Enterprise Architecture

Information management marries the classification of information with the information and communication technologies.  The Enterprise Architecture stage of the IM Model is the bridge between those two elements.

The definition for enterprise architecture provided by the Institute for Enterprise Architecture is: [a complete expression of the enterprise; a master plan which “acts as a collaboration force” between aspects of business planning such as goals, visions, strategies and governance principles; aspects of business operations such as business terms, organization structures, processes and data; aspects of automation such as information systems and databases; and the enabling technological infrastructure of the business such as computers, operating systems and networks.]

There are a number of enterprise architecture frameworks available.  Many will be familiar with the Zachman Framework, the Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) and the Meta Framework that was taken over by Gartner.  Each of these frameworks have pros and cons depending on your objectives.  For a good article that compares these frameworks click here.  Within the Canadian federal government, there is a working group developing an enterprise architecture framework.  The results of their work are available to government of Canada employees through GCPedia – the government of Canada wiki.

One aspect of the definition provided by the Institute for Enterprise Architecture that I find missing is the information architecture component.  Maybe data is supposed to cover all information formats, but in my world data tends to refer to information elements stored in a database, and information (the generic term) tends to refer to unstructured information such as text, audio and video.  (Segway: I sometimes think this subtlety is what is causing a mis-communication between classification specialists and application development specialists.)

An interesting open source information architecture framework that has been evolving for the last few years is MIKE2.0.  It started in 2007 through BearingPoint.  When I first started following it in 2008 it was very data focused, but over the last year it has really evolved to encompass all forms of information formats.  An article Hello My Name is Mike2.0 from the e-zine Information Management provides a good overview of the site and what it provides.  It has also been adopted by AIIM as the cornerstone of its enterprise2.0 certification program.

One thing I have learnt with developing and implementing an IM Program is that the biggest challenge is not the technologies, methodologies, standards, etc.  There are a lot of references available if you know where to look or are curious enough to search.  No, the biggest challenge is the cultural change that must occur in all areas of the organization for these frameworks to be understood and adopted – which is why my IM model is more high level and geared to a business audience.  I need to sell IM and its practices in a fashion that business owners can understand.  For my technical audience, Mike2.0 is a great communication tool.

For anyone on twitter interested in enterprise architecture, follow the hashtag #entarch – thanks to @webtechman for that reference.



I am a strategic information management specialist that brings together knowledge from diversified fields to deliver value driven solutions to meet client's business objectives.
This entry was posted in Information Architecture, Information Management, Managing Change. Bookmark the permalink.

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