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

Gene Leganza
Vice President, Research Director
January 24, 2013
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?
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