Information FrameWork (IFW)
What is IFW?
Before we can create effective information systems it is important to understand information itself, including what is important and why it is structured in certain ways.
Information FrameWork (IFW) is a tool for analysing and structuring information. It is used to help structure information change and business flexibility or agility.
Information FrameWork (IFW) was created by Roger Evernden during the 1980s. IFW formed the foundation for IBM’s strategic solutions in the important financial services sector.
The Information FrameWork can be thought of as a giant filing system, with separate cabinets for further differentiation within the primary categories, and separate drawers within each cabinet for different types of analysis. The IFW diagram contains 50 cells to represent ten basic information types, and five types of analysis.
Information types are grouped into:
- organisation information, such as information about strategies, organisation structures and skills,
- business information such as data about involved parties, products and arrangements, business functions or processes, and
- technical information.
The different types of analysis possible by users include:
- selecting the appropriate conceptual categories by which we analyse information,
- defining terms and terminology,
- describing principles for structuring different types of information,
- creating detailed designs that use information, and
- analysing how to implement these designs.
How does IFW work?
IFW is a 50-cell framework that is used to understand and manage the different types of information.
Much contemporary information is actually very similar from one financial institution to another. It takes considerable effort to get well-structured information to provide and enhance flexibility to meet changing customer demands and new competitive pressures. Information FrameWork saves much of this effort by providing a structured set of models and templates based on consistent architecture so that many of the deliverables from information-related projects are anticipated. These models and templates provide solutions to information-related problems.
What are the deliverables from IFW?
- A set of models that provide checklists to business requirements
- Templates that embody industry standard design principles
- Detailed designs for specific solutions
- Application building blocks and code
All the above can be combined to provide customised solutions to information-related problems.
For more details you can get a copy of my article Information FrameWork (IFW) (the original version published in the Systems Journal in 1996, and an update written in 2011 ) which is now available as an e-book.
For a practical guide on how to apply architectural frameworks to manage enterprise complexity and change, read my book, Enterprise Architecture – the Eight Fundamental Factors – available in paperback and Kindle editions.