In a broader sense, information is structured, processed and organised data in an easily understandable form. It gives context to data and helps decision making in organisations. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a restaurant is information-it becomes information only when the business can identify the most profitable or least profitable dish. Similarly, the information regarding customer satisfaction, return on investment (ROI), returns on equity (ROE) and other factors help the management to decide whether to change strategies, launch a product or implement a process. Information in the form of unprocessed raw data and dashboards makes it easy to formulate decisions.
Many businesses and organisations are trying to achieve more formal information systems. These may include storing records in a database, using web services for interactive online reports or using custom software applications for decision making. Information technology professionals may work on building the information systems and the organisation may seek outside expertise on the designs and functionality of these systems. The information technology department may also train IT employees on how to use the new systems. Businesses and organisations will typically want to consider the options available to them before deciding on the architecture of their information system.
Information has influences on people’s lives. At the most basic level, information is truth, and truth is not falsifiable. On the other hand, people tend to value and trust information that they find to be consistent with other people’s experiences. Consistency of information use and sources of that information, therefore, plays a role in people’s understanding of situations. When information is unclear or inconsistent, people are more likely to seek clarification on topics-which is where communication and influence on the impact of information come into play. Communication about the impact of information on people’s lives, and the ways to manage that impact will be critical to ensuring that people use information in a consistent and reliable manner.
Building an information literacy strategy will be important. This involves encouraging people to understand and apply the concepts and principles of information literacy. Good information sources are those that address issues, concerns, and problems facing today’s organisations and individuals. Good information products or services will provide accurate, clear, and reliable information.
Information products and services should also make decisions easier to implement. Processes, procedures, and documentation for decision-making should make decision-making easier and more effective. It should also make informed decisions easier to achieve. All work roles and organisations, including individuals, need to participate in information gathering strategies.
Information may influence people’s behaviour. The effect of information on people may vary between different contexts. The extent to which a person uses information may vary according to context, the way in which it is used, and the quality of the information source.