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Re: Article about supposed "murky" future for Oracle

From: Niall Litchfield <>
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2004 20:01:20 +0100
Message-ID: <40705b73$0$247$>

"Mark C. Stock" <mcstockX_at_Xenquery .com> wrote in message
> | rkusenet wrote:
> |
> ....
> | >>Worse yet, how many end users understand that what they are seeing
> | >>could be something that never existed.
> | >
> | > isn't this true for all products. I mean, how many of users actually
> | > verify that a report from a complex report involving multi table
> | > join, correlated sub queries and partitioning is actually correct.
> |
> as in "they're not going to check, so let's lie to them"?
> that approach would not last to the end of the status meeting on any of my
> projects.

It is however a common issue, there was a survey done by IIRC Coopers & Lybrand back in the days when I was an accountant on spreadsheets used in business. 80% of them were either inaccurate or did not report what their designers thought they did, a significant number were actually misleading.

> how many users know how complex the underlying query is -- and why should
> they care? they DO know their data (or else they are in more trouble than
> database can solve for them) and they have a right, and we have an ethical
> duty, to present it to them honestly. it is OUR job to ensure that the
> output from our systems is 'actually correct'

Often as not people *don't* know the data. Ask questions like "how many people does the business employ? How many of those are managers?" In any reasonably sized business the chances are even the HR director won't be able to tell you without one or more reports, and they will not guarantee the exactness of the reports, becuase of data entry error etc. In your projects ask the project manager for an estimate of what the spend or hours worked to date has been, then compare to the recorded figures.

I will however go along with you and say that it is our job to ensure that the systems for which we are responsible accurately reflect the input that was put into them and the changes made along the way, in other words I agree with the implication, but don't share the same optimistic view that data in corporate systems is either accurate or well known. a 5% error rate and being able to give figures within 20% of what actually turns out to be the case is usually pretty good going.

Niall Litchfield
Oracle DBA
Audit Commission UK
Please include version and platform
and SQL where applicable
It makes life easier and increases the
likelihood of a good answer

> please excuse me if this sounds harsh, but i do think that this type of
> reasoning borders on unethical. if you cannot guarantee to me that the
> you give me is correct, why should i trust your application? or your team?
> or your company?
> ;-{ mcs
Received on Sun Apr 04 2004 - 14:01:20 CDT

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