7.1 Databases * <<Introduction>> * The ability to understand, digest, analyze, and filter data and information is key to success for any professional in any industry. * Data are raw facts that describe the characteristics of an event. * E.g., characteristics for a sales event can include a date, item number, item description, quantity ordered, customer name, or shipping details. * Information is data converted into a meaningful and useful context. * E.g., information from sales events could include the best-selling item, the worst-selling item, the best customer, or the worst customer.
* <<Organizational Data and Information>> * E.g., Ford’s European plant. * Data and information are everywhere in an organization. When addressing a significant business issue, employees must be able to obtain and analyze all the relevant data and information available, so they can make the best decisions possible. * Organizational data and information come at different levels, formats, and “granularities.” * Granularity refers to the extent of detail within the information (fine and detailed or coarse and abstract). * Coarse granularity, or highly summarized data or information. * Fine granularity, or data or information that contains a great amount of detail. * Employees must be able to correlate the different levels, formats, and granularities of data and information when making decision. * Successfully collecting, compiling, sorting, and finally analyzing data and information from multiple levels, in varied formats, exhibiting different granularities can provide tremendous insight into how an organization is performing. * E.g., Samsung Electronics win back lost sales. * E.g., Orvis was not successful at managing data and information. * <<The Value of Transactional Data and Analytical Information>> * Transactional data compasses all of the data contained within a single business process or unit of work, and its primary purpose is to support performing daily operational task. * E.g., organizations capture and store transactional data in databases, and they use it when performing operational tasks and repetitive decisions, such as analyzing daily sales figures and production schedules to determine how much inventory to carry. * Analytical information compasses all organizational information, and its primary purpose is to support the performance of higher-level analysis tasks. * E.g., it is used when marking important ad hoc decisions such as whether the organization should build a new manufacturing plant or hire additional sales personnel. * <<The Value of Timely Data and Information>> * The need for timely data and information can change for each business decision. Timeliness is an aspect of data and information that depends on the situation. * E.g., 911 centres, stock traders, and banks, require consolidated, up-to-the-second data and information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. * E.g., insurance and construction companies, require only daily or even weekly data and information. * Real-time is immediate. * Real-time data are immediate, up-to-date data. * Real-time information is immediate, up-to-date information. * A real-time system provides real-time transactional data and/or real-time analytical information in response to query requests. * Many organizations use real-time systems to exploit key corporate transactional data. * E.g., a survey of 1,500 chief information officers led by Gartner Group. * The growing demand for real-time data and information stems from organizations’ need to make faster and more effective decision, keep smaller inventories, operate more efficiently, and track performance more carefully. But timeliness is relative. Organizations need fresh, timely data and