Let us start with the first element of DIKW pyramid i.e. DATA and the first place to look for definition of the word DATA is WIKI.
There are multiple definitions based on subject area. Since our focus is on Business Intelligence, we can look from this context as “data is the most atomic representation of anything that can be captured or measured”. Since the term anything is ambiguous, it can be seen as just collection of items, event, transaction, generated by automaton etc.
In simple terms, Data is nothing but a bunch of numbers and characters and looks like gibberish from a high level. Now, turn off your natural tendency to find patterns and just look at the snippet below.
Data can be structured or un-structured or semi-structured, but the structure of data is not in focus at the moment. Moreover, data can be a mix of different types as represented in the snippet above.
Essentially data is a collection of binary or numeric or characters or words or sentences or unicode objects or pictures or videos mashed up without a real pattern in sight.