“Information technology” (IT) likely first appeared in a Harvard Business Review article in November 1958, and refers to the use of computing technology to create, process, manage, store, retrieve, share, and distribute information (data).

Early use of the term did not discriminate between types of information or data, but in practice, until the late 1970s, business applications were limited to structured data that could be managed by information systems based on hierarchical and then relational databases. Also see content technology and unstructured data.