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What is Information in Bussiness?

What is Information in Bussiness?

June 13, 2024 | BY Tracy van der Schyff

To analyze, understand and explain any concept, I’ve always reverted to analogies / used conceptual thinking. I love finding similarities in complete opposite concepts and I’m excited to invite you on my storytelling journey of exploring, verifying, and disseminating records management.

 

The logical start would be to look at information, and if you’re anything like me, you might have thought of “data” automatically, but you’re wrong, and of course, so was I.

 

What are the Types of Information?

Information can be classified into several types based on its nature and use. Some of the primary categories include:

Descriptive Information

: Provides details and descriptions about various entities.

Procedural Information

: Outlines processes, methods, and procedures.

Predictive Information

: Used for forecasting and making predictions based on historical data.

Directive Information

: Gives instructions and guidelines.

Analytical Information

: Analyzes and interprets data to derive insights.

Understanding these types of information helps in better managing and utilizing them for various purposes.

Importance of Information

Information is crucial in various aspects of life and business. It drives

decision-making

, enhances knowledge, and facilitates communication. Let's delve deeper into its significance.

Why is Information Important in Decision-making?

Information plays a pivotal role in decision-making processes.

Here's why:

Provides Context

: Well-processed and structured information gives context to raw data, making it understandable and actionable.

Reduces Uncertainty

: Reliable information helps reduce uncertainty and risks associated with decisions.

Improves Efficiency

: Access to accurate information streamlines processes and improves operational efficiency.

Supports Strategic Planning

: It enables organizations to make informed strategic plans and long-term goals.

Information in the Digital Age

In the digital age, the nature and handling of information have evolved significantly. Digital transformation has led to:

Increased Volume

: The amount of information generated and stored digitally has grown exponentially.

Enhanced Accessibility

: Information is now more accessible through digital devices and the internet.

Data Security

: Protecting information from breaches and unauthorized access has become paramount.

Advanced Analytics

: Digital tools and technologies enable advanced data analytics, providing deeper insights and predictive capabilities.

Managing Information

Effective information management involves several practices and strategies:

Data Collection

: Gathering data from various sources.

Data Processing

: Converting raw data into a usable format.

Storage

: Ensuring data is stored securely and is easily retrievable.

Distribution

: Making information available to the right stakeholders.

Disposal

: Properly disposing of outdated or unnecessary information.

Implementing these practices ensures that information is accurate, secure, and available when needed.

Information Lifecycle

The information lifecycle outlines the stages information goes through from creation to disposal:

Creation

: Information is generated or collected.

Storage

: Information is stored for future use.

Usage

: Information is accessed and used for various purposes.

Archival

: Information that is no longer actively used is archived for long-term storage.

Disposal

: Information is securely disposed of when it is no longer needed.

Managing the information lifecycle effectively ensures data integrity and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Data vs. Information

Think of data as the raw materials, in a painting process.

Frames, canvas, oil paint, brushes, turpentine, a glass jar and rags for cleaning, a palette and easel. Using those raw materials then allow us to create paintings. Now keep in mind, the painting cannot exist without the raw materials used to create it, but those raw materials on their own, still have purpose. In the end though, the painting becomes much more valuable than the total cost of the collection of raw materials.

 

Now that’s exactly the relationship between data and information, with one exception to my analogy. We are talking actual completed paintings as well as photos and prints of it, videos, written descriptions, brochures, appraisals, and valuations. This means that physical as well as digital data is recognized as information.

 

Data processed, analyzed, placed in sequence, and or remodeled, and then structured becomes information. The most valuable benefit is that it provides context and if done right, enables decision making. 

