Information consumers are everywhere are it has become of life that data and information have become driving forces in almost all aspects of our daily operations. With the ubiquity of the internet connection, today’s information consumers includes people of all ages and all walks of life and even non humans like artificial intelligence technologies are fast become major information consumers.
Some information systems give certain access privileges to different kinds of information consumers. For instance, administrative staff may only gain access to information related to admin relate database. Or sales staff may only access sales related data.
In another related aspect of information systems management, it is common to encounter access privileges pertaining to who has the right to read only access and who are the right to read and write access with the files. This is to ensure that that there will be breaches to the files or any unintentional altering of files which can cause disaster in the entire information system.
The best way to imagine information consumers which are not humans is to take the scenario of a data warehousing environment. This environment is a place for many computer servers running database management systems and other application programs that produce data whether in flat format or other digital data format.
A data warehouse is a repository of all sorts of enterprise historical and current transaction data. And as such, it needs to process and store very high volume of data every very short interval. Because of the labor intensity demanded of the high volume data, some of the data processing and storing are distributed in other data stores.
As the whole system progresses, each of the data stores as well the central data warehouse itself takes turn being information consumers from each other while they also take turns being distributors.
Information consumption grows directly proportional with the exponential growth of data. Everyday, as new technologies evolve on the internet as in the case of the emergence Web 2.0, more and more information consumers are coming and they come with bigger information demands.
The emergence of many social networking sites for instance has cause even ordinary grade school pupils to become information consumers despite their being aware of it since the moment they try to access the profiles of their friends’ social networking pages, the are already consuming information.
The ubiquity of e-commerce websites has also produced more information consumers with very high demands. Most customers for e-commerce websites make their transactions on the internet and most of these transactions need to deal with very sensitive information such are bank account details and credit card numbers.
Information systems processing these sensitive data from the back end needs to implemented high security features to avoid other "bad and unwelcome" information consumers who may be lurking in some dark corners of the internet waiting to fish for the sensitive information.
There are many codes or tools that just sit in one corner of the server as an information consumer waiting for the data to come and be processed accordingly. Some of these tools are called middleware and they act as an interface to an application with the server so in effect a middleware acts both as an information consumer and information distributor.
In an enterprise organization setting, the most powerful information consumers are those on the top positions like the chief executive officer and others holding managerial posts. But before information arrives to their desktops, the business intelligence processors have been an earlier information consumer getting most of the data from the enterprise data warehouse.