Information vs. Intelligence

If you’ve ever worked in the military, cyber security, or even corporate compliance you have most likely heard a debate about the differences between information and intelligence. Two very different, but often confused concepts. Both concepts have very broad meanings when it comes to data and what types of data your organization deals with.

Here in the The Distribution when we talk about either, we’re talking about information or intelligence that comes from direct engagement with any group that your organization connects with. Whether that is your customers, employees, or any beneficiary of your business model, there is vast of amounts of information to be gained and intelligence to be acquired.

Information helps describe the world around us, whether in the present moment or perceptions about the past or future. It tells us how the world is. It tells us the “what”. Being able to find out that “what” is the easy part, most of time. There are many ways to acquire information, or as we often refer to it…data. However, data or information for information’s sake isn’t worth a whole lot if you stop there. Information only becomes intelligence when you start to add context and some actual analysis around the data (note: Frontier7 is a tool for just that sort of thing!).

Intelligence guides, predicts and advises. It is the capacity to use information in order to solve problems. It can tell us the “why”. Arguably, finding out the “why” is most often the toughest part. Intelligence not only helps to understand why things are the way they are, but also, and just as importantly, helps to guide decisions that enact effective change. Notice I didn’t just say enact change.

Decision makers can and certainly do enact change just from information alone. But intelligence driven decisions allow you to have more confidence in what the outcome is likely to be, e.g. effective change. When an organization is making any type of decision, time and money are always at play. Being confident in those decisions should be a top priority.

The truth of the matter is that regardless of the industry or sector that you are working in, information is most likely coming at you so fast you don’t know what to do with it. Quite possibly, adding “analyzing data for some sort of intelligence” doesn’t squeeze nicely into your already packed schedule. You need a better way, a faster way.

At Frontier7, we set out to do one thing that is having a major impact on each organization that we partner with. We provide a virtual data scientist that helps analyze the deluge of information you are gathering so you can gain the intelligence needed to make effective decisions.

As we highlighted in a previous post, we know that the majority of analysts’ time goes to cleaning and organizing data. We are making sure that all of that time, in some cases up to 80% of working hours, is now spent on actual analysis. Frontier7 is a perfect complimentary tool for any such engagement and type of data.

Our clients are able to tease out differences between information and intelligence and once and for all get to a new level of intelligence in real-time. This helps decision makers at all levels make better policy decisions and strategic choices.

Intelligence, not information, is what you need to better understand the people, customers, employees, that you’re engaging with. In today’s world, the most powerful organizations are the ones that combine the best human levels of intelligence, emotional insight and ability to handle uncertainty with software that automates the busy work.