Information systems quality: knowledge and good decisions


Information systems quality is synonymous with excellence, value, alignment with internal specifications and, at the same time, meet customer expectations. Reaching this level depends on knowing how to use the right technology, apply industry best practices and minimize performance errors. Institutions that guarantee these quality standards can increase their profit margins, enjoy more accessible and useful applications and meet demand requirements more quickly and efficiently. Can your organization meet the information needs of all users? Does the available data support decision-making? Do you have the essential skills to transform information into knowledge?


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Information systems quality: much more than data quality

The quality of information systems is not just a question of data quality, it also depends on the business environment and the way the business processes and users themselves use the data.. A quality data is one that is adjusted to the use for which it is intended and meets the precision requirements, reliability, comprehensiveness, update and consistency. But, to safeguard them, it's necessary that the organization dictates the essential policies in this regard.

It is convenient propose a quality standard for the information system based on five dimensions, from the user's point of view:

A / Availability: is the degree of comfort of users to obtain data and related information. For its assessment it can be broken down into three items: accessibility, authorization and punctuality.

B / Easy to use: refers to the degree of usefulness of the data, depending on the suitability with which they are able to meet the needs of users.

C / Reliability: refers to the reliability potential of the data, based on its precision, consistency, integrity and sufficiency.

D / Relevance: It is used to describe the degree of correlation between the content of the data and the expectations or demands of the users. Adaptability would be considered a value.

E / Presentation quality: refers to the way the data is described and the way the user perceives it. It should be a presentation that allows users to understand them and can be examined based on variables such as readability and structure.

The problem comes if it is not noticed that the users of the data may not coincide with the producers or owners of the same, hence developing the standards only from their perspective may be the first big mistake. At the same time, user interaction (which refers to the relevance and presentation of the information) it is just one of the many functions in which data participates within the information system, hence don't forget about the others, equally important, What, as an example:

  • Data transformation and analysis processes.
  • Information distribution.

The problem of examining the quality of information systems in times of big data

To guarantee the quality of information systems, it is clear that you need to work on data quality first. The beginning of this project would have to do with making contact with reality, examine the company's informational assets and discover where they are located. Data sources, The types, the volume, quality requirements, evaluation criteria and specifications, as well as the expected objectives, must be established in advance.

Keep that in mind, conduct such an assessment, especially in big data environments, can be complex since in different business areas, the selection of the quality items of the data to be measured will be different. As an example:

– For the marketing area, when working with social networks, punctuality and precision are two important quality characteristics. Despite this, because it is difficult to judge its accuracy directly, some additional information will need to be incorporated to examine the raw data, so other data sources will be required. Remember that credibility has become an important quality dimension, despite this, social media data is generally unstructured, making it extremely difficult to examine things like consistency and completeness.

For the product development area, due to the intrinsic characteristics of this type of procedure, that does not stand out for its uniformity, the formats of data storage software and the data used vary widely. Thus, it is difficult to consider consistency as a quality dimension to examine in this area, as would happen with attributes such as integrity or relevance.

In order to effectively examine the quality of information systems needed select specific evaluation indicators for each area and by virtue of its characteristics and the real business environment.

How the organization participates in improving the quality of information systems

With increasing competitive pressure, companies are trying to improve the quality of their processes and the quality of their workers' work. This fact has led companies to try to make the most of the quality of information systems, by considering them as an asset that is the result of the investment in IT and that is expected to bring benefits to the company. These benefits are obtained when the use of the system provides a positive impact to the organization in terms of business and individual performance level..

To achieve this optimization, is essential investigate the impact of quality information on user performance, or the consequences of the lack of it on the results of your actions. One way to carry out this analysis is based on measuring the influence of six variables that relate the impact of the quality of information systems on individual benefits. These variables are associated with the promotion of knowledge and are the following:

  1. Collaboration.
  2. Confidence.
  3. Learning.
  4. Centralization.
  5. Experience.
  6. Formalization.

When examining the influence of quality, it should not be forgotten that, despite the fact that the data is objective, Different stakeholders' perception of quality effects may differ. While for some it will be closely related to the results at the level of return on investment, for others it might have more to do with the operational benefits of the system and its support for decision making; or with ease of use (usability) and the ability to improve the personal effectiveness of users.

All are important aspects and all should be included in any evaluation system of the quality of information systems to be able to detect where the weak points are, identify areas that can be improved and monitor the implementation of the adjustments made, to ensure that the quality objective continues to be met. Only in this way can it be ensured that the conversion of data into information and of this knowledge is carried out appropriately.., your product supports decision-making and there is no gap or risk of this chain breaking due to errors, gaps or deficiencies in your core, the data.

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