The Role of Information Architecture

The Role of Information Architecture

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2527-3.ch010


Because the central theme of concern is the clarity and usefulness of the information presented by a strategic plan, the proposal is to examine the nature of information architecture for a solution. First there is a description of what the IT industry refers to as information architecture and what it describes and then to examine the way the idea of information architecture would apply to a strategic plan.
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What Is Information Architecture

A survey of Information Systems Managers in 1994 – 1995 (Brancheau, Janz and Wetherbe, 1995) showed that information architecture (IA) was ranked as the number 4 top issue. The term information architecture though, has varied definitions, with most recent articles all describing information architecture as an aspect of web site design (Toms, 2002). Previously, Brancheau et al. (1989) describe the building of information architecture centred on the business organisation. The information architecture (IA) had inputs from the business functions, organisational structure and existing applications but according to Brancheau was significantly focused on the data content of these components rather than the underlying information structure.

The IA described by these papers comprised the business function model, the global data model and entity descriptions. The business function model does include plans, budgets and forecasts but the focus appears to be more on the data classes and entity descriptions, which relate more specifically to the definition of the information systems data bases rather than an implementation plan containing the essential information required to enable staff to achieve the required strategic direction.

This emphasis on data and functions was possibly because the primary requirement for the IA was as a prelude to building the information system and specifically the core data base for the operational activities. This is a significant step forward for the information systems people to have this kind of information input into their information systems planning process but it does leave out the concept of performance measurement and management of future development and is more focussed on where the organisation is, rather than on where it wants to be.

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