If you want to save money, you have to be efficient. Efficiency comes in different shapes and sizes so we can measure it with different metrics, but one of the most common values that we use is time. Companies with a thoroughly processed workflow can use time efficiently, which allows them to save money.
So, you are aware of one of the biggest advantages of Enterprise Information Architecture (EIA). But if you want to know more, read on.
What is Enterprise Information Architecture?
Being effective and efficient doesn’t just save you time. It works hand in hand with minimizing the risk of errors or losing important assets, automating workflow, and empowering employees with the correct data or information.
Correctly built Enterprise Information Architecture creates a similar environment. Thanks to the solid building blocks of sharing information, you can use data and information faster, easier, and with fewer costs. EIA lets you share crucial data such as documents, reports, visualizations, invoices, or corporate identity assets across organizational units. For example, you can share across different branches, but also across different departments.
While Enterprise Information Architecture itself can be a vaguely abstract term, it is associated with a concrete solution you use in your organization. It may be an Enterprise Resource Planning solution, website, CRM, or CMS system. What you see in the system is a visual representation of information architecture.
Components of Enterprise Information Architecture
EIA consists of several subcomponents that would be out of context without each other:
Business Architecture puts data into a business perspective using models such as:
- Corporate Data Model
- Function Model
- Interaction Model
- Current Systems Model
Every model has its meaning. Some depict the use of data and how employees should interact with it, whilst others describe the core business function regardless of the technology or systems being used.
Technical Architecture maps the current and desired technical environment for the use of data and information.
Organization Architecture shows how units of the company execute the processes.
How can sharing information be costly?
Perhaps you are wondering how sharing data and information can cost you not just time, but also money. Everyone has heard of the equation 'time = money', but it has a more specific meaning.
With under-defined Enterprise Information Architecture, you may lack transparency, clarity, unification, or strategy in sharing data. To correct these flaws, you may end up pay for another service that could be easily avoided with strategic thinking. Costs could rise due to a larger cloud space, staff training, new physical technology, archiving, etc.
Why is Enterprise Information Architecture important?
Unification makes orientation easier
A designed communication process erases mistakes when looking for information. New and seasoned employees alike will find that thanks to the unified framework, they can find what they are looking for without having to ask different colleagues or departments.
Development of common language (in information sharing)
Sharing information face-to-face can often be difficult. Now consider sharing information through pieces of incomplete data that must be put together in context to make sense. Successful and correct implementation of Enterprise Information Architecture can create a series of processed steps of how to put data together and get the right information. Regardless of whether you are in your parent company or a new branch abroad, you can easily understand what to do with the available data.
Easier adaptation with documentation
The way data and information are shared changes. Even with Enterprise Information Architecture, you may find yourself or your company in a situation where you will have to change the process of sharing data. EIA comes with thorough documentation. You can examine the actual state, make it more effective, or decide that the whole thing has to be put down and to start together from scratch. Either way, the retrospective analysis won’t be necessary as you already have the blueprint in your hands.
Data Architecture vs Information Architecture
There is a widespread misconception when it comes to data and information, and not just in terms of their architecture. You should know that these two terms are not always synonyms.
Data is just a number. A value without context is meaningless by itself. It could measure the actual state of things, tell you about the past, or predict possible outcomes in the future.
Information is data with context. If you put data together, such as last year's turnover compared to this year's turnover with the difference as a percentage, you suddenly know whether your company is doing better or worse and you can work with this information.
The architecture of data consists of databases, data warehouses, data lakes, and analytics sandboxes. In this process, data is ready made for ingestion, movement, and transformation.
Information Architecture uses data, pairs it, and serves it to give it a context for a specific situation.
We can safely say that without Data Architecture there would be no Information Architecture. And without Information Architecture, for example in an enterprise environment, standalone Data Architecture would lose its primary purpose, or at would at least be too chaotic to use.
Information Architecture vs. UX
Have you noticed that at Rare Crew we list Strategic Information Architecture under our UX and UI services? That’s right – Enterprise Information Architecture can be a part of the UX design process. Interestingly, Information Architecture (and later EIA) may be older than User Experience when it comes to the definition.
Information Architecture is all about structure. Structured information is served in a unified way to make everything more efficient and readable. Meanwhile, User Experience is about how the user feels. UX may be based on acquired data, or it may rely on the psychology of a specific demographic. What we know for sure is that solid Information Architecture can be a guideline for users on how to digest content. With User Experience, you have to count on the fact that the user can do everything differently to how you assumed, which is why you attempt to reflect the user’s behavior.
We can help you with EIA and UX
Our specialized team of seasoned designers can help you choose the right approach to Enterprise Information Architecture, while designing your systems, tools, apps, or websites with UX as the priority. Just get in touch, and let’s find out which solution will suit your needs.