The world around you is full of data. Your brain is constantly processing this data even if you do not realize it. Your eyes capture light of different intensities and colors, and your brain translates this data into images that you can identify. Your ears capture some sounds, and your brain analyzes their nature and highlights whatever you should pay attention to. All of your senses are continuously capturing data, which flows to your brain and is analyzed , filtered, highlighted for instant attention, or discarded as unimportant.
Some of this data also gets stored for future use. You remember a certain smell, but perhaps you do not remember why. Why do you recognize a certain face or a particular song? This happens because your brain is capable not only of storing an immense amount of data, but also of processing this data in such a way that you can break down complex objects into individual units of information stored in your brain. This book will help you to use a computer system to store and retrieve data in a way that is sensible and practical for business purposes.
Your brain is not well designed to deal with vast amounts of unnatural data, such as numbers and business information. You might know someone who has memorized an entire telephone book by heart (my mother had that power when our hometown contained only 100 telephone numbers). However, your brain has been designed for more specific purposes such as protecting you against natural enemies, finding food, and perpetuating your family tree. In your personal life, do you remember the telephone numbers of all of your contacts? You might need a good way to store and retrieve them when necessary, just as the database within your cell phone is capable of doing.
My grandfather operated his own little convenience store, and he kept all of his important information in several notebooks. He kept these notebooks current by writing down the amount owed to him each time someone bought something they could not immediately afford. These books were for his own personal use, and whether the debts were repaid concerned no one but him.
However, in any organization, you need to share information. This information could involve contacts, sales, finances, or any important data required to run the business. You could hire someone to keep all of this business information current and refer everyone to this person for any information, but this solution is not practical. A better solution is to store your data in a location where other people can easily access it. The information must be stored in a format that other people can understand. It must be presented within a structure whereby the required information can easily be found and the confidentiality and integrity of the data can be ensured to protect your business needs.
What kind of data would you need to store, maintain, and share? In business terms, you might need to keep records of purchase orders, invoices, and payment receipts. However, businesses of all sizes and functions need to store and share increasingly different types of data. Some of it might be fully structured, but some of it might lack any obvious structure. For example, important business information may exist only as text or attachments in e-mail messages.
And what about images? Live feeds are captured on security cameras . Temperature, sound, and pressure data are captured in highly secure rooms. Music, films , or even business meetings can be recorded from any angle and point of view and then analyzed at a later date.
What should you do with this information? Is it worthwhile to spend time analyzing and cataloging whatever data this information may contain? What if this data changes over time? How do you deal with the changes, and should you store the original data as well as the changes? Do you need to analyze how the data changed over time?
In summary, we all need to store data. However, the format and purpose of this data will differ depending on the particular business, its current situation, its past performance, and how it wishes to operate in the future. Whatever data you decide to store needs to be captured, structured, and processed so as to answer your specific needs for information.