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Beyond the data – the value of good reporting

In our software we try to give users the tools to get beyond the raw mass of data they have in their organisations so that they can make good use of it. The DIKW hierarchy, as it has become known, is not new but it has served MCL well in its aim to help move its clients beyond the first point (data) and on to the last (wisdom).

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the hierarchy is this:

  1. Data: letters, numbers and symbols
  2. Information: data that are processed into something useful; answers to “what”, “when”, “why” and “where” questions
  3. Knowledge: the use of data and information, answering “how” questions
  4. Understanding: processing knowledge to appreciate “why”
  5. Wisdom: understanding evaluated through experience

To get from looking at the data to using the wisdom, sometimes you need to start at the data end. Documents on their own contain data and information but you need to get past that in order to realise wisdom.

Capturing and organising data can allow you to report on it, generate alerts and drive workflows – and then spot and exploit trends in the data. That’s one way to get into “wisdom” territory. Using customised dashboards and trend reports can help you to refine your business objectives and also make targets more ambitious, which is why we built these into Supplier Collaborator.