During the development and implementation of your personal and business strategy, you will obtain a lot of unprocessed raw data or information that is not suitable in its current state for guiding you during your journey.
The raw data could be in the form of facts, details, figures, verbal information or pictures among other things that you constantly receive from various sources. The raw data as obtained is only useful to you after it has been processed and put in the format that you can use for decision-making.
Information is, therefore, the end product of raw data that has gone through the data processing system. The processed information provides more new details or discovery or clarification about the situation or challenges that you are faced with. The information makes it easy for you to make decisions.
Sources of raw information
The sources of raw information are quite many but one has to take extra care not to accept raw information from unreliable sources given the growing trend of fake news and sources. The key sources include the following among others;
- The Internet;
- Networking platform;
- Television and radios;
- Printed media;
- Social networks;
- The websites;
- Intelligence reports;
- Publications by authentic sources and
- Study and investigations.
It is the responsibility of management to collect adequate raw information from reliable sources for processing into information that is suitable for decision-making.
Steps in information management
Information management is the process that involves the coordination of activities that ensure adequate raw data is captured, processed, analysed and interpreted, stored in the knowledge centre and accessed by permitted staff. The process follows the following steps;
Identification of information needs
It is important to determine the information needs of the users to guide the collection of raw data. If the information needed is about population analysis and trends, then raw data about the population has to be collected.
Capture of raw information
Raw information has to be obtained or put in a format that can be processed. Therefore, verbal information has to be documented and validated before it is ready for processing.
This is when the raw information is processed manually or by use of technology into information that provides more knowledge or details to the user. The approach you will take will very much depend on the size of the business and the resources at your disposal.
Analysis and interpretation
The information is broken down and presented in different formats to give a better understanding of the information.
Storage of knowledge
All processed information has to be stored in the safe knowledge centre for future access.
Access to the knowledge
The users of knowledge have to be permitted to access information to meet their information needs requirements.
Management Information System
There is a danger of being drowned in a sea of too much raw information unless the relevant information is processed through the management information system (MIS).
MIS is either a manual or technology-based system that processes raw information into information that meets the information requirements of the user or management team. A manual MIS is only suitable for small business organizations.
MIS, therefore, provides management with tailored information that enables management to make better decisions to meet its objectives.
For example, business transactions both revenue and expenditure do not provide useful information to staff and management for the day-to-day management of the organization until the transactions are processed through a financial information system to produce management performance reports that are used for decision-making.
Importance of knowledge
Information is the end product of raw information that has been processed to produce it in a format that is useful for decision-making. Information is important to the organization and you in the following ways;
- The information is used for making informed decisions;
- Helps in understanding complex situations;
- It drives both organization and staff career growth;
- Helps in building real-life experience;
- Helps in preparing and monitoring of plans;
- Leads to both customer and staff satisfaction as complaints are promptly dealt with;
- Effective information management helps in building a knowledge centre that forms a basis for informed decisions;
- It is the fuel or power that drives entrepreneurs towards the achievement of set objectives;
- It is an essential ingredient in critical thinking;
- It promotes creativity and innovative abilities among human resources and
- It helps staff and management build a high level of confidence in confronting and overcoming challenges because they have adequate information at their fingertips.
What can go wrong with information?
Information is power in the hands of management as it helps in decision-making. But things could go wrong despite the information in the following ways;
- Making wrong decisions as information is based on fake raw information obtained from fake sources;
- The technology could easily become more important than the information it processes;
- Investment in MIS without taking into account the return it provides to the business;
- Using outdated raw information that will result in outdated information;
- You could have incidents of leakage of information to the competition and other unauthorised parties;
- You could easily end up with too much information that could slow down the decision-making;
Without adequate and up-to-date information, you cannot achieve your business and personal goals. You therefore have to make adequate investment in the information management system. Therefore, up-to-date information is the power to your success.