Nino and Gigo (from IT 101)

Nino and Gigo are a couple of concepts in Information Technology that often seem to be ignored. Nino is "nothing in nothing out" and his famous cousin Gigo is "garbage in garbage out".

The field of IT is constantly bombarded with requests for information about business in the form of summaries and reports. One of the things that many people forget is that what you get out of a system will only be a reflection of what you put in both in terms of quality and quantity. Nino and Gigo are not limited to computer information either. If you don't collect and maintain relevant information about transactions you won't be able to learn from it.

In the past we were limited to gathering basic information due to limits on storage and data processing capabilities. With current systems the ability to store and process the raw data is considerably improved. Compression algorithms are better disk space is cheaper and computers and their operating systems are faster. Now there is little reason not to put everything relevant that you can in the system.

But that's just the raw material. Planning an information processing system must involve a careful analysis of the information you have (or want to gather) and how the components relate to each other. If the data is unrelated then any analysis based on it will be limited. This is where the quality of the information is important.

Even if the info is related what you want to learn must be relevant. You have to decide what you want to learn and be able to prove that the data you have does indeed relate. You can still make garbage out of good groceries. Just because there is more data doesn't necessarily mean there is less garbage.

Computers aren't magicians. Humans have to make it work. Data are just ingredients. Humans have to put that information IN and humans have to get the information they want OUT.

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