The sustainability era will required the development of information systems that support the general goal of creating a sustainable civilization. Sensor networks will collect data about the state of environment and these will be critical to making decisions that reduce environmental impact
The development of paper and other writing systems was very important because they provided humans with a means to record and communicate knowledge. If written down, knowledge can be stored more reliably. Previously, knowledge was passed orally from person to person and since human brains are highly error-prone, much of the knowledge was forgotten or changed.
A good example are the four quite different stories about the life of Jesus written down in the New Testament by four different people several years after his death. Before this, stories of Jesus had been passed orally between people until four different people independently decided to write everything down. Although the authors wrote about the same person, their work resulted in quite different accounts of the life of Jesus.
Information exchange also varies in the degree of information richness. During lean information exchange, only the bare data are communicated. No extra information is provided and no possibility exists to ask additional questions. Numeric documents are considered to be an extremely lean communication medium. They communicate the numbers and nothing else. During rich information exchange, not only are the spoken or written words or numbers communicated but also other information such as the tone of voice, highlighted parts, or face expressions. A face-to-face conversation is an extremely rich communication medium.
During benchmarking, actual performance is compared to a given goal. This goal is typically based on best industry practices. A business could use benchmarking in a variety of situations as long as the practices and numbers are comparable in a meaningful way. Typical applications for benchmarking include production time and order processing time.
An example of how information is used as a means of change in marketing is the popularity of the frequent flyer programs of most airlines. These programs are aiming to enhance customer loyalty and facilitate the collection of customer information. Database technology sits at the heart of these programs to manage the large amounts of data collected. Without database technology, frequent flyer programs could not exist.
As perceived hardness decreases, managers demand more information in the hope that more information might decrease the level of uncertainty inherent in soft information. For example, it is likely that the manager believes a written report produced by the company's MIS department that 90% of all orders for this week have been filled. On the other hand, if the secretary tells him that a rumor is spreading at the plant that the workers are planning to strike next week, he will try to find information from other sources to check the validity of this rumor.
Going shopping is a perfect example of information satisficing. When buying a certain product, only very few people actually look in every store to compare the prices, quality, and features of different brands. Typically, as long as these factors come close to meeting the customer's requirements, the product is bought to save time and effort.
GIS stands for geographic information system. This system contains mostly graphical data about a geographic region. In effect, a GIS is a computerized map that can reveal additional or more detailed information at the click of a button. Often a GIS is used to keep an overview of a large geographical area. For example, in case of a fire, a city's GIS might point out where hazardous material is stored in the vicinity.
An exam grade is relatively hard information. A 79 in an exam means that according to the teacher the student answered 79% of the exam questions correctly and that grade is later used to calculate the final grade for the class. Of course, this does depend a little on the type of exam (e.g. math objective vs. English essay).
This can be a good classroom discussion. Get students to work down the list from hardest to softest and indicate where they would stop storing information formally.
Answers will vary, depending on who the students interview and for what companies these people work. Students can ask parents, relatives, or friends.
As in question 21, the answers will vary depending on who is interviewed.
Much of this information is soft information. Even if it is presented in the form of numbers, it is quite likely that these figures are only the result of more or less accurate predictions. The only relatively hard piece of information is the necessary education level needed to work in this job. For example, to become a teacher in the US, one has to go to a college and obtain at least a bachelor's degree in education.
As argued in the previous answer, a good combination of all types of knowledge is important. For an organization, cognitive knowledge is the most important. However, as missing cognitive and advanced knowledge can be gained from reading a book or by consulting a database, one could argue that system understanding, self-motivation, and creativity are the types of knowledge that make a person most valuable to a company.
Sales information: How often was each item sold?
Customer information: Who are the most important customers?
Reports on the running costs of the organization
Information that would help you change The Expeditioner may include continuous progress reports. Depending on the goals, these reports would reflect how close the organization has come to realizing its goals.
This page is part of the promotional and support material for Data Management (open edition) by Richard T. Watson