Rethinking Information Architecture for the New World (Part 1)

 

image Recently, I have been spending a lot of time thinking and trying to understand what the recent trends in economics, technology and consumer behavior means for information and how it should be treated in the new world. The new world that is increasingly being characterized by hyper competition in the online realm. The new world where Facebook is the new way to hang out with friends, the iPhone has replaced reading or writing on paper, Google adsense is almost eliminating the need to read printed information, the overall trend I see is that of massive explosion of electronic data that used to either not get captured (e.g. what comment you made about your friend's new hairstyle) or be captured in physical paper medium (e.g. newspapers and scratchpads).

I don't worry so much about Facebook and Google if they are going to be able to handle the new loads and the new volumes of information coming our way. They were born in this age of information madness and so I think they have thought strategies on how to compete and have some method to this madness. The ones I do have concerns for are those enterprises who are trying to make a transition from the world of paper to this new age of digital content, and especially unstructured digital content.

I live in Washington DC and so I don't know how well the Washington Post can make the journey from print media to a digital one. How well can Kaiser Permanente jump from being a paper-based HMO to the new world of Electronic Health Records (EHR)? I think the fundamental question is how they see information in their business and how they treat it. Should they continue to treat information as a necessary evil for supporting their business strategies? Or should they be thinking of information and more information and yet more information as a growing asset to their business and a potential ally against competition?

I am not sure yet, but thinking it does seem that CIO's of the traditional brick and mortar companies shouldn't necessarily start panicking and sounding the alarms bells on when they see their data centers exploding with new and unstructured content. Instead, they should probably make a few printouts of some samples of the new data flowing into their enterprise, get a cup of decaf and walk over to the CEO's office to brainstorm on strategies and business models on how to harness and exploit the new information for greater benefit to their business. I know that the Facebook and Google CEO's are already chatting on Facebook Chat and Google Groups about this already.

Comments:

Tools change, and the basics of doing business remain the same.

Posted by Fahd Mirza on October 03, 2009 at 12:44 AM EDT #

Federal funding may be encouraging a move toward EHR, but there's more to it than just installing systems. How can healthcare data pooling lead to a better system? More at http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=1499.

Posted by Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson on October 03, 2009 at 10:30 AM EDT #

These are some great questions that organizations should ask. Many are still struggling to make the transition from paper to digital information processing, let alone be able to make use of the wealth of data available through Web2.0. It will be interesting to see how fast companies can catch up and adjust to the new world you describe. I'm wondering if you'd be interested in sharing your insight with our community- www.openmethodology.org. It's a non-profit, open source platform for collaborating on IT/IM concepts and I think your content would be very valuable to our members.

Posted by Brenda Somich on October 05, 2009 at 06:56 AM EDT #

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