7 Dimensions of Information

Information is multi-dimensional and dynamic which in turn makes IT difficult to manage well over time. Here are some of the dimensions of information:
1)It is model based. This means information is not one isolated fact but rather several datum points that are the attributes/properties of a model. That model helps to describe and predict the behaviour of some object – living, man-made or merely observable. The model is effective when the data are used in a defined process to describe/explain/project the current and possible future behavior of a system;
2)The data are ranked. Some properties and attribute are more critical in explaining/describing the behavior of the system. These are the critical factors or associated dimensions. Testing of the model helps to rank the importance of these attributes/factors;
3)The data are time sensitive because dynamic systems and their properties change over time. Having data over the right time period or window of behavior is critical to help explain/describe/project the behavior of a system;
4)The data are complete. This means enough of the critical factors or dimensions of the system are being tracked and for the right time interval and sampling frequency to most likely explain and/or control the behavior of the system within an agreed upon probability or risk/reward;
5)The data are provably accurate. This means there exists other information/data that can provide an unbroken/unambiguous links to specific designated properties and attributes of the system – that is the process and all the steps in how the data were obtained , stored and subsequently processed is also complete and well described;
6)Data have different efficiencies. Because there are many paths for obtaining, processing and storing data with different costs associated with each path and different effective explanatory/predictive capability for each data path – there are different cost/benefits or efficiencies linked to each data path;
7)Because of human variability in the ability to absorb and process information, there are different values and benefits as to how data are organized and formatted for presentation.

So information is at least seven dimensional. I have trouble navigating a car in two dimensions given there are other drivers of varying competence engaged in the same game. Imagine the complexities of bringing the right info at the right time to the right people and without breaking the bank. Also consider that information processing is as much a cultural as technical challenge. Given that IT is all about changing data and information flows within and between organizations, is it any wonder that management of change not technical feasibility is the number one problem in IT and System development ?

5 thoughts on “7 Dimensions of Information”

  1. I am amazed that this piece has failed to generate any comments either in dissent or suggested additional dimensions or even approaches to the problem. And it has been here for 5 years and gets a steady stream of visitors.

  2. Russell Swanborough

    Admin, you had no comments because it is not logical. It IS a beginning, however.

    The items are not dimensions except for item 3.

    Item 1 is an attribute,
    2, 6 and 7 are opinions, and
    4 and 5 are qualities.

    A dimension must have a characteristic or characteristics that are numerically quantifiable. E.g. ‘temperature’ has one dimension, characterised by level of hotness, measured numerically in degrees Kelvin, Celsius or Fahrenheit; ‘box’ has three dimensions characterised in height, width and depth in inches or centimetres.

    Nice start but no cigar.

    1. If one applies the same process logic the points are allowed as numeric dimensions because math allows for not just quantities but directions, types and uncertainties – off the traditional number line scales – which is behind the basic nature of information.

      It is sort of like the logic in Sam Harris’s Moral Landscape which takes on the equally daunting task of bringing morality into a scientific discipline. There have been smatterings of this already with Utility Theory and Game Theory but Harris’ neuroscientific approach promises collateral insights.

      Like wise I have been planning to return to the subject from a novel point of view … but income earning intervenes.

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