IT lives forever somewhere. Technology itself doesn’t really live forever but the information it creates lives in virtual eternity. Sadly, correct and inaccurate information are stored the same way and in the same formats.

Only context clues give any indication on the quality of the data. And then there are mistakes (typos and otherwise) that live on forever.

The mistakes may be corrected, but it takes time for the correction to sync all the way through. This a technical problem and a policy problem. Synching problems workout with well designed technology eventually despite time-based delays. The policy problems are more complicated to resolve.

Versioning and audit trails ironically embed mistakes in the digital record. How many have you asked is the right version? Sadly, there is a difference between the latest version and the correct version.

New overwritten by old a little too often. ‘Save As’ is a great feature, but it is also a source of problems. Mistakes propagate into the future.

The reuse and template problem is not just a digital problem. Problems from templates and forms carry through to physical products.

Details, details, details

Inattention to detail is problem in all domains. Yet, detail makes all the difference. Detail takes time and awareness.

Time and awareness are in short supply too, and awareness on some details leads to a blindness on other details.

Checking details twice helps. However, things details slip through the cracks.

Relatively unimportant details stay uncorrected. While important mistakes corrected, they don’t cascade through the entire document trail.

The accurate record and the inaccurate document trail live on. Maybe it gets reconciled, but maybe it doesn’t.

IT lives forever and there is so darn much of it, that inaccurate information lives on side by side with the accurate information.

Figuring out what to do is the issue.