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Introduction to Data Processing

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Data processing, the conversion of raw data into meaningful information, is pivotal in today’s information-driven world. The Data Processing process is vital across various sectors, from business and science to real-time applications, shaping the way we interpret and utilize information.

In this article, we’ll delve into data processing process, what is data processing?

What is Data Processing?

Data processing means to processing of data i.e. to convert its format. As we all know data is the very useful and when it is well presented, and it becomes informative and useful. Data processing process system is also referred as information system. It is also right to say that data processing becomes the process of converting information into data and also vice-versa.

What is Data Processing?

Processing Data vs Processed Data

Processing data definition involves defining and managing the structure, characteristics, and specifications of data within an organization.

Processed data definition typically refers to the refined and finalized specifications and attributes associated with data after it has undergone various processing steps.

Processing Data reflects the ongoing activities to improve data quality, while processed data represents the outcome of those activities—a refined and organized dataset that is poised for effective utilization. Both stages are integral to the data management lifecycle, contributing to the overall success of data-driven initiatives and informed decision-making within organizations.

In simple words, processing of data can be expressed as:

  • Process of conversion of data in the computer understandable format.
  • The sorting or processing of data by a computer.

Stages of Data Processing Process

Data processing process involves a series of stages to transform raw data into meaningful information. Here are the six fundamental stages of data processing process:

1. Collection

The process begins with the collection of raw data from various sources. The stage establishes the foundation for subsequent processing, ensuring a comprehensive pool of data relevant to the intended analysis. It could include surveys, sensors, databases, or any other means of gathering relevant information.

2. Preparation

Data preparation focuses on organizing, data cleaning, and formatting raw data. Irrelevant information is filtered out, errors are corrected, and the data is structured in a way that facilitates efficient analysis during subsequent stages of processing.

3. Input

During the data input stage, the prepared data is entered into a computer system. This can be achieved through manual entry or automated methods, depending on the nature of the data and the systems in place.

4.Data Processing

The core of data processing involves manipulating and analyzing the prepared data. Operations such as sorting, summarizing, calculating, and aggregating are performed to extract meaningful insights and patterns.

5. Data Output

The results of data processing are presented in a comprehensible format during the data output stage. This could include reports, charts, graphs, or other visual representations that facilitate understanding and decision-making based on the analyzed data.

6. Data Storage

The final stage entails storing the processed data for future reference and analysis. This is crucial for maintaining a historical record, enabling efficient retrieval, and supporting ongoing or future data-related initiatives. Proper data storage ensures the longevity and accessibility of valuable information.

Data Processing Process

There are three main data processing methods – manual, mechanical and electronic.

Manual Data Processing

Manual data processing relies on human effort to manage and manipulate data. It involves tasks such as sorting, calculating, and recording information without the use of machines or electronic devices. While it is prone to errors and time-consuming, manual processing remains relevant in situations where human judgment, intuition, or a personal touch is necessary.

Mechanical Data Processing

Mechanical data processing involves the use of machines, like punch cards or mechanical calculators, to handle data. It represents an intermediate stage between manual and electronic processing, offering increased efficiency over manual methods but lacking the speed and sophistication of electronic systems. This method was prominent before the widespread adoption of computers.

Electronic Data Processing

Electronic data processing leverages computers and digital technology to perform data-related tasks. It has revolutionized the field by significantly enhancing processing speed, accuracy, and capacity. Electronic data processing encompasses various techniques, including batch processing, real-time processing, and online processing, making it a cornerstone of modern information management and analysis.

Types of Data Processing

There are 7 types of Data Processing, mentioned below:

1. Manual Data Processing

In this type, data is processed by humans without the use of machines or electronic devices. It involves tasks such as manual calculations, sorting, and recording, making it a time-consuming process.

2. Mechanical Data Processing

This type utilizes mechanical devices, such as punch cards or mechanical calculators, to process data. While more efficient than manual processing, it lacks the speed and capabilities of electronic methods.

