>Information Exchange Matrix and Enterprise Architecture

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The Information Exchange Matrix (IEM) —a.k.a. OV-3 from the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DODAF)—identifies the information exchanged between entities and the relevant attributes of that exchange such as source, destination, type of information, trigger for the exchange, media, frequency, quality (timeliness, completeness, etc.), quantity, and security.

Major characteristics include:

  • Information requirements: IEMs document information exchange requirements for the enterprise. They identify who is exchanging what information to whom, when, why, where and how. The IEM describes the flow of information in the organization.
  • Business Process Driven: IEMs are driven by business processes and activities and demonstrate what information is required to perform the mission-business functions of the organization.
  • Major Information Exchanges: IEMs are usually not comprehensive, but rather capture the major information flows that support the mission-business.

In User-centric EA, information exchange matrixes are one of the most critical products in the architecture. By knowing and understanding the information required by the enterprise (as identified in the IEM), architects are able to do the following:

  • Identify the systems that are providing information required by users.
  • Identify systems that are providing information that is not (or is no longer) required by users.
  • Determine which systems are redundant (i.e. meeting identical requirements).
  • Determine where there are system gaps (i.e. no system is providing the requisite information) .
  • Plan new technology solutions to meet new or changed information requirements.
  • Develop an environment conducive to information sharing by distinguishing which information exchanges must be on a need to know basis (secure) and where greater openness and sharing can occur.
  • Pinpoint what business processes should be reengineered or improved to better make use of available information and meet performance outcomes.

IEMs must have user participation. They cannot just be reversed engineered from existing systems, since that will only tell what information is currently being provided (and what information should be provided). Also, pulling the IEM information from systems does not address existing manual information exchanges that could very possibly be automated going forward.

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