What is DATA Integrity?

When trying to research key facts around data integrity and how to demonstrate it in its best fashion, you come across a series of words that appear more and more.
Digital data

What is incredibly important here is to clarify that the answer to the above question depends on the question being extended slightly. It’s far too broad to assume that someone can answer the question as it stands simply due to the many variables which impact us. We can try and cover some of these variables in this article.


When trying to research key facts around data integrity and how to demonstrate it in its best fashion, you come across a series of words that appear more and more.

Accountability / Attributable – Who compiled / collected the data

Legible – Does the organisation understand the content

Contemporaneous – The data is from the time of the event and it hasn’t been added to

Accurate – The ability to see what’s right and what’s wrong in the data as a whole


When we consider Compliance, Engineering and Risk Data, we’ve spent years accepting that we as humans cannot fulfil the above wholesomely. We just don’t have the time or the resource to do so and as such we have created an acceptance that 10% audits, or whatever small percentage you accept, is ok.

Let’s also not bypass the fact that each of the elements above requires so much understanding and competence to ensure that INTEGRITY is met.

Accountability, as an example: What processes do you have in place to ensure the people working in your assets are the right people. That they have the right set of skills and understanding to capture information and data that you can have confidence in. What processes do you have in place during procurement and ongoing throughout a contract to prevent unknown people from doing elements of work?

Now if we consider the Legible and the Accurate together we showcase some issues in the sector today. Especially around the use of software.

To the naked eye, there is no issue here as the document has, in the most, the right fields complete. Yet a closer inspection shows font differences and what looks like information that has been overlayed on the document after the original has been completed. In the sector today we have several ‘Compliance Software Packages’ that use OCR technology. In this situation, you’re getting a pass when in fact it’s a major fail.

What we now have to realise is that a deep dive into the content of documents can show us things we’ve been missing or, best case, it can show us a risk or issue that hasn’t yet happened so that we can grab it and remove it. Good, innovative technology goes deeper than the standard packages on the market and can do this autonomously without time and resources from the client end… that’s pretty impressive, right?

I don’t want this to be a sales pitch for TCW but I do want people to understand that Data Integrity, in line with what the regulator is asking us to do, needs to include the ability to not only get sight of each item of data but also understand it. Understand that data can drive decisions in a way that makes assumptions a thing of the past. Understand that the data we already have is probably already trying to tell us that something is about to set on fire or there’s an explosion just around the corner.

We can go on and on about engineering understanding and compliance validation at a much deeper level than what’s on your mind today but the main question we all want to ask and answer is…. Which are you?

What if I told you it was now as easy to do the 228 piece jigsaw as it has been to do the 18 pieces?


Ryan Dempsey, CEO
TCW – Turning Information into Insight

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