Editor's Note: Jonathan Wu's November column is also featured in the November 22, 2000 issue of DM Direct.

Within the information systems and databases of an organization lie tremendous opportunities in the data collected. The organizations that can leverage technology to exploit their data will realize the benefits by creating a competitive advantage for itself. The competitive advantages are in the form of identifying trends, unusual patterns and hidden relationships that a competitor may not realize. This can be used to create new opportunities and give the organization an edge on its competition. Taking data and realizing the benefits involve several layers of understanding. Figure 1 depicts the transition of data into wisdom with a narrative of each layer of understanding.

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