In a simple sense, information is structured, processed and organised information. It provides context for other information and allows intelligent decision making. For instance, a single customer’s sale at a popular restaurant is statistical information- this becomes information if the company is able to identify which the most popular or least common dish is. A customer’s profile information is statistical information- it can tell you what kind of people they are, for example- and how likely they are to buy a particular product. Information is then processed into knowledge and in turn used to make better decisions for the customer.
However, the process of information is not simply a one-step process. The information does not simply need to be processed into knowledge and then used to make better decisions. There is a lot of work involved in the information process. This is because the information has to be processed through different forms of communication, presented in different ways, and understood by different people.
When we speak of information, we generally envision things that are clear and precise, like temperature readings or speed. However, information can also come in the form of uncertain information, which is often more important and relevant. For example, an employee in the human resources department is likely to have a variety of skills and experience. As such, the information that she puts together, and the interpretation that she puts it in, is more complex and requires different types of communication from a variety of people. She needs to be able to explain her process and results in various ways to different people in order for it to be understood.
Information, then, is the process of putting together different types of information that can support a particular conclusion. It can also be used as a tool to support an argument or to give people a range of different options available. It can provide a framework out from which people can choose a solution or action. It can even be used to limit the impact of some outside influences.
The goal of information, then, is to provide enough information so that a decision can be made. This may take a person a long time to do, and can be a frustrating process if information is not properly collated and used. A person can get information overload, however, if she collects and processes too much information at one time. When this happens, she runs the risk of creating confusion and in turn will probably not get the result that she wants.
One of the biggest benefits of information is the fact that it allows us to act on something before it is too late. We can consider a number of possible outcomes, and when we see something that does not support our views, we can stop the process and find another piece of information to support our views. The problem is, if we collect and analyze too much information, we will likely end up with a decision that we are unable to live with. As such, we need to keep information to a minimum and only use it when absolutely necessary.