Knowledge and information is one of the most valuable assets today. It is the foundation on which critical and strategic business decisions are made. It is therefore vital that data, information and knowledge are accessible by all who need it.

In today's highly competitive, global and rapidly changing environment, companies need seamless and immediate access to information; immediate access to people, knowledge and expertise. Only in this way can you gain valuable insights and make informed decisions because of the right information.

To manage a company successfully you need a vast amount of information.

Finding powerful ways of collecting and analysing data is vital to create meaningful information, generate knowledge, and ultimately make value judgements and good decisions.

A company requires "intelligent" information in order to reach its strategic destination.

Your company will have strategic goals such as market positioning or entry into new markets. To achieve your strategic goals and reach the right decisions you should analyse a vast amount of information.

In strategic decision-making, a company should analyse:

  • Different types of data (structured, unstructured)
  • Different amounts of data
  • Different sources of data (internal, external)
  • Different levels of quality in data
Data Management is a strategic function in the contemporary organisation. It is the discipline of collating, integrating and analysing data to derive meaningful information and knowledge. It is crucial in effective decision making.

Data is sourced from all the stakeholders; customers, employees and strategic partners. Key functions such as knowledge management, e-learning, customer relationship management, HRM, e-commerce, e-procurement, e-billing and supply chain management all depend on the collation and integration of information from these multiple data sources.

To achieve its strategic goals a company must analyse a vast amount of information, and analyse different amounts of data from different sources at differing levels of quality. If right decisions are to be made, the right information must be available at the right time. As well as its own internal information, a business must process external data from its customers, markets and other sources.

Information gathers more value and becomes business intelligence as it ascends the organisation. Information starts off as raw data (with little intelligence). As it is integrated with further data from stakeholders, strategic partners and market analysts it becomes business intelligence and eventually knowledge. Knowledge is the prized asset of every company, and having access to proper knowledge aids management in decision making.

In a nutshell, the objective is to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time; information that enables timely decision-making.

Ioannis Dermitzakis, Senior Lecturer at De Broc School of Business, University of Law