Smart Information Management | Dutch IT channel

A household is a collection of all persons who belong to a housing association or family and live together there. The household is then the ‘collection of activities’ to maintain a residential situation in a house. We talk about a family household when it comes to a family unit. The concept of hormone balance is known as the mechanism of the interaction between hormones in a body. In this context, information management has also become a recognizable definition as the collection of activities to maintain information in an organization.

Information management

Although the word household appears in all languages ​​as a collective term for daily life in a home, ‘information household’ is a typical Dutch word that (almost?) does not appear elsewhere. We also refer to the households of the municipality, the province and the national government, and by this we mean the government’s (economic) regulation of the income and the distribution of expenses. It is understandable that information management has therefore become an important concept in our government. Including the context with the concept of ‘architecture’, which provides direction for how an organization organizes its information management. The government therefore has ‘information management architects’ for this area.

According to NORA, an information management system is defined as the totality of rules and facilities aimed at information flows and storage or archiving to support primary processes. NORA is our Dutch government reference architecture, version 1.0 of which was presented in 2006 as Program Architecture Electronic Government by ICTU, the facility fund ‘ICT Implementation Organization’, established in 2001. After version 3.0, versions were no longer talked about, but the status was managed and kept up to date in this wiki from 2010 onwards. In the meantime, NORA – in addition to many ‘daughters’ of all kinds of local information systems – even got a mother in 2015: EIRA, the European Interoperability Reference Architecture, with which all member states’ architectures must ultimately be connected.

Information architecture

The metaphor ‘architecture’ has been used in the system design world to mean conceptual structure, functional behaviour, organization of data flows, logical design and physical implementation. In 1970, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) drew up a charter to support an ‘information architecture’. Richard Saul Wurman first linked the concept of information to the concept of architecture in 1976. Due to the social nature of the creation and use of information, emphasis was placed on the interaction between humans and computers and the social aspects of computer science. The fusion of specialties in both information science and user-oriented development. For members of an organization: how do we deal with each other in ‘information management’.

In the years that followed, ‘an information architecture’ increasingly became a tool for designing and creating computing infrastructures and data layers. With a growing emphasis on the organizational and business aspects of information networks. In her well-known analysis and timeline, Ronda León describes the evolution of information design, then system design, and finally modern information architecture. At the same time, the World Wide Web also developed, and Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville’s 1998 book “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web” eventually made information architecture an indispensable concept in the information world.

Enterprise architecture

In addition to ‘information’ architecture, the concept of ‘enterprise’ architecture emerged as a new field in business administration. This architectural view looks at the organization of organizations, the essential factors in it and its description, including its principles and models. People look at the ‘organisation’ from different points of view, such as products and processes, delivery of information and the human and hierarchical organisation. The enterprise or business architecture is seen as a superimposed architecture of the information or ICT architecture. The arrival of integrated digitization means that these two ‘architectures’ are slowly merging into each other, although there is a significant difference.

An enterprise architecture focuses on the product to be delivered by the main process. Together with the underlying processes and the organization that must be set up for this. The information architecture focuses on the necessary functions in these processes and organization, the necessary data for this and the technical realization of the whole. It becomes more complex if the delivered product itself is an information product or service that is delivered, executed and maintained to the customer using the same internal processes. At that moment – ​​from a digital point of view – the product and the processes will intertwine in terms of application technology, so that automatic data will play an increasingly important role. The current process- and application-oriented architecture is therefore (forced) to have a more data-oriented focus.

Data-centric architectures

The arrival of ‘smart developments’ such as smart cities leads to the development of smart data models ‘in themselves’. Intelligent datasets that can function and operate independently in any process. Data, supported by proprietary microservices, that can actively exist in an information ecosystem. Is aware of the context in which (within) this data is located, and independently makes the connection between context producer and context consumer via context brokers. These context brokers use a context registry to register the relevant context resources. Think of the new Internet of Things world, where a digital product like a car maintains direct contact with the smart road it’s driving on, the smart cars that surround it, and the surrounding infrastructure. And the context broker knows at any time and anywhere where the context information that is relevant to him is located.

This is called metaprogramming, a technique where software has the ability to treat data from other programs (also) as its own data. This means that a program, even as a microservice, has the ability to communicate with other programs and microservices and to analyze, transform, or even customize their data. It provides opportunities to let programs handle new situations independently in a very flexible way. Metaprogramming was popular in the 1970s for processing LISP code and for early AI applications. It is now being used to generate environmental intelligence (Ambient Intelligence), a vision of the future where explicit input and output of data and information is no longer necessary. The environment itself becomes intelligent and finds its own data.

This is also known as the world of ‘ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence’. As we imagine the metaverse: to be ‘immersed’ as a physical person in a digital world who has and knows his own intelligence. This means completely new possibilities for ‘smart’ information management, where the architecture has different layers: detection, data analysis, context representation and finally the application layer. A scalable, multi-layered context presentation where people and things share, use, adapt and exchange data. With a completely new view of the triangle of integrated information management, enterprise and information architectures and the use of microservices and decentralized data platforms. In this way, the metaverse slowly enters every information system, including the government’s. Including the need for custom and even revamped reference architectures. . .

By: Hans Timmerman

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