BogieLand Business Case: Information Architecture
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Business Case Information Architecture

The value of the intranet depends on its ease-of-use and integration in organizational processes and culture.

The information and communication needs of users are contextual. People need information types of changing relevancy, timeliness, and domains.

As other human information and communication environments, intranets for knowledge management must be based upon scalable, flexible, and valid information architecture and navigation patterns.

A fast growing company operates in the dynamic IT market. New technologies replace conventional ones rapidly. Customers ask new questions. The management intends to replace its client-server infrastructure with the storage of documents on multiple servers by an intranet as a tool and environment for the creation, sharing, and dissimination of information. However, a majority of its employees has information skills limited only to email communication and Web surfing.

The Creation of an Intranet Information Architecture

The Client

A small technology company grows rapidly

A technology company expands from 18 to 50 people within a short period of time. The organization faces the integration of this growth into its processes, tasks and culture. The management notices an explosion of unstructured documents with the danger of decreasing quality of service as a result. Most communication and coordination processes are (still) informal and need to become more formalized. The management knows that it must develop learning skills and wants specific features in a Web environment with online applications and contents. It is the company's ambition to grow the intranet as its primary information and communication environment.

The Problem

Create an information and communication platform for employees

The company infrastructure integrates multiple servers containing large amounts of documents and software applications of different formats, versions, and naming conventions. The documents suffer from an extreme degree of inconsistency and they are scattered around. Network servers contain multiple hierarchies of (sub)directories of varying naming conventions. It is unknown what information is available. There are no template driven documents and internal branding is unknown. The informal organization of documents and applications creates a certain level of chaos. The challenge is to create a valuable information source for each employee.

The Process

Translate user and business requirements into a successful platform

  • To identify the information and communication needs related to work contexts and assigned tasks.
  • To (paper) prototype possible site structures and labelling systems.
  • To translate requirements into a valid information architecture and navigation model.
  • To create site maps/page schematics, controlled vocabularies, and metadata schemas for internal communication and testing purposes.
  • To design page templates matching management, user and information requirements.
  • To design a work flow with appropriate roles, responsibilities, tasks, and skill sets.
  • To design multiple ways to search and browse the intranet.

The Results

A future-proof intranet for communication and collaboration purposes

Example of how a company can manage knowledge with a simple set of features, functions and contents. The information architecture of the intranet allows further evolution with more sophistication such as personalization and customization capabilities and new information formats like 'Weblogging'. The intranet is based upon a structure, organization and navigation model in sync with the expectations, expertise and context of its users. It contains tutorials for new employees using it as their primary platform of information. The intranet contributes significantly to the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization. Personal assessment now includes individual contributions to the corporate information and communication environment and collective performance.