What is data, and why is it important?
Data — a collection of facts (numbers, words, measurements, observations, etc) that has been translated into a form that computers can process
Whichever industry you work in, or whatever your interests, you will almost certainly have come across a story about how “data” is changing the face of our world. It might be part of a study helping to cure a disease, boost a company’s revenue, make a building more efficient or be responsible for those targeted ads you keep seeing.
In general, data is simply another word for information. But in computing and business (most of what you read about in the news when it comes to data — especially if it’s about Big Data), data refers to information that is machine-readable as opposed to human-readable.
The importance of data collection
Data collection differs from data mining in that it is a process by which data is gathered and measured. All this must be done before high quality research can begin and answers to lingering questions can be found. Data collection is usually done with software, and there are many different data collection procedures, strategies, and techniques. Most data collection is centered on electronic data, and since this type of data collection encompasses so much information, it usually crosses into the realm of big data.
So why is data collection important? It is through data collection that a business or management has the quality information they need to make informed decisions from further analysis, study, and research. Without data collection, companies would stumble around in the dark using outdated methods to make their decisions. Data collection instead allows them to stay on top of trends, provide answers to problems, and analyze new insights to great effect.