TYPES OF INFORMATION
Data is processed to obtain information. Further, the same data may be processed in different ways to obtain different types of information. A fair amount of data is processed manually, particularly when the organization is small and the amount of data to be processed is small. For example, a small retail grocery store owner. In order to run his business efficiently he would need different types of information.
As long as his store is small and his volume of sales is small, all information may be obtained manually be employing one or more clerks. The information required by the store owner may be classified into the following categories :
- Strategic Information : This is the information needed for long range planning and directing the course the business should take. The store owner may like, for example, to decide whether to expand his business by stocking new varieties of items, in his store, whether to work on a small profit margin to expand sales, whether to open a new branch etc. He has to obtain information on trends, effect of reduction in price of some items, impact of advertising etc. This type of information is less structured. Further, the volume of important information in strategic planning is small and is difficult to obtain.
- Tactical Information : This type of information is needed to take short range decisions to run the business efficiently. For instance, the information on fast and slow moving items may be used to take the tactical decision to stock more of the former and give discount on the latter. Information on the payments of bills by customers may be used to decide appropriate credit limits to be given to customers. Tactical information requires specifically designed processing of data. Most of it is obtainable easily from day-to-day collection of routine data unlike strategic information.
- Operational Information : This type of information is needed for day-to-day operations of a business organization. For instance, list of customers unpaid bills beyond due date would be used to send reminders. Operational information is usually easy to obtain by straightforward clerical processing of data. Further, the volume of such information is much more than tactical information.
- Statutory Information : Information and reports which are required by law to be sent to government authorities are normally clearly specified and require straightforward processing of data.