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Data, Information & Insight

Data are the numbers or facts. Data are largely unprocessed, and the implications for action are not always evident. Data can be used as a metric to evaluate progress against objectives. The key criteria for good data are accuracy and believability.

Example: In Company X, 65% of employees agree with the statement “I receive the information I need to do my job effectively.”

Information is data than has been processed to assist in driving decisions. Processing can consist of further analysis, addition of norm data, or comparison between groups. Information is used to drive current decisions. The key criteria for good information is relevance to the current decision space.

Example: On the question “I receive the information I need to do my job effectively,” 65% of employees agree compared to 55% of employees in last year’s survey. This improvement is statistically significant.

Insight is a learning or concept that extends beyond the current decision or situation. Insight occurs when data or information is powerfully presented in a way that challenges conventional thinking.

Example: Based on a research study showing the linkage between employee access to information and customer satisfaction, the CEO concludes that executives need to focus on getting employees the information they need to serve customers. This insight drives future decisions on promotions, executive training and the CEO’s own use of company meetings.

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