We live in what is often called the "Information
Age." We are bombarded with messages from the moment we wake until the
moment we go to sleep; radio, television and print advertising, books
and magazines, conversations, and, of course, the "Information
Superhighway." No wonder so many of us are succumbing to information
overload. However, it isnít really "information" with which we are inundated. We are drowning in data!
That is an important distinction; information vs.
data. Data is every bit of sensory input that you or I experience. The
smell of coffee as you walk by the break room is data. The sound of a
car horn is data. A 100 page report sitting on your desk, collecting
dust is data. Data is all around us and often overwhelms us. Of course,
data can be information, as long as it fulfills specific criteria.
What qualifies as information, then? Data can
be considered to be information if it meets these two criteria:
- The data must be relevant to the recipient.
- The data must be concise and usable.
By using the above criteria, we could classify the
delicious scent emanating from the break room in the example above as
information if the person who walks by has an interest in getting a
fresh cup of coffee and does not have a stuffy nose!
For a more serious example, let us consider a pile of
sales receipts and their impact on the owner of a retail business. The
sales receipts are certainly relevant. They contain a gold mine of data
regarding sales trends and could be used to develop pricing strategies,
marketing strategies and even to optimize staffing levels. Alas, a pile
of receipts, or even the raw data presented in a spreadsheet will not
allow the business owner to make such important decisions, because the
data is neither concise nor usable.
To become information, the data needs to be analyzed,
summarized and presented in a form that is easily understandable by the
data user, in this case, the business owner. This transformation from
raw data into information is what we specialize in at CL Data Solutions.
If you are drowning in data and looking for answers, please call today
to schedule a free consultation.