3. Electronic Data Processing

Electronic Data Processing (EDP) involves the use of computers to process and analyze data. It significantly enhances speed and accuracy compared to manual and mechanical methods, making it a fundamental shift in data processing.

4. Batch Data Processing

Batch processing involves grouping data into batches and processing them together at a scheduled time. It is suitable for non-time-sensitive tasks and is efficient for large-scale data processing.

5. Real-time Data Processing

Real-time processing deals with data immediately as it is generated. It is crucial for time-sensitive applications, providing instant responses and updates, often seen in applications like financial transactions and monitoring systems.

6. Online Data Processing

Online Data Processing (OLTP) involves processing data directly while it is being collected. It is interactive and supports concurrent transactions, making it suitable for applications that require simultaneous user interaction and data updates.

7. Automatic Data Processing

Automatic Data Processing (ADP) refers to the use of computers and software to automate data processing tasks. It encompasses various methods, including batch processing and real-time processing, to efficiently handle large volumes of data with minimal human intervention.

Examples of Data Processing

  • Stock exchanges process a massive volume of data during trades. The system matches buy and sell orders, updates stock prices in real-time, and records transaction details to maintain an accurate and transparent market.
  • In manufacturing, data processing is used for quality control. Sensors and monitoring devices collect data on production processes, and algorithms analyze this information to identify defects, ensuring product quality.
  • Smart home devices process data from sensors and user inputs to perform tasks like adjusting thermostats, controlling lights, and managing security systems based on predefined settings or user preferences.
  • Electronic Health Records (EHRs) store and process patient data in healthcare settings. This includes medical history, test results, and treatment plans, facilitating efficient and accurate healthcare delivery.

Advantages of Data Processing

  • Highly efficient
  • Time-saving
  • High speed
  • Reduces errors

Disadvantages of Data Processing

  • Large power consumption
  • Occupies large memory.
  • The cost of installation is high
  • Wastage of memory

The Future of Data Processing

The evolution of data processing marks a significant transition towards a future where analytics takes center stage. Traditionally, data processing involved the organization and manipulation of data to make it usable for various applications. However, the future landscape of data processing is characterized by a shift from mere processing to a more sophisticated focus on analytics. This paradigm emphasizes extracting meaningful insights, patterns, and knowledge from the processed data. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of not just managing data but leveraging it strategically to gain a competitive edge. The future of data processing lies in the seamless integration of advanced analytics techniques, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to derive actionable insights and support informed decision-making.

From Processing Data to Performing Analytics

Once the processing of data is completed, the next crucial step is performing analytics. Analytics involves the application of statistical and mathematical techniques to uncover patterns, trends, and relationships within the data. Whether using descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, or prescriptive analytics, organizations can extract valuable information to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and gain a deeper understanding of their operations. The insights derived from analytics empower businesses and researchers to identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and drive innovation, ultimately contributing to more informed and strategic decision-making.


In conclusion, data processing is the backbone of information management, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and decision-making. From traditional manual methods to the cutting-edge electronic processing, the evolution of data processing methods has transformed how we collect, analyze, and store data.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What is an example of data processing?

Processing sales transactions in a retail system, including recording purchases, updating inventory, and generating receipts, is an example of data processing.

What is a data processing job?

A data processing job involves managing and manipulating data, often using software tools, to extract meaningful insights or support organizational decision-making.

What is the basic data processing?

Basic data processing includes tasks like sorting, organizing, and summarizing data, ensuring its accuracy and reliability for further analysis or reporting.

What is data processing also known as?

Data processing is also known as information processing, reflecting its role in transforming raw data into meaningful and useful information.

Is data processing a good job?

Yes, data processing can be a rewarding job, offering opportunities to work with data, contribute to decision-making, and play a crucial role in various industries’ efficiency and success.

What is data processing in DBMS?

In Database Management Systems (DBMS), data processing involves querying, updating, and managing data within databases for efficient retrieval and utilization.

Last Updated : 11 Feb, 2024
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