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Information vs. Intelligence

Tim Lawton • 27 Jul 2017

If you’ve ever worked in the military, cybersecurity, or even corporate compliance- you have most likely heard a debate about the differences between information and intelligence. 

Two very different, but often confused, concepts. Both concepts have very broad meanings when it comes to data and what types of data your organization deals with.

Here, when we talk about either, we’re talking about information or intelligence that comes from direct engagement with any group that your organization connects with. 

Whether it be your customers, employees, or any other beneficiary of your business model, there are vast amounts of information to be gained and intelligence to be acquired.


What is the Difference Between Information and Intelligence 

Information helps describe the world around us, whether in the present moment or perceptions about the past or future. It tells us how the world is. It tells us the what. Being able to find out that what is often the easy part. There are many ways to acquire it. However, information for information’s sake isn’t worth a whole lot if you stop there. Information only becomes intelligence when you start to add context and some actual analysis around it all.

Intelligence guides, predicts, and advises. It is the capacity to use the information you've collected to solve problems. It can tell us the why. Arguably, finding out the why is often the toughest part. Intelligence not only helps us understand why things are the way they are, but it also helps to guide decisions that enact effective change. The keyword being effective.


Decision-Making with Information vs Intelligence

Decision-makers can (and certainly do) enact change just from information alone. But intelligence-driven decisions allow you to have more confidence in what the outcome is likely to be, e.g. effective change. When an organization is making any type of a decision, time and money are always at play. Being confident in those decisions should be a top priority.

The truth of the matter is that regardless of the industry or sector that you are working in, information is most likely coming at you so fast you don’t know what to do with it. Quite possibly, adding “analyzing data for some sort of intelligence” doesn’t squeeze nicely into your already packed schedule. 

You need a better way, a faster way.


Intelligence Driven Decisions with SightX

At SightX, we set out to do one thing- have a major impact on each organization that we partner with. We provide a virtual data scientist that helps analyze the deluge of data you are gathering so you can gain the intelligence needed to make effective decisions.

We understand that the majority of analysts’ time goes to cleaning and organizing data. We are making sure that all of your time- in some cases up to 80% of working hours- is now spent on actual analysis.

Intelligence, not information, is what you need to better understand the people, customers, or employees that you’re engaging with. In today’s world, the most powerful organizations are the ones that combine the best human levels of intelligence, emotional insight, and ability to handle uncertainty with software that automates busy work.


Tim Lawton

Tim Lawton

Tim is the co-founder of SightX and our expert in sales, M&A deals, and financing. Tim graduated from West Point and served as an active duty Army infantry officer. He received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and worked on Wall Street before diving into the world of research tech.

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