Information, in a broad sense, is arranged, processed and organised information. It gives context to already existing data and helps decision making in many ways. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a restaurant is statistical data-this becomes information when the company is able to identify which of the least or most popular dish is. Similarly, information science deals with the abstract and generalised knowledge in scientific disciplines such as medicine, physics etc.
The ability to process information is the basis of the information age. It is evident in all organisations from telecommunication to government departments. No business can function without computers. Companies use emails, faxes and websites for storing information about the clients, products and services they offer. In the corporate world, information is used to create competitive advantage, allocate resources, reward and penalise employees and track performance of the whole organization.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, organizations have to keep abreast of developments in every sphere of business. Processes need to be constantly refined in order to use information in its maximum possible effect. Organizations are increasingly relying on information technology for taking advantage of this advantage. Information technology solutions help companies process information faster, cheaper and more efficiently. They also provide maximum flexibility to the organization in terms of process execution. Information technology solutions also help businesses use information in their daily operations.
Most importantly, information science helps business to use information wisely by improving the quality of information and using it to improve business. The best use of information by a business would involve the co-development of new information science practices with information science practices. Such integration leads to significant improvements in organizational performance.
Information science is therefore crucial for the future development of an organization. However, it is not easy to apply information science to different processes. It requires discipline, because the main aim of information science is to use information to solve certain problems, rather than process information. Information science has applied the objective science model and it attempts to achieve certain objectives through scientific methods and strategies.
The main areas of information processing that can be related to information science include data mining, complex systems, databases, technical progress, engineering, design, business intelligence and networks. Data mining refers to the extraction of data from varied sources and mining designs which can be used to create new products or services. Complex systems are used to process large amounts of information. Databases deal with storing huge amounts of data and can be used to build customer databases, support business processes, identify customer needs and make product offers, etc. Technical progress refers to the development of new technologies and applications.