Continue reading

What is the Life Cycle of Records?
Records Management
What is the Life Cycle of Records?
Records Life Cycle Definition The records life cycle is a concept that describes the various stages through which records pass, from their creation and active use to their final disposition. Understanding this cycle is crucial for effective records management, ensuring that records are properly maintained, accessible, and legally compliant throughout their existence. Stages of the Records Life Cycle Let's dive into 3 stages of records.  Creation and Capture of Records During the creation phase, records are generated or received by an organization. This can include various documents such as contracts, invoices, emails, and reports. Capturing records involves ensuring they are properly documented and stored in a way that they can be easily retrieved and used when needed. For example, when creating articles of incorporation, extensive collaboration among partners and legal advisors is often required. Employment contracts might involve using templates with minor adjustments, while a restaurant bill simply needs to be handed over to the financial department for processing.During this phase, documents are still considered living information that can be amended until they are finalized. Storage and Maintenance Once records are finalized, they enter the storage and maintenance phase. At this point, they become business and/or legally relevant and should not be altered. Accompanying information or metadata, such as the date of signing or the duration of a contract, is also recorded.This metadata is essential for managing and retrieving records efficiently. For instance, a restaurant bill must be retained according to financial regulations, while articles of incorporation and employment contracts need to be preserved in their original form for legal and business purposes. Proper storage ensures records are protected and accessible throughout their retention period. Disposition and Destruction Disposition involves the final stage of the records life cycle, where records are either archived for long-term preservation or destroyed if they are no longer needed. This process must be handled with care, especially for records containing sensitive information. For example, restaurant bills may only need to be kept for a few years, while employment contracts and articles of incorporation might require longer retention. Once the retention period expires, records must be disposed of securely and irreversibly, such as by shredding paper documents or securely deleting electronic files. This ensures compliance with legal obligations and protects sensitive information. And you can do it with KORTO.  Why is Records Management Important? Effective records management is vital for several reasons: Compliance: Adhering to legal and regulatory requirements to avoid fines and legal issues. Efficiency: Streamlining access to important records, improving productivity and decision-making. Security: Protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access and breaches. Cost Management: Reducing storage costs by disposing of unnecessary records. Historical Preservation: Maintaining a reliable record of the organization's history and activities. Best Practices for Managing the Records Life Cycle Develop a Records Management Policy: Establish clear guidelines for handling records at each stage of their life cycle. Train Employees: Ensure staff understand their roles and responsibilities in records management. Use Technology: Implement electronic records management systems to streamline storage, retrieval, and disposition processes. Regular Audits: Conduct periodic reviews to ensure compliance with policies and regulations. Secure Storage: Protect records from unauthorized access, loss, or damage. We found a great video of how to learn what life cycle of records is, take a look:  ;
What do we consider a record?
Records Management
What do we consider a record?
As you might know, I’m on an interesting journey to make sense of Records & Information Management. In the article about understanding data and information, I took a step back to first understand data and information. For your convenience, I’ll recap my findings:   Data processed, analyzed, placed in sequence, and or remodeled, and then structured becomes information. The most valuable benefit is that it provides context and if done right, enables decision making.   In its simplest form, information can be divided into 3 categories: Records Business Value Information Nonvalue Information   Today I want to gain a better understanding into differentiating between records and “other types of business information”. As I’m looking around my office right now, I’m realizing that most of the content I’ve gathered over the last 25 year, would not be seen as records. And even more shocking is that I’ve been storing it on multiple expensive storage devices which I’ve not looked at for years. And yes, there’s more. I have many boxes filled with physical documents as well.   The task ahead of me would be to determine which are vital for business continuity (records) and, whether I consider them to be organizational or operational records. Although records make up a small percentage of the information in your company, they do hold the most value.   ISO 15489 (Information and documentation – Records Management) states that records are:   “information created, received and maintained as evidence and as an asset by an organization or person, in pursuit of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.”     Organizational records These records refer to your business structure and includes information that concerns the legal status, obligations as well as the company information that defines your organization. It serves as evidence and proves the existence and purpose of your business. Regulatory, compliance and governance documents reside here as well. My company’s registration certificate, details of directors, permits, licenses, mission and vision statement, policies, tax registration etc. would be considered organizational records.   Operational records Operational records are all about “how you get things done”. On this level I start identifying information that is involved in my functions and transactions. Although the above organizational records confirm my business, I cannot conduct business without the operational records. These records are the outputs of transactions within the various processes in my company from beginning to end to deliver a service and support my revenue stream. First to mind would be accounting records such as proposals, invoices, statements, progress and personnel records.Records can be physical or digital. In the next article I’ll take a look at the information not considered records, and how to determine their value. ;
Making sense of the value of Business Information
Records Management
Making sense of the value of Business Information
Now that I’ve identified the small percentage (and most important) of my company information as records, I need to look at the information that’s left.   It makes me think of the Pareto Principle & the 80/20 Rule. 20% Of my company information holds 80% of the value. Sadly, I still need to clean up and make decisions regarding the 80% that’s left, although it only contributes to 20% of the value. Painful I know, but perhaps if I do this, I can get rid of many boxes and repurpose old storage devices.   This process also helps me to have more empathy for the many cleanup and migration projects I’m involved in. When asking employees which important content to migrate, they’ll respond with “everything please”. When asking employees to cleanup and identify content first before migration you’ll seldom get the same answer. Importance & value definitely changes when linked to effort and the challenge is that the bulk of content created is not what we would consider valuable.     ephemerapl. n. (ephemeron, sing.) Materials, usually printed documents, created for a specific, limited purpose, and generally designed to be discarded after use.     Business information with no value The easiest way for me to determine whether information has value to me, is to ask myself the following: “If I lose that folder with documents or box with files, will it have a negative impact on me and my business?” If the answer is ‘No’, then it truly has no value. Think of emails not related to your work and duties, newsletters, copies and drafts of documents and informal content created. For me the challenge is, that I do not go back, to cleanup and delete content and this information becomes the majority of the information I hoard.   Business information with value If I answered ‘Yes’ to the above question, then the information has value to me. Although not considered as records and having limited lifespans, this content adds value, especially for reference and even reusability. Examples for me would be training manuals and videos I create, project related emails, formal communications, budgets, and sales projections.   In summaryI hope this has helped you gain a better understanding around the information in your company. The difference between data and information, how to define a record and understanding the value of your ‘non record’ information types. What is Information? What do we consider a Record? ;
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