I believe an Information Architect’s primary purpose isto increase the value of the information assets belonging to anorganization. Securing and makinginformation available is no longer sufficient to grow the competitivecapabilities of an organization. Information architects must get:
- the right information
- to the right person
- at the right time
- in the right format
- so the best decisions can be made at all levels of theorganization.
To assist Information Architects in understanding anddefining a process to increase the value of information assets, I have createdan Information Value Lifecycle map. Thisis the first step in understanding the characteristics of information on theway to building Polyglot Persistent Architectures.
Building an Information Value Lifecycle map is done in 7steps.
Step 1 – Build the Information Value Lifecycle maplayout.
Each organization has multiple levels of decisionmaking. For each level of decisionmaking, there are Information Usage patterns and the Information Structuresneeded to support the usages. Theexample below starts with the Transaction Owners, the staff that create,maintain and own the transactions required to run the business. At the highest level are the CEO and Board ofDirectors (BoD). Maps will differ toreflect each organization’s hierarchical process of decision making.
Step 2 – Define the Information Usage patterns and theInformation Structures needed to support the Information Usage pattern.
Typically different levels of decision making requiredifferent levels of aggregation and summarization of information – from simpletransaction reporting to cross line of business and industry aggregations, analytics and predictive analysis. Information architectures over the years haveevolved well know sets of information structures (most commonly 3rdNormal Form, Star, Snowflake and Cube schemas) needed to support these UsagePatterns.
Step 3 – Define the processes needed to transform andaggregate information from transactions to the highest level of the decisionmaking process.
Extract, transform and load (ETL) processes moveinformation from one level of decision making to the next based on theinformation usage patterns. Mappingthese ETL process at a high level ensures data linage is understood andinformation accuracy is guaranteed. Someapplications provide capabilities that ‘jump’ the information past some levels tothe highest levels of the decision making process. Oracle Hyperion is an example.
Step 4 – Record Master Data Management usage patterns
Understanding Master Data usage patterns gives insightsinto which types of information are most important to an organization. They also indicate the level of informationmanagement maturity – more usage of master data reflects an understanding ofthe value of master data and a willingness to invest to realize that value.
Step 5 – Identify Big Data usage patterns
Most organizations have begun the process of deployingand realizing the value of Big Data. RecordingBig Data usage patterns shows the maturity of an organization in relationshipto their ability to adopt and deploy new technologies.
Step 6 – Identify the ‘Gold Nuggets’ in Big Data
Identify where Big Data data mining and analytics hasincreased the quality and/or quantity of information inputted into the InformationValue Lifecycle. These processes arecommonly referred to as finding the ‘Gold Nuggets’ of information that were previouslynot known. It’s important to understandthe value of the ‘Gold Nuggets’ in the decision making process of anorganization to justify the level of effort and expense of deploying Big Dataarchitectures.
Step 7 – Identify new Big Data information valueopportunities
The low cost of some Big Data architectures has allowedorganization to capture new sources of data that have lead to new ways of doingbusiness. Many of these use casesinclude social media as a way of judging the success of marketing campaigns andnew product lunches. Capturing these BigData opportunities shows the agility and innovativeness of an organization.
In the next blog I will introduce the 16 Information Characteristics that make up the heart of the Information Characteristics Architecture Method.