You've probably heard the common analogy that information is the "lifeblood of an organization." What does this mean?
- data does not sit still in an organization -- it's constantly flowing. Every single business process that occurs as part of the organization creates data. This new data is stored and shared among the other business processes that require it. Other data is old, outdated, and therefore deleted. In other words, like blood, data is constantly flowing to the parts of the organization that need it.
- data is necessary for the organization to live. If there is not a core set of data that is readily available when needed, then "business" can't get done.
- Data must regularly be "cleaned." To the greatest degree possible, it must be "pure" before it enters the database. As with poisoned, diseased, or impure blood, bad data will kill or substantially harm an organization.
- Data can be used for two high-level purposes: (a) sustaining business processes, and (b) creating new strategic advantages. We characterize these two purposes as data used to produce either transactional information or analytical information.