Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge
Developing an EA

Data and Information Management

Author: Saurabh Mittal, PhD

Enterprise Information Management manages the activities of both the data architect and the enterprise architect. While the job of enterprise architecture is to focus on satisfaction of business requirements for multiple stakeholders, the job of the data architect is to ensure that the enterprise has the right information available at the right time to communicate effectively and make sound and timely business decisions. Many organizations have the dual roles of Data Architect and Enterprise Architect. A good information management program establishes policies, frameworks, technologies and tools to address data models, data lineage, data quality, data profiling and stewardship.

Enterprise-wide data management begins with the business requirements that lead to the data architecture and the data model. This is supported by data configuration management, data lifecycle management, data governance, profiling and quality considerations.

The Enterprise Architect focuses on the conceptual data model and the data architect develops the logical data model, followed by the physical data model. To have a successful data model, it should be able to scale both vertically and horizontally. Scaling vertically implies that it is tractable across the conceptual, logical and physical layers. Scaling horizontally implies that the same layers are applicable to different business domains, such as Human Resources, Finance, Marketing. This facilitates data stewardship as various domains can claim the appropriate ownership.

Data configuration management defines data stewards and make the key data entities integrate with dependent systems (e.g. Product, Customer, Vendor). This ensures that duplicity is handled appropriately. This is further supported by versioning, data hierarchies and various instrumentation and reporting mechanisms. Data lifecycle management involves the creation, update, usage and archival of data entities. Data governance identifies data stewards and establishes guidelines for process, documentation, permissions and communications. Data stewards working together with the enterprise architects ensure business alignment.

When the data sources are aligned with the business mission, integration of various data sources from different domains help develop business information knowledge-base that becomes a strategic asset. This strategic asset impacts the economic output of the business, thereby, becoming as an economic resource that moves the business mission forward. Information and strategic information management is critical towards the assessment of the internal and external environments when assessing the impact of each information unit in the larger organizational structure.

To proactively perform information management:

  1. Establish information as a resource in the organization at executive levels
  2. Establish ownership of enterprise architecture initiatives that brings together information, business strategy and plans
  3. Adapt architecture initiatives to promote effective use of information and maintenance of information quality and quantity
  4. Model the organization as an information-centric business
  5. Define information-intensiveness and relate organizationís products and services with information-rich scenarios
  6. Measure the organizationís orientation towards various information behaviors and values and apply information management principles along with IT management principles

References

  1. North, E., North, J., Benade, S., (2004) Information Management and Enterprise Architecture Planning Ė A Juxtaposition, Problems and perspectives in management.
  2. Zachman, J.A. (1999) A Framework for Information Systems Architecture. IBM Systems Journal, 38(3):454-470
Developing an EA