What Is Data and Intelligence


The term “data” refers to raw facts, events, experiences, and observations. Data can be thought of as signals we receive through our senses. Data is defined by what it is not: lacking meaning or value, unorganised and unprocessed.

Examples of data include the number of people supported by a service, the time taken to complete a process, or the cost of an activity.


Information is made up of linked data elements. Information is data that has relevance and context.

For example, road collision statistics across Devon are data. Having the data organised so that we can determine patterns gives rise to information.


Knowledge is organised information – a mix of information, understanding, capability, experience, skills and values. Knowledge often requires expertise and the ability to place information within context of experience.

For example, facts and figures about the performance of a provider are data and information. Knowledge is the ability to put that information into context and realize how they are meeting the intended outcomes of a contract.


Wisdom is a difficult and elusive concept not easily captured by definition. It is beyond merely having knowledge, it is the ability to identify and apply relevant knowledge. It is the synthesis of knowledge and experiences into insights that deepen one’s understanding of relationships and the meaning of life. In other words, knowledge is a tool, and wisdom is the craft in which the tool is used.

For example, if data and information and knowledge provide information about the people of Devon and how external events are affecting them, wisdom is knowing what actions to take or not to take. This wisdom typically only comes with experience and higher-level learning.


Intelligence is the product resulting from the collection, evaluation, collation, interpretation, and analysis of all available data and information concerning the intentions, capabilities and objectives of known or suspected current or future adversaries vital to an organisation’s development and execution of plans, policies, decisions, and courses of action.