Data and Databases
This chapter covers the concepts of data and databases. Businesses are becoming more and more "data-driven"; understanding how data is collected, stored, and managed is essential for anyone wanting to succeed in business. Pay special attention to the sections on data warehouses and data mining, as they provide examples of how companies use data strategically.
In this chapter, we learned about the role that data and databases play in the context of information systems. Data is made up of facts of the world. If you process data in a particular context, then you have information. Knowledge is gained when information is consumed and used for decision making. A database is an organized collection of related data. Relational databases are the most widely used type of database, where data is structured into tables and all tables must be related to each other through unique identifiers. A database management system (DBMS) is a software application that is used to create and manage databases, and can take the form of a personal DBMS, used by one person, or an enterprise DBMS that can be used by multiple users. A data warehouse is a special form of database that takes data from other databases in an enterprise and organizes it for analysis. Data mining is the process of looking for patterns and relationships in large data sets. Many businesses use databases, data warehouses, and data-mining techniques in order to produce business intelligence and gain a competitive advantage.