The Importance of Analyzing Correct Data

Clause 8.4 of ISO 9001:2000 requires an organization to determine, collect, and analyze data to demonstrate the suitability and effectiveness of its quality management system, as well as, to evaluate where continual improvements can be made. Guidance in ISO 9004:2000 states that data should be analyzed to assess performance against plans and objectives.

Analysis of data can help determine the cause of existing or potential problems and, therefore, guide decisions about corrective and preventive actions. To effectively evaluate the performance of an organization, the data from all parts of the organization should be integrated and analyzed. However, for the analysis to be reliable and of value, it must be based on complete and correct data.

A data management study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers of 600 of the world’s leading companies reported that 75% of the respondents had significant problems and losses as a result of defective data. Only 40% of the firms said they were “Very Confident” in the quality of their data. Less that 20% were “Very Confident” about the quality of data from other companies.

More than 90% of these firms expect their usage of automated decisions and processes to grow over the next two years, so quality of data is becoming even more important. However, more than 60% of them do not have a formally documented strategy for data management and data quality. No wonder that a third of them had to delay or scrap new systems due to faulty data.

The survey report also points out the benefits to be gained from the effective management of data, not just the penalties for getting it wrong. To receive a copy of the report, go to Data Management Survey at the PriceWaterhouseCoopers site.