Data processing: definition, methods, stages

Data processing: definition, methods, stages

Data processing is a crucial process in any company as it helps make data useful and increases their competitive edge. Businesses are able to thrive because they translate information into formats that are useful for them. The conversion of this raw info to useful forms is done through a manual or automatic predefined sequence of operations.

Data processing

Source: UGC

Understanding the meaning, stages, and methods is crucial if you want to have a clear idea of the main principles of the data processing cycle.

What is data processing?

It is a scientific process that is done by scientists in a company as a way of translating collected content into usable formats. This has to be conducted carefully to avoid making costly mistakes. Usually, the beginning of it all is with raw info which is then converted into more readable formats that are then easily interpreted by computers. The info also becomes legible to employees who need it for daily operations.

The stages involved

Now that we understand what data processing is, the next sensible thing would be to know the steps involved. There are six stages that you ought to keep in mind. These are:

1. Collection

It is one of the earliest stages of data processing you ought to know. Here, raw information is pulled from different sources including warehouses and lakes. The crucial thing is to ensure that this content is from reliable and trustworthy sources. It is one of the easiest ways to guarantee quality information afterwards.

2. Preparation

Information processing

Source: UGC

It is also known as the pre-conversion stage which is the clean-up stage for all raw content. Some of the activities involved here include error checks which help in eliminating bad info. This means that all redundant, incorrect and incomplete data is eliminated. It is the beginning of creating quality information which goes towards ensuring business intelligence.

3. Input

The clean content gathered above is then transferred into its destinations. It is translated into an understandable language. This marks the first stage in which original content begins to transform into useful information.

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4. Processing

This stage involves the conversion of inputted content for interpretation. Machine learning algorithms are used in transforming content. However, the process may vary slightly based on the source of data.

5. Interpretation/Output

This stage is when content finally becomes usable to ordinary people. At this stage, non-scientists can also comprehend it. The info at this point is already translated, and as such, it is already readable. It is usually in the form of videos, graphs, plain text and images. Other users can now access the content and use it for their own analytics.

6. Storage

Data processing

Source: UGC

This being the last stage of the operation, it can now be stored for future use. It is possible that after the translation, only part of the information serves its purposes immediately. The remaining bit is stored for future use. After all, storage is in compliance with the data protection legislation. In addition to that, properly stored info becomes easily accessible to all employees in an organisation.

Methods of data processing

As earlier mentioned, the stages of data processing may depend on the method used. These methods include the following:

1. Manual

This is where content is manually transformed using a tool or machine to achieve desired results. Every calculation and logical operation on the raw info is done manually. The same applies to any transfers of information that has to be done.

2. Mechanical

In this stage, info is collected and worked on using different machinery including printers and typewriters. The technique is faster and more accurate compared to the manual one.

3. Electronic (EDP)

Popularly known as EDP, this technique is the best when it comes to processing information. It is a modern method of transforming content using a computer which does all the processes by command. The accuracy and speed levels in this technique are incredibly high and as such, efficient. The methods under this category of EDP include:

  • Batch
  • Online
  • Real-Time and
  • Distributed processing

These stages and methods of data processing guarantee quality information access that can be used to help propel a business to success. As things keep changing over time, there is increasing complexity in the area. It is believed that the future of this industry is in the clouds. Enhancement of cloud technology makes it possible to achieve this. Make sure your business invests in data processing if you want to increase your competitive edge.



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