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Posted December 24, 2009

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Fan Fiction: Data Quality Management

Title: Data Quality Management

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG.

Summary: Leverage. "Can I? Can I? Who do you think you're talking to?" 500 words.

Notes: Hardison-centric slice of life. Written for handyhunter as a treat in Yuletide '09.

"You don't know what you're asking me, man," Alec groused, hunched over his keyboard in the confines of his boss' apartment slash office.

"You said you had full access to the company's business records," Nate replied tersely over his comm. "I just need to know if our client's contact ever really was a customer of theirs; if so, for how long; and a rough idea of how much business he did with them."

"In the next three minutes?" Alec groaned. "Yeah, I have access to their records now. If I'd known we'd need them yesterday..."

"Hardison," Nate cut him off, sounding a little strained. "Can you tell me, or can't you? I know this is a last-minute request, but I'm about to go into the meeting, and if this hunch plays out..."

"Can I? Can I? Who do you think you're talking to?" Alec lifted the glass at his elbow, took a fortifying gulp of orange soda, then dove back in, fingers flying over the keys.

"The problem isn't getting at the information; it's knowing which version to trust. They must have at least twenty different databases on five different platforms, one of which is online-- and must have been designed by a herd of dinosaurs, 'cause the data's practically fossilized. Whoever's in charge of their IT department should be chained to a desk with a highlighter and forced to do data quality management the old-fashioned way."

He frowned intently at the screen, pulling up window after window. Usually the companies the team ran cons on were high-octane enough that data cleaning was standard practice for them-- a little too clean sometimes, but at least the data that was there was helpfully organized, and gave Alec a solid footing to start from. Not these people. "Their mailing list record on this guy says he's a 'hot prospect', but the billing database? Calls him a 'former member'. Not that you could tell from their transaction archives; they're full of holes. Shoddy, shoddy workmanship."

"We get the point, Hardison," Eliot's voice growled in his ear, from the hall where he was keeping an eye on the distraction the rest of the team was putting together. "You got it or not?"

In a company with thirty employees there had to be at least one person with a clue trying to work the problem. Alec ran a quick search on the company's shared drive, then grinned. Someone had put together an .mdb kludge to bridge their new CRM with a much older data vault holding at least twenty years of duplicate records; the coding was ugly, but more functional than anything else he'd seen, and blessedly complete. "Thank you, username sa34." He moused into a series of reports labeled 'Verified', checked the last-modified dates on the client report and the tables it drew from, and then darted his eyes toward the digital clock in the corner of the screen. Thirty seconds left.

"Say my name, baby," he grinned, and started reading off the data.


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© 2009 Jedi Buttercup.