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  • Writer's pictureClaudia Oradan

Differences between Data, Information, Information Systems, and Information Technology


Before we dive into the main differences between IS and IT, let’s discuss some crucial new concepts. First, what is information? Information is analysed and organized data that is given context to receive meaning. But what is data, then? Data is the raw facts, values, statistics, or any piece of text that has been collected to be processed into meaningful information ( n.d.). The two tables below will help enumerate some of the main differences between data and information:

Data Significance Data is not significant, without organization and analysis it has no use.

Representation Can be structured in a pie chart, line chart, or in a table such as this one.

Form Pure data is called data in a raw form. It is usually a text or numbers, but it can be in audio or video format as well.

Reliability Unreliable. Raw data has no context and without analysis it does not say anything.

Dependency Independent. It is usually text or numbers and it does not alter with circumstances.

Input & Output Data is an input that is waiting to be processed.

Decision making Data cannot help in decision making. For that, we need to analyse the data and get the information.

(Kumar 2018)


Significance Significant. Information is the data that has been organized and now has a meaning.

Representation Is the thoughts and ideas that come from the data charts and tables.

Form Comes as conclusion after analysing the data and giving it context.

Reliability It is reliable because it now has context.

Dependency Depends on the data, it changes if the data changes.

Input & Output It is the output that comes from analysing the data.

Decision making Information is the very thing people need in order to be able to make decisions.

(Kumar 2018)

Now, information technology, or IT, was developed primarily to process data, and to store, operate, and share information. IT has four elements: products, methods, inventions, and standards (Kroenke and Boyle 2018). However, information systems (IS) is how we use IT to help collect the necessary information to operate a business. IS has five components: hardware, software, data, procedures, and, most importantly, people (Kroenke and Boyle 2018). Some examples of IS are enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management (Columbia Southern University n.d.). The table below shows the differences between IT and IS:

Information Technology (IT)


The devices, software, internet, everything that supports technology.


The procedures of how we evaluate a product.


Products developed by new ideas that make continuous progress possible.


The criteria of the procedures by how we evaluate a product.

Information Systems (IS)


Every IS needs a hardware or a device to run on. This hardware can be a desktop, laptop, server, smartphone, tablet, and every external hardware device connected to them (such as monitor, keyboard, etc.)


This includes every program or app used on the hardware to achieve the goal (such as this word-processing software, website, etc.)


Data consists of every input we put into the software (text, numbers).


These are the techniques or actions we follow and do when manipulating information: data entry, data saving, printing, etc.)


Human resources working with the data.

(Kroenke and Boyle 2018)

However, the biggest difference between IT and IS is that we can buy IT, but we can’t buy an IS. An information system is developed and managed by employees and cannot be readily purchased. On the other hand, every part of the information technology can be purchased, but it needs human resources to operate those devices, software, and work along predesigned standards (Kroenke and Boyle 2018).


References (2020, December 11). What Is The Difference Between Data And Information?

Kumar, T. (2020, November 18). 10 Main Differences between Data and Information.

Kroenke, D. M., & Boyle, R. J. (2018). Using MIS (10th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.


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