Data. Data are “raw facts” of events or objects that provide either a measurement or help in decision making (Baltzan, 2015, p. 6). For example, a cost accountant can use data extrapolated from a computer application that can point to how a company can become more efficient. This brings up the next element of the information age:
Information. This is when data is used in a useful manner. The accountant uses the data as information for the decision to increase logistic efficiency by limiting the number of days inventory is shipped out. When information is collected from multiple sources for strategic decision making, it becomes:
Business Intelligence (BI). BI manipulates numerous variables from different sources to help decisions be properly made with the right data to back it up. For example, the cost accountant may use information from the logistics department, weather analysis, and the holiday season approaching to decide which days are best to ship inventory to stores. The final element of the information age is:
Knowledge. This knowledge the cost accountant has—the skills, experience, and expertise from the information he has gathered—will help them make the right decisions (Baltzan, 2015, p. 7).
2. Systems thinking is how a business can thoroughly monitor every step of its system, from input, to processes, to output. Management information systems (...
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...n the same market typically will seek to duplicate that competitive advantage (Baltzan, 2015, p. 15).
One example that immediately sticks out is when Amazon first introduced the Amazon Kindle. The first e-reader of its kind, the Kindle revolutionized the way people read books (Amazon, 2015). However, competitor Barnes & Noble quickly tried to nullify this competitive advantage—they introduced their e-reader, the Nook—two years after the Amazon Kindle was first released (Barnes and Noble, 2015).
Another example is between two companies owned by Proctor and Gamble—Max Factor and Cover Girl. These two cosmetic companies were competing in the same market, however Cover Girl held the competitive advantage because they were well known in the United States. In other countries, Max Factor did well in those markets, but could not compete in the US (McGrath, 2009).
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