Information Types and Sources

Information sources

Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
Samuel Johnson

We receive and gather information from a huge range of sources. Think about how you find out about television programs, sports scores and the activities of your families and friends. How do you know when you have to stop your car at an intersection or when a storm is coming?

In business, there are countless types of information including:

  • Customer and employee information

  • Emails, mail and faxes

  • Charts and graphs

  • Monthly financial reports

  • Signs directing customers to a particular location

  • Procedures

  • Pictures and diagrams

  • Industry specific

  • Demographic information about customer preferences and trends

Manager Information:

There are three basic types of information that managers need:

  1. Strategic Information

    This information can help senior managers make long-range 'big picture' decisions. For example:

    • Will we open a new branch?

    • Will we offer a new line of products?

    • Will we change the structure of our operations?

  2. Tactical Information

    This information can help middle managers make decisions that may include:

    • Will we use a new marketing tool?

    • Do we need to set different productivity goals?

    • Will we change working hours to be more flexible?

  3. Operational Information

    This information is used by Team Leaders and teams to make decisions including:

    • Do we put more people on the evening shift?

    • What can we do to improve performance on the floor?

    • Should we restructure our system of monitoring calls?

If you would like to read more about types of information, look at the following:

Sources of Information:

Information comes from a variety of sources, formal and informal.

Formal sources

Formal sources of information can come from within or outside the organisation and include:

  • Internal

    • Computer systems (human resource, accounting, clients, inventory, purchasing)

    • Staff records

    • Accounting records

    • Annual reports

    • Long range planning records

    • Company reports

    • Business documents (letters, minutes of meetings)

  • External

    • Professional journals

    • Books

    • Surveys

    • Industry or government reports

Informal sources

Information from informal sources can include conversations with colleagues at lunch or from friends or other associates external to your company.

Sources of Call Centre Information:

Within Customer Contact Centres, you can obtain information from:

  • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) reports

  • Other system reports

  • Call monitoring checklists

  • Customers

  • Email

  • Human Resources department

  • Budgets

  • Marketing department

  • Company intranet

  • Staff memos

  • Company newsletters

  • Attending meetings

  • Your manager

  • Your team

  • Colleagues


Try This

Think about the types of information you require to do your job. List all the sources you currently use to obtain that information.

We often don't use all the information sources that are available to us. List other sources that are available to you that you don't use. Why don't you use them?

Save your work as Surname_IM_sources_list.doc to your Information Management Portfolio.

Send your work to your Mentor for feedback.