Information Architecture and Component Content Management

Introduction

In this article, we take a top-down view, from the business enterprise architecture to an information architecture, the essential component of every content management strategy. We also look at what we call a product information model, which takes the concept of information architecture to a more detailed level, helping organisations that build a number of product variants deliver the right type of information to support a specific product variant, or type, or model.

Today, one of the key enablers of any company’s business operating model and digital strategy is an enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture (EA) is a framework, or organising logic, for the way core business processes, IT systems, and also people (and human functions), integrate and work together.

EA allows for better strategic differentiation and is a key to longer-term efficiency, as well as helping standardise technologies and business processes, and generally improving performance and productivity.

Standard core business processes include Product Development, Marketing, Sales, Accounting, Order Fulfilment, and Management. Examples of supporting business processes are Financial Analysis & Reporting, Quality & Process Improvement, Information Technology, Legal, and HR.

A vital component and subset of enterprise architecture is Information Architecture.

Information architecture

Like EA, information architecture (IA) is also an organising framework that spans a number of key processes across the company. These include product development, sales and marketing, corporate communications, customer support, technical communications, training, IT, and information management.

IA is a way of designing, structuring, and understanding the complex information environments found in business corporations. A good definition of IA is: the framework for organising information to help users find what they need, and for enabling and supporting the efficient management and delivery of content.

Just as an enterprise architecture is an essential prerequisite for developing an effective information architecture, the IA is itself an essential requirement for companies investing in or improving content management capabilities.

The IA is about bringing order to what information content currently exists and making the user experience (UX) better and more productive. It helps anyone who uses, creates, and maintains information content to do their job more effectively, by organising available material to make it more usable and easier to find.

Content can be information of any kind, such as data, text, images, videos, whole documents, software modules, code examples, applications, and online help. Content can…

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