- Data: Is the product of observations of people and measurements and facts about the world in which the business resides.
- Information: Is contained in the description of the data. It adds context through the application of patterns and structure allowing for the answers of questions such as who, what, where, when and how many?
- Knowledge: Is attained in the ability to define what the information patterns mean in relation to the business and to consequently being able to apply the definition to create predictable future outcomes.
- Understanding: Is the state where explanations of how and why the patterns exist can be expressed. Plausible predictions arising from being able to consider the actual causes relating to a business situation. Understanding allows for answering the question ‘Why?’
- Wisdom: Provides the ability to perceive and evaluate the long-term consequences of behaviour allowing the business to better decide what to do when confronted by a situation in which it may or may not have experience. Wisdom allows for reliably being able to answer the question ‘What if?’
An Enterprise Architecture provides a means through which information on data collected from within the business can be contextualised, structured and analysed. Depending on how an Enterprise Architecture is expressed it may also provide predictive tools supporting the realisation of understanding and the acquisition of wisdom.
An Enterprise Architecture by itself contains neither understanding nor wisdom. Both of these states however can be realised in individuals using contents of the Enterprise Architecture to provide them with the necessary insight.