The Concept of Information Architecture in the Context of Enterprise Architecture
Purpose – Information architecture (IA) is often understood as a comprehensive master plan for organizational data assets and is widely considered as an essential component of broader enterprise architecture (EA). However, the status and practical operationalization of IA still remain largely unclear. In order to clarify these questions, this paper investigates what instruments related to IA are actually employed in organizations.
Design/methodology/approach – This study builds on the analysis of architecture practices in 27 diverse organizations. Based on the semi-structured interviews with architects and the examination of utilized architectural documents, we explore IA-related instruments with their usage scenarios that have been adopted in the studied organizations.
Findings – The authors identify 12 distinct instruments used in the industry and analyze in detail their features, properties and relationships. This paper analysis shows that these instruments are rather diverse and largely inconsistent across different organizations. The study findings also suggest that IA cannot be considered as a comprehensive plan for information, but rather as a variable set of loosely related instruments and practices that help organizations manage information.
Originality/value – The study offers a unique perspective on the concept of IA, as it is practiced in the industry today, as well as a critical scrutiny of the respective prescriptions abundant in the existing literature. Although this study does not attempt to theorize on the findings, it makes a significant empirical contribution by offering a solid evidence-based view of IA and its key instruments currently missing in the available literature.