1 - Managing Data

Answers to exercises

What are the major differences between internal and external memory?
Internal memory is stored inside the person or the organization. The brain is the internal memory of a person. It is extremely well organized, very fast, and convenient. The major problem with the brain is that it gets overloaded and the memory decays over time. We use external memories to support our brain. External memories are located outside the person or organization. External memories, such as smart phones, can be very large and they do not "forget." However, these external memories have to be well organized, otherwise we are not able to find what we are looking for.
Internal Memories External Memories
internal to person external to person
well organized have to be well organized to be useful
memory decays over time no memory decay
fast very large
might get overloaded supports internal memory
What features are common to most individual memory systems?

Using paper as an example, here are the common features to most individual memory systems:

Discuss the memory systems you use. How do they improve your performance? What are the shortcomings of your existing systems? How can you improve them?

A well-organized student uses the cloud to store details of events, contacts, and so forth. These data are then accessible through a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Think about the last time you enrolled in a class. What data do you think were recorded for this transaction?

Student identifier, semester, call number of the class, and number of credit hours (if needed). The student's name, the class name, the instructor's name, and other person- or class-specific information do not have to be given since the administration can derive these from the student identifier and the call number respectively.

What do you think is the most important attribute of organizational memory? Justify your answer.

Attributes of organizational memory are sharability, security, accuracy, timeliness, and relevance. All of these attributes are very important.

When are data relevant?

Data are relevant when they help to solve an existing problem. The most difficult thing to decide is which data will be relevant for future decisions.

How can you measure the quality of a decision?

Measuring the quality of a decision is not a simple task and this problem perplexes many managers. Most people decide that examining the outcome is the best guide to decision quality:

A key point to note is that you cannot generally measure the quality of a decision until some time after it is made.

What is hypertext? How does it differ from linear text? Why might hypertext be useful in an organizational memory system?

In contrast to linear text, hypertext has built-in linkages between sections of text. These links enable the reader to quickly jump from one part of the text to another. An organizational memory system contains massive amounts of data on various topics. Hypertext can simplify the required data and enable faster access to it.

What is an external memory? Why do organizations use external memories instead of building internal memories?

External memories are memory stores outside of the organization. Often it is too much effort for a single organization to collect all potentially relevant data. Some organizations have specialized in providing data to other organizations (e.g, various government departments and credit bureaus).

What is a DSS? What is its role in organizational memory?

A DSS is a computer system that supports decision makers through the use of data and mathematical models. Typically, DSSs are used to analyze existing problems and prepare for the future.

What is the relationship between data, information, and knowledge?
Data are raw, not summarized, and unanalyzed. Information is data that has been processed into a meaningful form. Knowledge is the capacity to use information.

This page is part of the promotional and support material for Data Management (sixth edition) by Richard T. Watson
For questions and comments please contact the author

Date revised: 19-Oct-2016