The concept of building quality information management systems is a key component in building longlasting businesses. However, information management systems have been fraught with corporate bureaucracies, misunderstanding of the company’s goals and uncooperative stakeholders. In this article, I will show how companies use the International Standard Organisation’s guidelines as a guide for building quality information management systems.
Information management holds a permanent position in the making or destruction of a company. How information is collected, analysed and used determines the trajectory of companies. To maintain a consistent quality information management system, companies can use the ISO 9001 principles.
A brief definition of the ISO 9001 is important. It is a standard that sets out requirements for a quality management system. A quality system comprises some principles and these principles can be replicated in the management of companies’ information.
There are seven core principles in ISO 9001. In this piece, for clarity purposes, I would mainly focus on how these principles can be used in creating quality information management systems. It must be stated, however, that these principles can be used for other business purposes.
The first principle is customer focus. This means companies must meet and exceed customer needs. It focuses not only on attracting customers but also on retaining customers, increasing customer value, increased customer loyalty, and expanded customer base. For example, a retail store can gather information about the shopping habits of their customers and use the information to build better tools or systems to serve their customers better.
With the right information, companies can plan, design, develop, produce, deliver and support goods and services to meet customer needs and expectations. This can also help them to determine and take actions to meet expectations that can affect customer satisfaction.
In the same vein, the gathering of quality information can help companies actively engage with their customers. For example, recently, I received an email from my bank telling me about new offerings that they think I might need to ease international transactions.
The second principle focuses on leadership. For any information management system to boast of the quality needed to steer the company into a better position it needs the right leadership. What is a company without a unified direction or mission? Any contemporary company that hopes to provide quality service to the customers must have the right stakeholders that can lead the company to the desired position and this comes from strong leadership. The rationale behind having a unity of purpose and direction helps ensure that the decision-makers know why they are doing what they are doing per time. Without the right leadership, a quality information management system remains a fad.
Another interesting principle is the engagement of people. In creating value for the customers, a company must be able to engage with people at all levels of the business and organisation. Engaging the staff in an organisation will help promote the need for quality information management systems maintenance. By engaging with staff, therefore, there is room to create security, management of information and the right knowledge needed to ensure information quality.
The most important principle, to me, remains the process approach. This shines a light on understanding the activities as processes that link policies and functions. Without the processes, the policies will be null and void. Without the right processes, the people and teams can’t function. If everyone in the company is familiar with the organisation’s activities and how they align with the policies, they would be able to deliver quality work.
This also has the ability to promote focus effort on key processes and create opportunities for improvement. Consistent and predictable outcomes through a system of aligned processes is a guarantee with a detailed process approach. For example, a bank says that it would delete the information of any customer that makes inquiries on their online platform after six weeks. For that policy to be effective, it has to ensure that the policy and the procedures match.
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