What is information architecture? Structuring content for maximum value


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Information architecture defined

Information architecture is a discipline focused on structuring, organizing, and categorizing content and data in an effective and usable way, largely for websites and applications.

Application front ends are becoming increasingly complex, spanning multiple platforms, covering multiple use cases, and drawing data from an ever-growing collection of information sources. Information architecture is the art of putting all the pieces together into a coherent whole.

Information architecture framework

Without solid information architecture, companies don’t get the maximum value out of the data collected in warehouses, says Daniel Wallance, associate partner at McKinsey & Co.

“The volumes of data have significantly increased over the past several years,” he says. That has forced organizations to pay attention to developing their information architecture frameworks based on enterprise-level decisions about choice of data platforms, tracking metadata across systems, and having single pane of glass visibility of data.

Creating an information architecture framework requires cooperation between infrastructure teams, data experts, business unit leaders, and risk managers, and often occurs over a multi-year period, Wallance says. “Establishing a clear information architecture vision and enabling strategy that has organizational-wide buy-in is essential.”

The payoff is that a contemporary information architecture will not only help a company extract maximum value from its data today, but also position it for future business needs and resiliency. The danger of not modernizing the information architecture framework is increased technology debt, which renders organizations incapable of making use of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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