The paper "Information Management and Business Needs" is a good example of business coursework. Today, managing information has become as significant to business organizations as managing financial data has been to the accountants. Information permeates in every aspect of any business organization, including the development of products, marketing, allocation of resources, development, and execution of strategy, among others. Despite such importance, many organizations and individuals seem to confuse between information, data, and knowledge. Although these three words are used interchangeably in the business world, they mean different things in the context of management of information.
Data refers to sets of non-random symbols or raw information represented in text or any other form. In contrast, information refers to processing data that exists in a form meaningful to the user and confers perceived or actual value in the current or in the future decisions of the user (Jawadekar 2006). On the other hand, knowledge refers to what users can gain from the information. The emergence of an information-based economy has prompted business organizations to invest heavily on equipment for managing information, particularly computer systems and internet as well as other information and communication technologies and systems, in a bid to support needs of their enterprises.
Managing information can be thought of as the process by which a business enterprise optimizes the efficiency of organizing, gathering, processing, controlling, distributing, and applying its information to add value to business activities and processes (Choo 2002). Thus, effective management of the information can help firms to support a wide range of business needs, including decision-making process, development and execution of strategies, marketing needs, product development, provision of services, and many others.
The current essay explores how the management of information sustains various business needs of organizations. Decision Making Process Business organizations have to make decisions regarding various aspects of their operations and activities. The success of the organizations greatly depends on the quality of decisions made by their employees. Due to the nature of the organizations and the environments in which they operate, employees may not be able to make effective decisions without a means to analyze forces or factors acting on the organizations. Making quality decisions require employees to scan and analyze the internal and external environments in order to identify and select the most feasible decision that will help the organizations achieve their core objective of being in business; to maximize the use of resources and returns to shareholders.
As Oz (2008) argues, managing information becomes handy in such situations to support the need to make quality decisions. Management of information presents the employees with a systematic process in which to carry out the decision-making process (Courtney 2001). It involves planning, collecting, processing, controlling, distributing, and using the information to enhance the value of any activity.
In support of decision-making, the first two phases enable employees to organize and collect data (mainly facts, beliefs, ideas, and other related data) from within and without the business organizations. They then process the collected data using various decision-making models (for example, statistical methods) in an effort to transform the data into forms meaningful to the organization. In its raw form, information has no meaning or value to decision-makers because it exists in an unstructured form that limits its applicability. As such, decision-makers have to process the raw information to identify possible relationships, separate useful from non-useful data, and present the information in understandable structures or ways.
Such an organization produces different courses of action that the decision-makers can use to solve the problem or issue at hand. In the controlling phase of the management of the information, they analyze the situation and the information to identify and select the best course of action from the various alternatives. However, at this stage, the information is just a form of knowledge to the decision-makers. As such, they need to share it with other employees in order to make the decision-useful to business organizations.
Sharing the knowledge ensures dissemination of the information among employees and other stakeholders within the organization, allowing them to use the information to make and implement a decision that will enhance the value (in terms of effectiveness, profitability, and other needs) of the organization (Huber 1990). Thus, managing information sustains the desire of business enterprises to make quality decisions about their other needs, including development and marketing of product and services, management of human resources, strategy formulation and implementation, and others.
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