Now, where do these issues show up most frequently, and where do they cause the most glaring problems? In amusing places, it turns out:
- Reports that show misleading results because the set of records isn't filtered properly.
- Reports that show lots of repeated details because of improper joins or failure to use group-by's.
- Validation rules that don't fire under correct conditions or prevent users from saving legitimate records.
- CRM workflow rules that don't fire predictably or yield incorrect results.
- Calculated fields with ridiculous values.
- CRM security rules and record-sharing practices that don't give people the correct privileges or visibility.
- Information leakage or security issues.
- Requirements for code where a simple formula or roll-up field would work.
- Inability to share objects or records across groups.
- Invisible data and misrouted leads.
- Data quality problems such as duplication.
- Incredible amount of wasted user and system admin time in troubleshooting and (mis-)training.
Teach Your Children Well; Employees, Too
If some of these issues sound familiar, your administrators may need to brush up on Nos. 1 through 3 in the first list. Nos. 4 through 8 are the more interesting problems. Some seem to be only partially "teachable," as they're tightly related to math and logic aptitude. I've seen the same weaknesses show up in Excel formula writing - particularly involving compound Booleans, VLOOKUPs, and pivot tables- so skills in these areas might be improved by taking an advanced Excel course.
If these math and logic skills aren't strong enough in the adult world of sys admins, then what can we tell our kids to do in high school or college? It's not like a trigonometry or chemistry course is going to help much. Probability and statistics? Sure. Accounting, algebra and analysis? Absolutely.
But the core skills are going to be most directly developed in business classes that use spreadsheets and databases extensively. If the courses require the development of macros that teach elements of programming, that's even better. As these classes are available at nominal cost in most community colleges, they're "within reach" for most young adults, even those attending night school.
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