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Kelle O'Neal

Thanks for joining our data conversation! This blog is an opportunity to share the real life challenges, opportunities and approaches to improving the quality and value of data in your organization. We will write about everything data related from translating "data" speak into "business" speak, to governance models, to the real differences among the myriad software tools available. But there's one catch: we all have to agree to toss out the fluff. That's right, no 30,000 foot, theoretical strategies that leave you wondering how to execute and actually improve performance. Visit regularly to learn from peers and partners on how they are managing and improving data, and we hope you'll also share your views and experiences.

About the author >

As Founder and Managing Partner of First San Francisco Partners, Kelle O’Neal manages specialist data governance and data management consulting services to complex organizations that deliver faster time to results. Kelle can be reached at kelle@firstsanfranciscopartners.com or through the First San Francisco Partners website.

Follow First San Francisco Partners on Twitter at @1stSanFrancsico.

Editor's Note: Find more articles and resources in Kelle's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

In a buzz-word heavy industry, there is a lot of confusion around the difference between Data Management and Information Management. After all, isn't data information? Well, yes and no.

What is Data?
Wikipedia defines data as: "The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. "

Data is more than one such attribute value. Is data information? Yes, information is provided by data but only because data is always specified in some abstract setting. The setting includes:

  • The class to which the attribute belongs
  • The object which is a member of that class
  • Some ideas about object operations or behavior, and relationships to other objects and classes.
Data alone and in the abstract therefore, does not provide information.

What is Information?
Wikipedia defines Information as: "A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn; "statistical data" or data as processed, stored, or transmitted." Information is data extracted, cleansed, or transformed and presented to draw insights.

Data is often viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which information and then knowledge are derived.

Information Management vs. Data Management
Information Management is defined as a program that manages the people, processes and technology in an enterprise towards the control over the structure, processing, delivery and usage of information required for management and business intelligence purposes.

Information, as we know it today, includes both electronic and physical information. The organizational structure must be capable of managing this information throughout the information lifecycle regardless of source or format (data, paper documents, electronic documents, audio, video, etc.) for delivery through multiple channels that may include cell phones and web interfaces.

Data Management is a subset of Information Management. It comprises all the disciplines related to managing data as a valuable resource. Data management is the process involved in creating, obtaining, transforming, sharing, protecting, documenting and preserving data.

The official definition provided by DAMA International, the professional organization for those in the data management profession, is: "Data Resource Management is the development and execution of architectures, policies, practices and procedures that properly manage the full data lifecycle needs of an enterprise."

Data Management includes everything from file naming conventions to policies and practices on creating metadata and documentation for the long term. Data Management ensures data that underlies an organization is available, accurate, complete, and secure. Architectures, policies, practices, and procedures that manage the full data lifecycle are developed and executed.

Information Management Components
Data Management Components
  • IM Strategy
  • Business Intelligence and Performance Management
  • Enterprise Data Management
  • Information Asset Management
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Content Delivery
  • Architecture and Technology Enablement
  • Data Governance
  • Data Quality
  • Master Data Management
  • Metadata Management
  • Data Architecture
  • Privacy/Security
  • Data Retention and Archiving

Why is it important to delineate the difference between information management and data management? So what?

First, we get this question a lot from our clients. People want to be sure they are understanding the hot topics and determining the value to their organizations. Second, as organizations become aware that they need to treat data a corporate asset, make decisions based on facts, provide insight and therefore drive action and enhance their customer/client experiences, information and data strategies need to be comprehensive.

An understanding of information management vs. data management will allow organizations to identify gaps in their approaches and create a foundation that will drive to high quality data and therefore accurate information for decision-making. Having a broad, holistic view is paramount, even when addressing these issues incrementally.

Do you have both an Information Management and a Data Management program? How do you synchronize the two? How do you differentiate the two? I'd love to hear your input.

Posted February 8, 2012 9:19 PM
Permalink | 12 Comments |


am a student of the National OPen University of NIgeria studying Data Management, before we proceeded with the course i use to wonder about the difference blw the two. thanks for letting me know today, i will like to receive some newsletters from you to keep me abreast with the current trends in the profession

I want to be receiving news letters on this topic because I am an undergraduate in Data Management

please I am a student of rsust, I want to know the relationship between information management and data management.


Very intresting. Am writing my project currently on information management, so when searching can data management serve for information management? Please reply also through my mail. Tanks

I am unable to divulge any information about the contents fof my struggles within the company, but I will state that I have unsuccessfully attempted to provide to my colleagues the differences between data and information management. I have failed miserably. I can say that we have over 30 specifications for different software builds that address both data and information management but it is a far cry from where it should be. The policies and requirements associated with both always seem to be intertwined. I need a concrete explanation that differentiates between the two and use cases that are dissimilar.

Wonderful, This is an awesome operateblog.Continue to keep up the very good . I completely enjoyed reading your blog. This blog will be helpful for me.

thanks for this info i wish i can always get material on data management an i need a course on this

This is a nice explanation.
The important to bear in mind that Information Management relies mostly on collection of information from one or more sources and after analysis and quality assurance, distribute the right information to the right people to support planning and decision-making.


If we see data like words and information a sentence then data management is like a dictionary and information management a grammar book.

Excellent point. Even with that, there appears to be a neutral zone where the meanings of data management & information management blend into a hybrid. In other words, they appear to overlap depending on Are you a student, instructor, full-time data professional?

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