Input To The Questions In Forrester’s 2013 Information Strategy And Architecture Survey

In a month or so I’ll be launching a survey to research issues around information strategy, information architecture and information management in general. I thought it might be useful to do a bit of crowdsourcing to get the best ideas for what questions to ask and make sure I’m covering your top-of-mind issues. We ask you all fairly often to provide answers to survey questions – maybe you’d like to provide input into the questions this time out?
 
Surveys are interesting – one is tempted to ask about everything imaginable to get good research data. But long onerous surveys produce very low percentages of completes vs. starts -- it’s classic case of less is more. Twenty completes for a very comprehensive survey is nowhere near as valuable as a couple hundred completes of a more limited survey. For example, I really wanted to provide an exhaustive list of tasks related to information management or information architecture practices and then provide an equally exhaustive list of organizational roles to get data on who does what in the typical organization and what are the patterns regarding roles and grouping of responsibilities. But the resulting question would have been torture for a respondent to go through, so I edited it down to the 15-ish responsibilities and roles you’ll see below, and I’ll probably have to reduce the number of roles further to make the question viable. 
 
So, below are the questions I’m thinking of asking. Please use the comment area to suggest questions. I can’t promise to use them all but I can promise to consider them all and publish some of the more interesting results in this blog when they come in. 
 
Here’s what I’m asking so far:
 
Do you have an information architecture (IA) practice and which organizational area owns primary responsibility for the IA program/practice?
 
What is the scope of the practice – enterprise-wide or a subset? Both structured and unstructured data?
 
Rate these business drivers for improving your information management capabilities as “very important,” “important,” etc.: 
 
a) Add value to existing customers and markets
b) Obtain value from new customers and markets
c) Minimize risks
d) Reduce costs
 
Does your organization have a formal information strategy?
 
Which organizational unit has ownership of the following responsibilities? 
 
a) Understand the enterprise information needs
b) Develop and maintain the enterprise information strategy 
c) Develop and maintain the business glossary 
d) Develop and maintain enterprise information model(s)
e) Analyze and align information models with other business models
f) Define and maintain data quality standards 
g) Define and maintain the overall information management technology strategy
h) Define and maintain the strategy for structured data management technology 
i) Define and maintain the strategy for content management technology
j) Define and maintain the information integration strategy
k) Define and maintain the DW / BI architecture 
l) Define and maintain taxonomies 
m) Define and maintain the metadata architecture 
n) Define and execute governance processes for structured data 
o) Define and execute governance processes for unstructured data
 
Here's the already-too-large list of organizational unit choices for the above responsibilities (we’ll allow multiple choices to reflect joint ownership):
 
a) Enterprise architecture team
b) Business architecture team within an EA practice
c) Business architecture team separate from an EA practice
d) Information architecture team within an EA practice
e) Information architecture team separate from an EA practice
f) Centralized information management team
g) Distributed information management team(s)
h) Centralized application development team
i) Distributed application development team
j) Centralized infrastructure support organization 
k) Distributed infrastructure support organization(s)
l) Centralized BI/DW support center/center of excellence
m) Distributed BI/DW support center(s)/center(s) of excellence 
n) Central business unit
o) Distributed business unit(s)
p) Data scientist team
 
I’ll ask what the status is of various IA deliverables/artifacts and how valuable has each been; and finally, I’ll ask respondents to rate a laundry list of information-related focus areas with respect to their importance to their business in the next two years. Here’s the list at this point:
 
a) Improving customers’ ability to find information on our external portal
b) Improving employees’ ability to find information on our internal portals
c) Finding packaged software that will improve our BI and analytics capabilities 
d) Moving our data warehouse environment to an appliance-based approach 
e) Developing a taxonomy for classifying unstructured data to promote discovery and semantic understanding 
f) Building and populating a metadata repository to help automate processes and discovery
g) Building internal capabilities for Hadoop or other big-data-related technologies
h) Improving our ability to cost effectively capture, store and process unstructured data for analytics 
i) Improving our ability to cost effectively capture, store and process structured data for analytics 
j) Improving our ability to cost effectively integrate structured and unstructured data for analytics 
k) Creating the ability to predict trends, detect events, and respond in real time using data 
l) Establishing or improving information governance 
m) Developing a comprehensive information strategy 
n) Developing a content strategy 
o) Developing a strategy for structured data management that accommodates more scale at lower cost 
p) Improving our records management and compliance capabilities 
q) Improving our document management capabilities to incorporate more dynamic case management and workflow 
r) Improving our eDiscovery capabilities  
s) Improving enterprise search  
t) Decreasing data storage costs
u) Increasing data traceability
v) Improving data quality
w) Improving data visualization 
 
