Converting data into information
However, on many farms, despite the increase in available data, important management decisions are still made in an unplanned way and based on intuition or experience (Groenendaal and Galligan, 2005). It also happens that all the data provided by new technologies are underutilized, either because of lack of training of the people working on the farm, because a new tool is launched without being sufficiently validated or because there is no communication between the systems used on the farm (Barkema et al., 2015).
Many of the on-farm systems are specific to collect data generated by devices, and subsequently analyze the performance of these devices and machinery. However, they do not provide a global view of the herd situation, but only allow action and analysis in one area of the farm. It is often the case that there is no connection or communication between these systems on a farm, and several apps and screens need to be checked to analyze the data and come to a conclusion. The more technology is introduced on farms, the more necessary it becomes to have a management software that can integrate information from all systems in one place, thus achieving a framework of effective, more visual, and understandable decision support tools, accurately reflecting the events occurring on the farm (Giordano et al., 2011). What is the point of having all this data otherwise?
To be clear, data is not the same as information. When we talk about data, we refer to measurements or values that are collected with the goal of making an analysis or obtaining a reference. The capacity to collect data is increasing. Information, on the other hand, is the result of reviewing and transforming data so that it can be analyzed, and knowledge is created. Most commonly, we are consumers of information, meaning this data that has been previously processed by the tool (i.e. software) to display it in a more visual and understandable way for the user.