Information may be seen as the lifeblood of any organisation. It determines the effectiveness and efficiency of management. It is a major raw material (input) that must be combined with other resources to produce a want satisfying product.
Information is derived from data that have been gathered and processed, analyzed into a meaningful form that can be used by managers for performing management functions.
The usefulness of information is determined by its positive effects on decision making. In order for information to be useful in making decisions, it must have the following characteristics listed below.
- Relevance : Information can only be relevant if it is appropriate to the decision making situation or problem at hand.
- Accuracy : Any information that is error free, is accurate. Accurate information must be precise, verifiable, and applicable to the problem at hand.
- Timely : Information is useful when it is timely. Timeliness refers to the availability of information when needed. To make effective decisions and react to today’s complex and dynamic business environment, businesses need updated and current information.
- Comprehensive : Information is comprehensive if it contains the complete ingredients necessary to make decisions, exercise control, influence, co-ordinate.
- Conciseness : Information should be concise to the extent that the present information summarised should be useful for decision making.
- Understandability : Quality information should be understood by the user(s). Therefore, the perception and background of the user should be taken into consideration. Information meant for human resource or marketing officers should not encoded in jargons.
Regardless of the types of organizations, quality information is needed by managers to harness internal resources to tap opportunities and manage threats in the external environment.