Information, in a broader sense, is systematic, processed and organisationally structured information. It gives context to unprocessed data and allows effective decision making. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a particular restaurant is large data, which becomes information only if the business can identify who the most frequent or least frequent dish is. Similarly, a catalogue of products would not be a proper example of information unless it is possible to identify how many of a particular product has been bought. In both cases, the process of gathering and managing information is called information processing.
The problem, however, arises when we try to see complete definition of information. First, as noted above, it is the systematic processing of large data sets. Second, we have to distinguish between ‘order’ and ‘deliver’, between information that impacts an organisation (ordered data) and information that affects an organisation (delivered data). Information flow through different processes (computation, organisation, design, production, sales, etc.) is an integral part of information processing cycle.
In this article we shall see some applications of information processing cycle in various organisations. We shall also see some common pitfalls related to information processing. Finally, we shall see a brief note on how to define ‘information’. In my opinion, this brief overview should help you understand the meaning of information in your everyday work.