Success of any organization depends on the quality of information which is very crucial resource. Further future of an organization depends on using and disseminating the information wisely according to their objectives. To run any organisation successfully, when your information is of good quality and when this information is placed in right context in right time according to their needs then it gives the way to find out the about opportunities and problems well in advance.
Good quality information: Quality is a value that would differ according to the users and uses of the information.
According to Wang and Strong, following are the dimensions or elements of Information Quality:
- Intrinsic:Accuracy, Objectivity, Believability, Reputation
- Contextual: Relevancy, Value-Added, Timeliness, Completeness, Amount of information
- Representational: Interpretability, Format, Coherence, Compatibility
- Accessibility:Accessibility, Access security
Various authors propose various lists of metrics for assessing the quality of information. Let us produce a list of the most essential characteristic features for information quality:
- Reliability:It should be verifiable and dependable.
- Timely: It must be timely set and it must reach the users well in current time, so that important decisions can be made in time.
- Relevant: It should be current and valid information which is relevant and it should reduce uncertainties.
- Accurate: It should be free of errors and mistakes, true, and not deceptive.
- Sufficient:It should be adequate in quantity, so that decisions can be made based on the quantity.
- Unambiguous: It should be expressed in clear terms and conditions. In other words, in should be comprehensive.
- Complete: It should meet all the needs in the current context.
- Unbiased: It should be impartial, free from any bias. In other words, it should have integrity.
- Comparable: It should be of uniform collection, analysis, content, and format.
- Reproducible: To achieve better results it is used by documented methods on the same data which is reproducible.
Information is a corporate resource, as important as the capital, labor, know-how, etc. and is being used for decision making. Its quality, therefore, is required to be very high. Low quality information would adversely affect the organizational performance as it affects decision making. The quality of information is the result of the quality of the input data, processing design, system design, system procedure which generate such a data, and the management of the data processing function. Quality, unlike any other product, is not an absolute concept. Its level is determined with reference to the context and its use, and the user. Perfect quality just as perfect information is non-achievable and has cost benefit implications.
However, it is possible to measure the quality of information on certain parameters. All these parameters need not have a very high value in terms of the unit of measure. Some parameters may have lesser importance in the total value on account of their relevance in the information and its use.
The quality of the parameters is assured if the following steps are taken:
- All the input is processed and controlled.
- All updating and corrections are completed before the data processing begins.
- Inputs (transactions, documents, fields and records) are subjected to validity checks.
- The access to the data files is protected and secured through an authorization scheme.
- Intermediate processing checks are introduced to ensure that the complete data is processed right through, I.e., run to run controls.
- Due attention is given to the proper file selection in terms of data, periods and so on.
- Back-up of the data and files are taken to safeguard corruption or loss of data.
- The system audit is conducted from time to time to ensure that the computer system specification is not violated.
- The system modifications are approved by following a set procedure which begins with authorization of a change to its implementation followed by an audit.
- Systems are developed with a standard specification of design and development.
- Computer system processing is controlled through programme control, process control and access control.