Monday, November 02, 2009

Memories of IT -into the 90's- What was IEF,anyway?

The decade turns...

What was IEF, anyway?

It was automated Information Engineering. That methodology was based on information across a whole enterprise, so its first step was to create the Information Strategy Plan (ISP) for a complete enterprise. The core task was to create a high-level model of the enterprises functions and data (remember, function + data = information). This was indeed high-level where the data defined was Customers, Product, Materials, Staff, and such. The functions were the first to second levels of a functional decomposition, usually based on the main activities of the business: Define and Market Product, Acquire Material, Make Product, Sell Product, and supporting functions like Hire Staff and Create Financial Statements.

The functions were always defined as doing something with data. Given this perspective, you could create the CRUD matrix, Data items on one axis and Functions on the other, and each matrix cell contains the letter for Create, Read, Update, Update…or blank. Given this matrix, you can now do Affinity Analysis, which is a process of identifying what groups of functions manage a Data Item. I did this manually back in an earlier project.

But IEF captured the Data Model and the Function Model, and the CRUD matrix; then you initiated an automated affinity analysis process, and out came your restructured matrix. The result is a set of clusters of functions managing a set of data, which are de-coupled from each other. Each cluster was then used as the definition of a Business Area; a typical enterprise would have 5 to 9 Business Areas defined.

This is your Information Architecture. The IE Methodology (IEM) then provided a series of evaluation and analysis tasks to determine how well current systems support each Business Area, what is the value of automating a Business Area, and such…from which you would create a plan, the Information Strategy Plan, for moving from current systems to a new set of Business Area-focused systems that would eliminate silos, data duplication, etc..

So, now you were ready for Business Area Analysis...

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About Me

Ontario, Canada
I have been an IT Business Analyst for 25 years, so I must have learned something. Also been on a lot of projects, which I have distilled into the book "Cascade": follow the link to the right to see more.