In our buzzword-heavy industry, it isn’t uncommon to believe that some keywords can have the same meaning – for example, data management and information management. Is there a difference between the two? After all, data is information — right? Well, yes and no.
What is Data?
Data is defined as, “Qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables.” Data is more than one such attribute value. Is data information? Yes, information is provided by data but only because data is always specified in some abstract setting. The setting includes:
- The class to which the attribute belongs
- The object which is a member of that class
- Some ideas about object operations or behavior, and relationships to other objects and classes.
Data alone and in the abstract does not provide information.
What is Information?
Information is described as, “that which informs — the answer to a question of some kind. It is thus related to data and knowledge, as data represents values attributed to parameters, and knowledge signifies understanding of real things or abstract concepts.”
Data in its most basic digital format does not provide information. But when it’s combined with other data or is manipulated in some way, that’s when the organization derives value from the information — which then leads to knowledge.
Information Management vs Data Management
The process of information management involves the collecting, maintaining, and storing of information in every available format. When thinking about information management, it is the process of managing individuals whereby the technology and processes are providing control over the delivery, processing, structure, and usage of the information required for business and management purposes. No matter if the informational format is physical or electronic information, the organizational structure must have the capability of managing its information, as well as deliver to multiple channels throughout its life cycle.
Data management is a subset of information management. Data management takes the information a company has and ensures the data is accurate, available, secure, and complete. The process involves the facilitation of a variety of techniques providing that there is control over data from the time of its creation until the time of its deletion. Examples of data management include creating data governance policies, database management system integration, architecture and analysis, and data source identification and data security to name a few.
Why Both Matter to Your Business
When you utilize information and data management, you’re less likely to experience issues with loss of data, use of outdated information, security issues, breaches occurring, or mishandling of information or data. It’s critical for your company to work with contractors with a firm understanding of how to manage both – information and data- to ensure the smooth operation of your business practices with minimal risks.
By understanding the nuances of information management and data management, you can identify gaps in your approach and create a framework that drives high-quality data and, from this, more informed decision-making.