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Alteryx
Alteryx

How often do you hear someone speak about "data", then switch to the word "information"?  I used do it - maybe to avoid repetition - or because I wanted more syllables.  I've worked to get out of that habit though.  

 

Why?

 

Because DATA and INFORMATION are really two different things.

 

DICTIONARY.COM has this definition of DATA: 

 
1. a plural of datum.
2. (used with a plural verbindividual facts, statistics, or items of information:
These data represent the results of our analyses. Data are entered by terminal for immediate processing by the computer.
3.  (used with a singular verba body of facts; information
 
There's that "other word" ... INFORMATION ... listed twice no less.
 

 

Looking at DICTIONARY.COM again, the first two definitions are really telling
 
1.  knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance; news:
information concerning a crime.
2.  knowledge gained through study, communication,research, instruction, etc.; factual data:
His wealth of general information is amazing.
 
Data - individual facts, statistics, a body of facts
Information - knowledge communicated or knowledge gained concerning a fact
 
Based on what I read, I honestly cannot understand how INFORMATION got lumped in to the definition of DATA.  DATA is the item, INFORMATION is the application, context and knowledge gained.
 

Let's look at it from a "problem solving" standpoint.

 
Suppose I provide the following following numbers:
 
16  100  200  30000   65000   60   70   80   
 
What is that?  Easy.  Data.  It's a body of facts (I'll explain in a moment).  There's no INFORMATION here, no knowledge communicated or received, nothing gained through study or research.  It's just data.
 
But what data is it?  What if I told you that the numbers above represented ME?  Let me explain - when my daughter was 16 years old, we had saved $30,000 for her college.  It cost approximately $65,000 to send her to in-state, public school, and we were placing $200 per month in the plan.  When she was ready, we would have about 60% of her college costs saved.
 
You may be thinking, that's just data and context.  You're right.  Adding context communicates detail about the facts.  Context and data - that's INFORMATION - that's knowledge communicated based on facts - based on DATA.  See the difference?
 
But wait ... I've forgotten to explain 3 numbers ... 100   70   80.  What are those?  They're DATA.  But more.  Those numbers are PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS.  
 
100 represents an additional dollar amount to save for college above the current $200.
70 represents the percentage of college costs banked with the change - not 60%.
80 represents a percent chance, if you were a financial advisor to glean that share of wallet.
 
Predictive Analytics can provide new, different, forward-thinking understanding and potential future possibilities and outcomes, but we need the right data, the right context, the right questions, to produce the right forward-looking information.
 
Next time you hear someone speak about data and information, remember that there's a BIG DIFFERENCE between the two, and chuckle to yourself when the terms are interchanged - because they are not the same.
Gary Spakes
Director | Solutions Architecture

Gary focuses on both the technical aspects and business implications involving the Alteryx architecture. Gary engages strategically with customers world-wide on a variety of technology topics including but not limited to Data Management, Analytical Process Lifecycle, Insight Delivery, and underlying technologies. Gary’s goal is to help organizations leverage technology to turn data into information, information into insight, and make “better” decisions. An 18 year IT veteran prior to going to “the dark side” in Sales and Marketing, Gary has implemented and led operational teams for ERP systems, been a DBA and DBA manager, and developed investment management and mutual fund accounting software during stints with Price Waterhouse, Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), Acxiom Corporation, and SAS. Spakes holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tampa with majors in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. He resides in North Carolina.

Gary focuses on both the technical aspects and business implications involving the Alteryx architecture. Gary engages strategically with customers world-wide on a variety of technology topics including but not limited to Data Management, Analytical Process Lifecycle, Insight Delivery, and underlying technologies. Gary’s goal is to help organizations leverage technology to turn data into information, information into insight, and make “better” decisions. An 18 year IT veteran prior to going to “the dark side” in Sales and Marketing, Gary has implemented and led operational teams for ERP systems, been a DBA and DBA manager, and developed investment management and mutual fund accounting software during stints with Price Waterhouse, Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), Acxiom Corporation, and SAS. Spakes holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tampa with majors in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. He resides in North Carolina.

Comments
Alteryx
Alteryx

this is fantastic, @GarySp ! well said.

Atabarezz
Alteryx Partner

important point raised...

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