What important things am I leaving out? What do you want to know about how others approach IA and EIM?

Comments

Gene, Excellent concepts.

Gene,
Excellent concepts. I would like to suggest a few questions:

1. What is the annual investment in developing and implementing their information strategy and what is the percentage of the IT budget?

2. How do they measure and enforce compliance with data strategies?

3. How is the information strategy expected to create competitive advantage?

4. How is social media impacting their strategy and governance?

5. What is being done to address the proliferation of non-integrated and non-corporate applications?

All excellent suggestions,

All excellent suggestions, thanks.

Strategy and Architecture

Pefect timing Gene. Your research and writing will help define the new Strategy & Architecture role organizations are now creating to help the CIO, who finally now has a seat at the business strategy table.

In addition to your area of responsibilities I would also like to see more focus on 1). Transition from Systems of Record to Systems of Engagement and 2). Everything as a Service.

I will pull your list and offer up my opinion on priortization, grouping and areas of responsibilities.

Thanks for your comments. I

Thanks for your comments. I think enterprises' focusing on the two areas you mention is contributing to the trend we're seeing of creating a formal strategy for information management. Systems of engagement take us away from single sources of truth and more complexity in information sources, as do all those cloud-based services.

organisational structure to deal with data and information

Hi! Gene
Great idea to conduct the survey around data and information architecture. Can I also ask that you look at the organisational structure to support that concept? Traditionally we have two components within the organisation, i.e. Business and Information Technology, and in most cases EIM is part of the IT – (ineffective, no adequate budget, focus is on infrastructure hardware and software). Alternatively is with Business (again – ineffective, no budget allocation, focus is on day-to-day operations).
Organisations are more and more realising or becoming aware of the importance of Data and information.
In all this model, there is no one/section to develop and drive the IEM strategy that is in support of the organisation strategy that is enabled by IT strategy. In most cases we do have the two strategies (Business and IT) but we always run short on EIM strategy.
Questions to ask are:
Do you think Data Management is correctly positioned within IT – run by CIO?
Do you thing Data Management is correctly positioned with Business – run by COO?
Do you think is about time that Data Management must be on its own – run by CDO?

CDO

Thanks for the comment, Magoshi. I'm very interested in pursuing this idea of the CDO and I'll probably create a separate post for that today, spurred by your response. I'll be interested in opinions on to whom the CDO should report -- CEO? CIO? COO? CFO? Also, who should report to the CDO -- all the information management techies plus business information stewards? That would be quite a radical departure. And what about information architects within the EA team -- do they go there too? It's a very interesting subject with lots of potential for disruption but the time is certainly right for change!

CDO

Hi Gene
The creation of new Business Model that will incorporate or cater for the Data and Information Management (EIM or Data Management) as a separate entity with its own budget is my passion. I would like to see the modern organisation respond to the demanding need to manage data and information as their strategic assets and competitive differentiator. My personal opinion is that, we need to decouple IT and Data Management and the CIO,CFO,COO and CDO all report to CEO or they are all the same level. Because I am so passionate about data and information management, I am trying to develop a research study/thesis on " how can organisation especially banks position them self to deal with this ever increasing demand to manage their information more effectively"

I support the idea of separate block on CDO. Looking at EA, it suppose to be three distinct areas, Business Architecture, Data and Information Architecture in the middle and lastly is your Technical Architecture which support my idea. Data and Information is the only link between IT and Business.

We also need to look at question of" producing pure data and information management qualification from our tertiary institution". There is a talk of Data Scientist, Data Management professional, Data Practitioner, etc.