Reading about the Information Centric Organization (ICO) pattern one cannot help but notice that most of the “forces” mentioned in the book are in fact related to information quality. Slightly rephrased they include:
Information not tracked or measured
Many formats for information
Inconsistent information from many sources
Low quality of outside information
Insufficient access and privacy controls
This list of forces is hardly surprising because ultimately the road to become an ICO is a journey to achieve information quality. An organization needs high-quality information (HQI) in order to compete successfully. It needs to know what information is available, when, how and by whom it can be accessed and how much does it cost.
The forces mentioned above are mostly taken from the world of data quality and they are represent valid and very wide-spread problems. I would like however to take some time and delineate some of the different faces of information quality in a manner which distinguishes them from data quality dimensions.
HQI can be defined as information that is fit for particular use by the Information Users. Information has no value in itself, but only when it is applied, when it leads to specific decisions or actions. This means that the quality of information lies first and foremost in how the information is perceived and used. Such a holistic view on HQI is a critical success factor for any Information Governance Program.
On the other hand Martin Eppler defines low-quality information (LQI) thus: "Low quality information is incomplete, inaccurate, obscure, useless, inconsistent, false, obsolete, delivered in an inconvenient, late, undeterminable and rigid way, via an infrastructure that is inaccessible, exposed to manipulation and other security risks, cumbersome or costly to maintain, and slow."
Besides these characteristics of LQI, we should mention also David Garvin's simple classification:
Biased information - information which is inaccurate or distorted due to the interests or motives of the source or information transmitter. Biasing may be intentional or unintentional. The Information Quality Remediation Process offers a solution to this problem.
Massaged information - massaging is the putting together of data in a manner that applies to a particular problem at hand. Massaged information may lead to inadequate interpretations. The problem here is that information which is specifically made to fit the needs of a particular Information User may not be adequate for the needs of other users. There is no predefined information management pattern to deal with this problem though other patterns can be combined to offer a solution. For example, we can spin off a custom reporting process which meets the needs of a specific group of Information Users and subject it to periodic Information Probes by information quality analysts.
Outdated information - information which is no longer current due to its tardy delivery or a failure to update it. An important variation of this problem arises when information which meets all other quality requirements becomes outdated just because time has passed. Such problems cannot be dealt with by analyzing the information in isolation but require a more intricate process. The Information Ever-Greening Process Pattern deals exactly with this problem.
The journey to ICO must take into account also these faces of information quality, even though they sometimes seem difficult to track or measure.
Eppler, Martin J. Managing information quality: increasing the value of information in knowledge-intensive products and processes. Springer, 2006.