Saturday, April 30, 2016

Data and Knowledge

Our view of data often doesn't extend further than numbers. When you think about it, data means a percentage, a total, or something to which those numbers are attached. Furthermore, we want to act on those numbers with familiar math.

We don't act on data, we act on information, and we only act on information when it creates knowledge in our minds that enables us to make informed decisions. We might call this customer insight, but in the reality it is - data, information, and knowledge.

Too often, we lose the sight of the need to add together multiple data points to arrive at information that creates useful knowledge. It leads us to think that managing data is an end goal, when the primary objective should be asking how we can make something valuable out of it.

Knowledge is a property of a human mind, so you might consider it information in motion. Knowledge is what makes people to complete their work. A person's name is data, and information might include additional data like job title and company, while knowledge is information extended by understanding the person's objectives for the year ahead. We sometimes interchange these terms.

The role of customer service in organizations has probably never been as important or as difficult as it is now. Competition has spread globally, product life cycles have been reduced, and customization has become more common. The end result is that products and services have become quite complex, and, in response, firms have generated mountains of documents outlining how their products operate as well as policies and procedures detailing how to support them. Companies are trying to consolidate that information and present relevant data to users on an as-needed basis.

The idea of managing knowledge is both vital and perplexing. It is perplexing because knowledge has always been something that we make out of information. How does one manage knowledge in any systematic way? Knowledge management is the grouping of tools, technologies, and processes that constantly and consistently make the right information available to decision-makers.

When it comes to data, organizations continue to struggle with two conflicting goals. On one hand, they want to collect and consolidate information to streamline their operations. On the other hand, data repositories often sprout up in an ad hoc fashion, so it becomes difficult, and in some cases impossible to make sense of an organization's millions and even billions of records.

To solve this problem, organizations first have to uncover the whereabouts of all of their data, which usually is scattered randomly throughout the organization. Next they need to determine how to integrate their various information sources. Finally, they have to find funding for the project. If the integration is achieved, which could be a multi-year process in large enterprises, the potential benefits are great: streamlined operations, lower service costs, and improved customer satisfaction.

Galaxy Consulting has 16 years experience solving this problem. We have helped many organization to organize their knowledge and thus increase their efficiency and productivity, improve compliance, and save cost. We can do the same for you. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation!

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