Custom Software Apps & SharePoint Consulting

Understanding Data, Information and Knowledge for Better Data Management

A few weeks ago, I shared a statistic from Gartner stating 30% of businesses will monetize their information assets by 2016. But many data management projects are unsuccessful because the stakeholders don’t understand their goals or even what data is and how it should be used.

Since most of us aren’t IT experts, as a starting point, you might not even be sure what the difference between data and information is. This is where experienced software consulting can play a role in terms of helping to define what assets you have and how to best apply them to the benefit of your business.  I’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand the kind of information assets you probably have available to you:

Data is a fact a computer has collated that is probably not ready for human consumption. An example of this would be oil well pressure measured in PSI.

Information is data that has been turned into something consumable and actionable by humans. An example of this would be oil well pressure over time, perhaps presented in a visual graph.

Documents are a combination of data and information created to share important facts with other people. An example of this might be a report on oil well issues over the past year.

Knowledge is information mixed with experience and generally it cannot be found in a document or a database. This is often the hardest asset to capture. An example of this would be talking with workers in the field about warning signs to look for in order to avoid accidents due to excessive oil well pressure over time.

Intelligence is knowledge and information that is decision ready. It is often shown visually with dynamic charts or graphs, which can be drilled into for more information An example of this would be using oil well pressure data to identify a specific well requiring action.

If you’d like to think about these types of assets in more detail, download this data management worksheet and fill out some specific examples of how you use them to do your job on a daily basis.

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