Data Processing Vs. Data Management Systems

Although Data Processing and Data Management Systems both refer to functions that take raw data and transform it into usable information, the usage of the terms is very different. Data Processing is the term generally used to describe what was done by large mainframe computers from the late 1940’s until the early 1980’s (and which continues to be done in most large organizations to a greater or lesser extent even today): large volumes of raw transaction data fed into programs that update a master file, with fixed- format reports written to paper.

The term Data Management Systems refers to an expansion of this concept, where the raw data, previously copied manually from paper to punched cards, and later into data-entry terminals, is now fed into the system from a variety of sources, including ATMs, EFT, and direct customer entry through the Internet. The master file concept has been largely displaced by database management systems, and static reporting replaced or augmented by ad-hoc reporting and direct inquiry, including downloading of data by customers. The ubiquity of the Internet and the Personal Computer have been the driving force in the transformation of Data Processing to the more global concept of Data Management Systems.