What is the Information Age?
“Alvin Toffler, a famous American writer and futurist, in his book The Third Wave, describes three types of societies, based on the concept of ‘waves’ – each wave pushes the older societies and cultures aside.
- First Wave—the society after agrarian revolution that replaced the first hunter-gatherer cultures.
- Second Wave—the society during the Industrial Revolution (ca. late 1600s through the mid-1900s), based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction. You combine those things with standardization, centralization, concentration, and synchronization, and you wind up with a style of organization we call bureaucracy.”
- Third Wave—the post-industrial society, also called the Information Age, Space Age, Electronic Era, Global Village, scientific-technological revolution, which to various degrees predicted demassification, diversity, and knowledge-based production.”
What is a knowledge worker?
“Peter Drucker, in 1959, coined the term Knowledge worker, as one who works primarily with information or one who develops and uses knowledge in the workplace. Knowledge Workers are now estimated to outnumber all other workers in North America by at least a four to one margin (Haag et al, 2006, pg. 4). A Knowledge Worker’s benefit to a company could be in the form of developing business intelligence, increasing the value of intellectual capital , gaining insight into customer preferences, or a variety of other important gains in knowledge that aid the business.” (Toffler and Drucker sections are adapted from Wikipedia)
How does EA fit in the Information Age and support the knowledge worker?
EA is a process for capturing, analyzing, and serving up information to achieve improved IT planning, governance, and decision making. So, EA works with data and information and supports the knowledge worker in the following way:
- Acquisition—captures business and technical information
- Analysis—analyzes information problem areas and identifies gaps, redundancies, and opportunities for standardization, consolidation, integration, interoperability, and so on
- Description—describes data and information using metadata and various information products, such as profiles, models, and inventories
- Classification—catalogues data using taxonomies (i.e. schemas) and ontologies (that relate the data)
- Warehousing—stores the data in a repository
- Dissemination—makes the information available for discovery, exchange, reporting, and queries
- Management—establishes data standards, institutes policies and practices for describing, registering, discovering and exchanging information; administers configuration management of the data; ensures data backup and recovery.
In User-centric EA, all aspects of information management (in terms of development, maintenance, and use of information products) are done with the enterprise and end-user in mind. User-centric EA seeks to make all aspects of EA information useful (i.e. relevant—current, accurate, complete) and usable (i.e. easy to understand and readily accessible) for the information age enterprise and knowledge workers that we support!