The terms “data” and “information” are used frequently in communications and technology. In this paper, the way access to data and information affects a manager’s job is discussed.
Data refers to facts, statistics, or raw materials used for reference or investigation (Beynon-Davies, 2002). Data needs to be processed to become meaningful (Dye, 2001). By contrast, information refers to knowledge obtained from experience or observation (Beynon-Davies, 2009). Information is knowledge processed in ways that make data meaningful (Floridi, 2005). It is any knowledge that people can exchange amongst themselves. This may be knowledge concerning things, facts, concepts, and so on.
It is crucial to note that the word “information” includes the meaning of the word “data” (Floridi, 2005). This is because information is actually a result of data processing. This means that data leads to information. Thus, data is secondary to information (Floridi, 2005). For instance, random figures about the age of workers in an organization (data) will turn to information only if a manager calculates their average, standard deviation, mean, mode, and related statistics.
Data and information affect quality control in operations. Only when the company has the correct data, it can get the information needed to ensure high operational quality (Stewart, 2001). For instance, a manager who knows the correct number of his/her employees in the company (data) can establish the expected quality of service (information). Inappropriate or misleading data can lead to losses in the company. Thus, managers should access correct data to get the correct information necessary for effective quality control in the firm.
Access to data alone has no effect in a manager’s ability to initiate, maintain and control quality. This is because unprocessed data is meaningless (Floridi, 2005). In the meantime, access to information enables managers to initiate, maintain and control quality in their organization. For instance, managers might use a price list (data) to explain trends (information). This information will help to decide, whether the firm needs to introduce new products, maintain its market share, or control the quality of products.