. The guy next to me is a good guy – he just has wide shoulders. I can’t really blame anyone for that except his parents. Worst thing yet, someone on this plane is flatulent. So not only is my space being intruded upon on all three sides, my very airspace is also becoming a bit offensive. (yes, I am the guy on the plane that will shout “No Farting!!” to everyone)
I was recently talking to someone about how Spain and Mexico uses 2 last names for employees. I don’t know if you watch tennis, but the only example I can think of is Aranxa Sanchez-Vicario (I think that’s how you spell it).Apparently PeopleSoft only has a 30 character last name field. I’m not sure why they have not expanded this yet, but honestly, 30 should be enough, especially if you bought the right country packs. Anyway, I was recently talking to someone about Mexican last names and the thinking was that they would put the mother’s last name in the middle name field, and the father’s last name in the last name field.
Fundamentally, I don’t usually have a problem with workarounds. But as you know, I’m a data governance guy and I have a huge problem dumping a last name somewhere other than the last name field and taking the middle name field and dropping in a name that is not the middle name. Not only are there just issues about using fields for the wrong purpose, but there are practical issues around interfaces and analytics. How do you search if you don’t have a single last name field? If you have an interface, do you write it with specific instructions to look for Spaniards and Mexicans and re-arrange the names?
There is a point to order and a point to “everything in its place.” Especially in terms of systems and data governance order is of utmost importance. You start playing with order, and you wind up with what we call (in technical terms) “crappy data on a massive scale.” You see, you mess with the wrong workarounds now, and there’s a pretty high probability that you’re going to pay for it later. Later might be a couple of years. Before you do the wrong workaround, do the right resource, figure out the implications, and then do it the right way anyway.