Peter Drucker on Information and Information Systems
The 24 August 1998 Forbes ASAP contains an article by Peter Drucker
that addresses issues of information and management in today's world.
Drucker makes two key points.
He points out that most of the time, our systems are great at producing
data but not at producing information. Data, you'll recall, is raw
facts. It turns into information when you add perspective or comparison.
Even information is not as effective as knowledge. Information
turns into knowledge when you add guidance and usage suggestions.
Drucker also points out that most company information systems concentrate
all or mostly all of their effort on internal information. It's
information from the outside that can surprise you for good or ill.
WALLY'S COMMENT ... Drucker is right as usual.
If you're responsible for information flows in your company, or
if you're just concerned with how best to communicate with other
people, concentrate on transforming data into information and information
into knowledge. At each step you add value.
That's especially important if you're looking at communications
that are designed to persuade. The value of what's on your website
goes up as you move from data to information to knowledge. The value
of what's in your brochures goes up the same way. Likewise, on your
sales calls. Ditto for your internal memos.
If you haven't already done so, start both a personal and corporate
external scanning process. If you want to be trendy, you can call
it "business intelligence."
Whatever you call it, set up a regular habit pattern of checking
external information sources.
- Check out what your competitors are doing and what's going on
in your industry.
- Look at what's going on in your neighborhood and around the
- Look at different industries from time to time and companies
that aren't like yours.
The wider you can make the top of your information funnel, the
more likely you are to see relationships and get ideas that can
boost your profits and other results.
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