Best practices in information architecture change as the world changes, which makes it a constantly shifting target. Every business needs to be concerned about how its information is captured and shared with its employees. This is a challenge that continues to grow with the ever-changing trends in the market.
In this five-part blog series, we will discuss why the definition of information architecture has shifted and how your business can take advantage of this change to achieve better return on investment from your SharePoint environment. Ensuring a sound information architecture strategy and plan has always been key to ensuring the right people are getting the right information at the right time. Because of changes in the marketplace, this has become more and more difficult to achieve. So what are some of these changes? Here are the big ones:
They say the average person receives more than 63,000 words a day. That is more than an average novel. 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years and the trend is to double it faster and faster. Unfortunately, scaling the traditional thinking of information architecture to keep pace has become more and more difficult.
2) THE MILLENNIALS
Predictions show that between now and 2020, over half of the world’s workforce will be millennials. This is a group that already has and will continue to put pressures on the way people interact, communicate, and collaborate together. Millennials typically carry out their work through a variety of devices, putting pressures on how we design and surface content through all of them. This is also the generation that grew up with Google, Wikipedia, and being able instantly find answers to complex questions by only moving their thumbs.
This group also finds more value in virtual interactions than with phone calls and even emails. These remote interactions and de-emphasis on face-to-face interactions are putting a stress on the 9-to-5, Monday through Friday workday. And let’s not forget that this generation grew up with social media, which is behavioral for them. We tend to think of social media in the workplace as a waste of time while they think about it as a way of life.
3) OUTDATED INTRANETS
According to Gartner, existing tools and techniques can’t keep up with the rate at which information is evolving. Modifying existing assets that use the old application-centric mindset is not sufficient to meet 21st century information challenges. Furthermore, Gartner states that by 2015, organizations integrating high-value, diverse, new information types and sources into a coherent information management infrastructure will outperform their industry peers financially by more than 20%.
4) ENTERPRISE 3.0
We are on the cusp of an information revolution—“Enterprise 3.0: Semantic Web”—where data needs to be brought to users instead of the other way around. Remember a couple of years ago when social was all the rage, and we all tried to focus on making people and their interactions as part of the information you could leverage to do your job? Well, this has created so much data that changes so rapidly, we simply can’t assimilate it all. Things are starting to shift to a new inflection point called Enterprise 3.0, a world where people say, “All this data is giving me a headache. Just tell me what I need to know”
With all of these new changes coming into play, your information architecture needs to change with them in order to be successful. In the next article in this series, we will look at how information architecture has evolved due to these changes in the world. Later, we will dive into publishing portals and collaboration sites to show how to apply this new definition of information architecture.
If you have questions or comments about this blog post, or other aspects of SharePoint development/information architecture, please leave a comment below, tweet us at @CrederaMSFT, or contact us online.