[Video] Who Benefits From Investments In Information Architecture



When you make investments in information architecture it does a lot of things. First of all, there are multiple levels. You're actually making the lives of your employees and your customers easier. You're making it easier for your processes to to be optimized. You're making it easier for your business unit objectives to be achieved.

What this does is it really helps at multiple levels of the organization.  You're getting business benefits, and you're also getting technology benefits. And of course, technology supports the business. So it's all about serving the customer. It's all about serving internal stakeholders. It's all about meeting the overall arching objectives of the organization.

What we're doing is we're having interventions at a level where we can improve a process, we can improve an information flow.  I like to talk about information leverage points where you have information that needs to be accessed very quickly, or leveraged in different systems very quickly. And if there's friction in that process, you slow down a lot of other stuff.

When you think about single view of the customer, that requires a 360 degree view of your customer relationships.  That requires that multiple systems are able to communicate and you're able to consolidate the signals, the digital body language, from your various tools and technologies in various touchpoints. So that you can have that understanding of all of the facets and details and nuances of the relationship, including the problems they've had before what their interests are, what they purchase, what they might purchase, what's going to make a better solution.

All of these things are important, both tactically and strategically. They're important short term, in terms of being able to improve a process. And they're very important long term and a long term basis by improving a business outcome.

What you're really trying to do is reduce technical debt. Because a lot of times, we build these systems in silos and we don't take that overarching perspective, that holistic point of view, we end up building in technical debt. Meaning we do work arounds so that we don't truly harmonize the architecture. We we have workarounds and fixes that actually slow down other processes. Maybe we don't document things correctly. Or maybe we maybe we do temporary architectures.

I once had an ecommerce client, at a meeting one of the tech people said, well, it's just a drop down, we can we can put anything in now and change it later. It's like, no, no, the point is to fix it now and to put in what you need now and to derive those principles. Because if you just push it off to later, there's going to be all sorts of downstream effects and all sorts of costs and all sorts sorts of friction.

So we really need to do this stuff, this hard work up front, set up the governance processes, set up the enterprise information structures, set up that architecture, bring in those stakeholder groups, do the process analysis, do the use case analysis. And all of that will contribute to building that solid foundation. Remember, information architecture is foundational to everything else that happens in the organization. Without that solid foundation, everything else is going to be at risk of problematic or increased technical debt or increase our operating costs.

You know, one of the challenges is that many tech stacks are so complex, and they've been around for so long, that just keeping the lights on sucks up all of the budget. And what we want to do is get away from that the light should stay on, you know, without a lot of maintenance, and we should be able to do other things with that budget, like building new tools and building in innovation into our capabilities and changing that customer experience and smoothing and streamlining the flows of information internally. I always say you can't have acts of heroics, upstream internally in the organization and expect a seamless customer experience. Right? We need to streamline internal processes so that we can have that seamless customer experience that is personalized and contextualized.


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Earley Information Science Team

We're passionate about managing data, content, and organizational knowledge. For 25 years, we've supported business outcomes by making information findable, usable, and valuable.