World Class Information Architecture

December 27, 2008
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I read a good article in DM Review magazine (Vol 18, No. 11, November 2008) by Mike Cochrane, CIO of Palladium Systems on unstructured information. 

While I agree with Mike that we should prepare our systems & processes to handle unstructured data (for example, customer commentary in audio, video, body of an e-mail, word document, etc.), he presents a “World Class Information Architecture” that I found had a few problems:

– There is a distinc

I read a good article in DM Review magazine (Vol 18, No. 11, November 2008) by Mike Cochrane, CIO of Palladium Systems on unstructured information. 

While I agree with Mike that we should prepare our systems & processes to handle unstructured data (for example, customer commentary in audio, video, body of an e-mail, word document, etc.), he presents a “World Class Information Architecture” that I found had a few problems:

– There is a distinction between data management and actual data, so data needs it’s own layer: not all data goes into a data warehouse, cube, or other repository as Mike’s architecture has it;
– Application and End-user security are missing;
– Data security should come out of ‘Data Integration’ and be given it’s own layer, along with the missing application and end-user security components;
– IT Enablement (governance, etc) doesn’t stop at the End-User layer;
– The data integration layer should come between the data (and data management) and the applications platform;
– Mike relegates components of Enterprise Performance Management into an “Analytic Platform.”  He brings up some very good uses of Analytics (Driver-based causal analysis and trend analysis) to which I would add predictive analysis and statistical analysis, but the whole platform should be expanded to include all EPM applications (he’s missing financial & operational modeling and financial close & consolidation for example);
– Transactional applications are missing (eg: ERP, Supply Chain Management, HRIS, CRM, Sales Force Automation, and so on);
– Messaging applications are missing (e-mail, calendaring, etc.);
– There’s no Workflow, or Business Process Management layer;
– A couple of good ‘Business Enablement“ (end-user experience) items are missing including alerting, statutory reporting, etc.;
– A few important ”IT Enablement“ items are missing including Business/IT Alignment, Portfolio Management, and Enterprise Architecture services.

Mike’s architecture is a very good start and got me thinking about how I usually develop these with clients when we help with with their Strategy to Execution roadmap.  So I revised some of my recent diagrams, merged a few, and re-used Mike’s thinking.  Here’s the revised generic aspirational World Class Information Architecture:

IA v3 blog

What’s missing?  What’s in here that shouldn’t be?  Looking forward to your comments!

And if you’d like a larger PDF copy of the diagram, please e-mail info@business-foundation.com

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