Data – Data are
facts obtained through reading, observation, calculation, measurement, etc.
The amounts and other details on an organization’s invoices,
cheques or pay slips, etc., are referred to as data, for example: Data is
obtained automatically, the result of a routine procedure such as invoicing or measurement
processes. Data are non-random symbols that represent the values of attributes
or events. Hence, data are facts, events and transactions stored according to
an agreed code.
Information – Information is a defined as data organized and
presented by someone. Information is used to make decisions. Information is a
set of data transformed in such a way that it helps to reduce future
uncertainty and, therefore, contributes to the decision-making process.
Information is data transformed in a way that makes sense to
the person who receives it. In other words, it has a real or perceived value
for that person when they act or takes decisions. Information, moreover, is
data that have been interpreted and understood by the recipient of the message.
The relationship between data and information is like that of raw materials and
the finished product.
Knowledge – Knowledge can be defined as an information read,
heard or seen, and understood. Knowledge is the awareness of data brought into
relation to form information in a wider sense. Knowledge is supported by
experience and other forms of education and learning to comprehend the
relationship of data to information and both their reason and meaning.
Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes,
such as perception, communication and reasoning.
For data to be transformed into information, there must be
an awareness of what the person receiving the message will use it for, his/her
training, position in the organization and familiarity with the language and
calculations used in the message. While all managers need information, they do
not all need the same type of information. The kind of information required
will depend on a range of factors: their level in the hierarchy, the work they
are carrying out, confidentiality, urgency, etc. Indeed, the usefulness of
information is a debatable point, and what for one person is information, for
another is data. In an organization, for example, when information is
transferred from one organizational level to another its meaning may change
significantly, such that at one hierarchical level it is regarded as
significant information, whereas at another level it is simply data.
Information is the recipient’s knowledge and comprehension of data. Information
reduces uncertainty and affords the recipient something he/she did not know
Information is one of many company resources, alongside
capital, raw materials and labor, since no company is viable without
information. Regarding information as a scarce resource obliges us to consider
the issue of information economics, in other words, how to establish the
necessary relationship between the value of information and its cost.