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BISC 454- Decision Support Systems (DSS)

Description A clear understanding of the differences between data, information and knowledge is vital to your understanding of Decision Support Systems. Provide definitions for data, information, and knowledge in a specific Administration task, perhaps a task you have performed or observed. Support your definitions with examples of the data, information, and knowledge used in the task.


Definition of Data, Information and Knowledge
  • Data: It comprises of symbols and do not have any specific purpose of existence It may or may not be useful and holds no significance Examples: a spreadsheet holds data, data may be stored in MS Access, or it may be in printed form
  • Information: Information is data processed to be useful and provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions It has been given meaning by way of relational connection. It is data arranged in a manner to serve a purpose. Examples: a spreadsheet holds data giving the interest rate being charged by various housing finance institutions, data may be stored in MS Access giving the profile of the students enrolled in a class, or it may be yellow pages giving particulars of vendors providing supplies or services.
  • Knowledge: Knowledge is application of data and information and answers "how" questions A knowledgeable person is able to use the information for his purpose A person needs knowledge to sift through the given information and able to apply it to execute a given job. Examples: To read a spreadsheet holds data giving the interest rate being charged by various housing finance institutions and be able to decide on the best offer, you need to have knowledge on housing finance

Example of Administration Task

  • Task: Buying a computer
  • Data: Computer Invoices and Quotations
  • Information:
    • A spreadsheet compiling the following
    • Companies selling computer s with contact details
    • Configuration of the computers being sold and their prices
  • Knowledge: Knowledge needed to match the need and budget of the organization to the various options of computers available to arrive at a decision of which computer to buy.