Improving Business with better information Management Part 2

INTRODUCTION

This article is the second of a two-part series that discusses the development of business knowledge and intelligence through the use of business data. The main goal of the paper is to raise awareness and educate the Somali business community on the relationships between business data, information, knowledge, decisions, and outcomes.

In Part 1, we discussed that generating high quality information requires that businesses setup infrastructure to capture, collect, and analyze relevant business data in a proper and planned way. In Part 2, we will discuss and explain the role of information and how it affects the development of the business.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE

As discussed in Part 1, when we collect pertinent information on a subject and analyze it from different angles, we gain extensive knowledge of the subject. This knowledge becomes a valuable tool and asset. Figure 1 displays a sketch of how information is converted into knowledge: through analysis and deeper thinking.

The resulting knowledge, gained through data and information processing, provides us a better understanding of the inner processes and tasks of our business. As will be shown in this article, managers and business owners will be empowered with new tools to better run and develop their business.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INFORMATION, KNOWLEDGE, AND DECISIONS

The deeper knowledge gained through the analysis of information will allow management to then make fact-based decisions based on reliable information about their businesses. They will no longer make decisions based merely on word of mouth, assumptions, perceptions, or intuition. Management will have better intelligence and tools with which to carry out their tasks. Figure 2 shows the relationship between information, knowledge, and decision.

Figure 1: Representation of the conversion of information into knowledge
Figure 2: Relationship between Information, Knowledge, & Decision

As briefly discussed earlier, decisions are the lifeline of businesses. We should remember that every step we take in our personal or business lives is the result of a decision. If you connect the dots of your personal or business history, you will find that decisions play a big role in where you are today, whether those decisions were taken consciously or unconsciously.

We should also remember that decisions lead to consequences such as:
a. Successful outcomes like higher profits, growth, higher business value, etc.
b. Unsuccessful outcomes such as financial losses, job losses, lower business value, etc.

Figure 3: Relationship between Decision and Actions
Figure 4: Types of Decision Consequences

Having discussed the importance of the quality of information and how it affects business outcomes, we can now see that it is imperative that businesses focus on ways to generate high quality information. This, in turn, underlines the importance of having business infrastructures to capture, collect, and analyze relevant business data.

As a final note, we should not ignore that no matter the quality of our information, there are external causes, events, and forces beyond our control. However, businesses with access to good and reliable information will have the capacity to get the best possible outcomes from these events.

CONCLUSIONS

Somali businesses need to place a higher value on the role and importance of data and information on their businesses. Information needs to be handled and safeguarded like other tangible assets in their business, such as monetary assets, buildings, or equipment. Staff members need to be educated on the value of information as well as how to analyze and handle business data. High importance should also be given to the sensitivity, confidentiality, and security of business data.

Businesses must start questioning the quality of the information they receive and use. They should recognize and emphasize the need for high quality information that is relevant, valid, and reliable. They need to develop the capacity to keep track of data regarding their business environment, and to also use that data to generate information to develop their businesses and think ahead. As a final note, larger businesses such as telecom and money transfer and remittance agencies, which have been operating for a number of years in Somalia, need to recognize that there is much intelligence stored in their computers. These are not merely dollar figures and names occupying disk spaces, but rather valuable data that define their customers and their company. They should think deeply on how to mine these unused resources. Privacy and confidentiality of the data must also be given the highest attention.

References:

» Hersi, Nur: Improving businesses with better information management: Part 1, East Africa Business Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, November 2015
» Hersi, Nur (2007-2013): MCT492 Course, Week 1 Notes (Power Point), Seneca College, Toronto, ON
» Hersi, Nur (April 2014): Brief Presentation on Data Management, Benadir University, Mogadishu, Somalia
» A Liew (June 2007), Understanding Data, Information, Knowledge And Their Inter-Relationships, Journal of Knowledge Management Practice, Vol. 8, No. 2, http://www.tlainc.com/articl134.htm

Brief Background:

Nur Dirie Hersi Fursade, Ph.D. Toronto, ON, nur.hersi@gmail.com

» BS with Honors, Somali National University, 1978
» MS in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, USA, 1983
» Ph.D. in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA, 1987
» Professor & Head of Computer Science Department, Computer Science Department, Somali National University, 1987-1990
» Owner and Manager of Fursade Engineering & Computer Services, Mogadishu, Somalia, 1987-1990
» Database Consultant, Toronto, ON, Canada, 1991-1997
» Senior Database Lecturer, Primetech Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada, 1996-1998
» Owner and IT Trainer, Infosystems Training Institute, Toronto, Canada, 1998-2004
» Professor, Information Management, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE, 2004-2007
» Senior Database Lecturer, Seneca College, Toronto, 1999-2004, 2007-2013
» Oracle and DB2 DBA, Davis+Henderson, Toronto, Canada, 2007-Nov 2015
» Independent Senior Consultant, Toronto, Canada, Nov 2015 - Present
» Consulted several banks in Somalia, such as International Bank of Somalia (IBS), Trust African bank (TAB), and Premier Bank



Prof. Nur Dirie Hersi Fursade, Ph.D.
Senior IT Consultant & Trainer Toronto, ON, Canada

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