Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom

Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom

 

The concept of transforming Data, to Information, to Knowledge, to Wisdom has been utilized in numerous studies and by industries.  However, we can take this concept and use it for the research and development of Policies, Processes, and Procedures.

Researching and developing Policies, Processes, and Procedures requires transforming data to information, to knowledge, and then to wisdom.  Through this progression, understanding is increased.  As you perform the research and development phases, you will transform the data into information, knowledge, and wisdom for users and the enterprise.

The goal is for the Policies, Processes, and Procedures to be clear, concise, complete, and correct™.  Understanding the relationship and progression between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom helps you assess where you are within the Understanding scale during the research and development phases; and whether you are properly positioned to develop and test the documentation.  If you build Policies, Processes, and Procedures before you are at the proper point on the scale, they will be fragmented and incomplete.

As you progress through the scale from data through wisdom, understanding increases; and the Policies, Processes, and Procedures will be clearer, more concise, more complete, and more correct.  We refer to this as the Understanding Scale.

 

What is difference between Data, Information, and Knowledge?

 

Data

Data is a fact that alone is not significant, as is doesn’t relate to other data.  Data may answer a very basic what question; such as a glossary definition, directory entry, or code listing.  However, a definition or code may require knowledge, if the definition or code is complex.

Information

Information is data that is related and is therefore in context.  It can then be transformed into a Process or Procedure, making it useful.  Information is data that relates who, what, where and when to each other, providing a baseline for a Process (i.e. control point, cycle time) or a Procedure (i.e. date, code, screen description).

While information may become input for a Process or Procedure, the level of understanding may limit that Process or Procedure to an individual or department level.  Enterprise and more complex Processes and Procedures require Knowledge.

Knowledge

Knowledge is the application of information.  Knowledge addresses how and why, in addition to who, what, where and when.  The knowledge links all the information together to produce a comprehensive Policy, Process or Procedure.

Knowledge allows management to gain an accurate and complete picture of the enterprise Policies, Processes, and Procedures.  The Policies, Processes, and Procedures become transformed into an enterprise asset.

Wisdom

Wisdom is complete understanding of the effects and outcomes of Knowledge.  Wisdom addresses how and why, in addition to who, what, where and when at the Enterprise level.  Enterprise Policies, Processes, and Procedures must be at this understanding level to be considered permanent, otherwise the Policy and Process may be considered Conditional.

Having clear, concise, complete, and correct™ Policies, Processes, and Procedures, an enterprise may now assess best practices and compliance issues.  Wisdom allows for Policies, Processes, and Procedures to be modified so they reflect the strategic vision, functional alignment, best practices and operational objectives of the enterprise.  Management is able to standardize Policies, Processes, and Procedures across enterprise locations, business units and departments.

Policies, Processes, and Procedures become a tool for others within the enterprise for remodeling and initiatives; in that they reflect the As-Is guidelines and functions of the enterprise.  They can also be referred to as a map to the organization.

Understanding

Understanding is what increases and supports the transition from data, to information, to knowledge, and to wisdom.


Summary

The following summarizes the use of the Understanding Scale.

 

What is represented?

What is answered?

How is it used?

Who is the Audience?

Data

Presents data with no context.

What

Simple glossary, lists, codes

Individuals

Departments

Information

Information is data that is useful and has context.

Who, what, where, and when

Simple Processes and Procedures

Individual

Department 

 

 

 

Checklists

Cheatsheets

Individuals

Knowledge

Knowledge is instructions and know-how.

How and why

Policies

Department

 

 

Who, what, where, and when

Processes, and Procedures

Department

Business Unit

Wisdom

Wisdom is applying Best Practices, strategic goals, functional alignment, and operational objectives.

Who, what, where, and when, why and how

Policies, Processes, and Procedures

Enterprise level

Business Unit

Understanding

Understanding is the level of comprehension and application of principles and concepts.

 

Research and Develop Policies, Processes, and Procedures

Documentation developer

Subject matter expert

Management