Managing Information Quality

Introduction

Management of information quality is a very important aspect in every organization because besides helping the managers of the business to make informed decisions, it also helps in improvement of business performance. The extent to which an organization understands the business environment as well as its customers’ needs and wants is dependent on the effectiveness of information quality management.

Managing information quality calls for one to have a clear understanding of the relationship between data quality, information quality, and knowledge quality. Most organizations have policies that govern the flow of information both inside and outside the organization. Management of information quality is a process that interlinks data quality, information quality and knowledge quality as well as the measures taken to enhance the overall effectiveness in an organization.

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The relationship between data quality, information quality, and knowledge quality

To establish the relationship in the above-mentioned elements, one requires an understanding of each. Data quality refers to the extent or rather the degree to which data accurately gives a reflection of the exact object or event that the data represents. It is the quality of the origin of data utilized to establish information resources used as references by various groups of people. The essential aspects of data include accuracy, validity, completeness, objectivity, and consistency.

Information quality is a measure of value for the sustainability of information for the purpose required by its users. It is the degree of value of data in supporting an organization’s processes. It is important to mention that information quality varies among users and uses of the information. The requirements of information quality are effectiveness, efficiency, confidentiality, integrity, availability, reliability and compliance to the set rules and regulations governing the flow of information within a given state.

Unlike data and information quality, knowledge quality depends on ones’ ability to attach significance to information and render it useful. It is the capability of an individual or a group of people to utilize information to meet some given needs. It depends on skills, heuristics, experience and natural talent.

The important aspect of knowledge quality is its relevance to need that one is addressing. It is therefore evident that ultimate use of data is to establish information sources. Organizations use this information and apply it in various useful ways for development purposes. Quality is essential at every instance in this process and the three are inseparable.

Ensuring information quality

It is important to know the factors that call for constant check of the quality of information like errors that occur during data entry by employees, and customers. Others are changes to source systems, data migrations, mixed expectations of data quality, errors introduced by importation of external data as well as system errors that cause data corruption. Owing to this, organizations carry out information audits.

Another reason for information audits is to establish the extent to which information resources and their use contribute to organization’s objectives. The target for information audits can be creation or refinement of intranet and extranet, improvement of information center services, searching for external information, knowledge management and corporate performance management.

The audit process answers the questions ‘who’, ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘what’ on each of the aspects under audit. The audit process is of great importance because it allows the organization to address immediate threats and capture the immediate opportunities. It also increases awareness of presence and availability of useful information.

Conclusion

Managing information quality is an important aspect in every organization. In order to ensure that managers make informed decisions, every organization should ensure that the data used in establishment of information sources is of high quality. There should be proper selection of data for the information sources. It is also important to mention that every organization should utilize information audit results to enhance the development of the organization.

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