Original Research

Elements of a flexible information architecture: A South African perspective

Cornelius J.P. Niemand, Martie Mearns
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1007 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1007 | © 2020 Cornelius J.P. Niemand, Martie Mearns | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 May 2018 | Published: 16 January 2020

About the author(s)

Cornelius J.P. Niemand, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Martie Mearns, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: For an organisation to remain competitive, it needs to be aware of, anticipate and adapt to the dynamically changing business environment. Based on the literature study, the research proposes that information and the flexible architecture thereof should be regarded as a core capability of the organisation.

Objectives: The objective of this research article was to identify the elements that are used to measure the effectiveness of an information architecture. The research furthermore postulates that the elements should be utilised as a design approach in the conceptualisation of a flexible alternative information architecture.

Method: A qualitative mono-method research methodology was utilised to investigate which elements are used by experts in the field to measure the effectiveness of information architectures. The Delphi technique was used to collect data from a purposive sample of experts in the field of information architecture.

Results: Based on the literature review and the results of the Delphi technique, the components identified by the expert panel as alternative elements of an information architecture included contextualisation, audit, governance, flexibility and administration.

Conclusion: Considering information architecture as more than just a concept, and extending the notion to a design philosophy, the application and use of the identified elements may contribute to the longevity of the organisation. Thus, the alignment and realignment of the information architectural elements of the organisation will fuel informational flexibility.


Keywords

Information architecture; informational flexibility; dynamically changing business environment; alternative elements of an information architecture; effectiveness of information architectures.

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