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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Pattern Language Structure

The pattern groups introduced in the previous sections show the breadth of factors an architect needs to consider to achieve a clean, correct, and flexible information design. At the top of the pyramid, you see the organization and the people who work within it. They drive the information strategy. The organization is supported by the information architecture, which is implemented by the information management components. This structure is summarized in Figure 1.10.

Figure 1.10

Figure 1.10.Structure of the pattern language for information management.

Chapter 2, “The MCHS Trading Case Study,” contains the case study, introducing the patterns through different projects at MCHS Trading. The remaining chapters contain the pattern descriptions and are organized according to the structure in Figure 1.10.

Chapter 3, “People and Organizations,” has the patterns for the organization and its people (see Table 1.3). These patterns include the information strategy, policy setting, and information governance.

Table 1.3. Pattern Groups in Chapter 3

Lead Pattern Name and Icon

Lead Pattern Problem Statement

Lead Pattern Solution Summary

Start Here When...

INFORMATION CENTRIC ORGANIZATION icon_information_centric.jpg

An organization needs to make good use of its information to achieve its goals.

Make the management of information a strategic priority. Develop systems and practices that nurture and exploit information to maximum effect.

You are thinking about the holistic approach that your organization should take to information management.

INFORMATION USER icon_information_user.jpg

Individuals need access to the organization’s information to perform their work.

Classify the people connected with the organization according to their information needs and skills. Then provide user interfaces and reports through which they can access the information as appropriate.

You want to define what types of user roles should be supported by a new information solution.

Information architects develop an understanding of the information needs of an organization and propose best practices for how it should be structured, stored, and managed. Solution architects are responsible for developing IT-based solutions to business problems. These solutions are dependent on information and so the solution architect relies on the information architecture created by the information architect when developing a new solution. Both the information architect and the solution architect use information architecture patterns in their work. These are described in the pattern groups shown in Table 1.4, and are described in more detail in Chapter 4.

Table 1.4. Pattern Groups in Chapter 4

Lead Pattern Name and Icon

Lead Pattern Problem Statement

Lead Pattern Solution Summary

Start Here When...

INFORMATION ELEMENTicon_information_element.jpg

An organization is looking for the best approach to manage the many kinds of information it has.

Group together related information attributes that follow the same life cycle and manage them appropriately.

You are new to information management and want to familiarize yourself with the types of information an organization has, and how it is managed.

INFORMATION IDENTIFICATIONicon_information_iden.jpg

An organization does not know what types of information it has, where it is located, how it is managed, and who is responsible for it.

Investigate and document the information requirements and existing support available to the organization.

You want to catalog the information you have and any new requirements. The resulting information is often called metadata.

INFORMATION PROVISIONINGicon_information_pr.jpg

An information process needs information to perform its work.

Information is supplied to the process when it starts, through its user interfaces and through stored information.

You are considering how to provide information to an information process or information user.

INFORMATION SUPPLY CHAINicon_information_su.jpg

An organization needs to process information in order to fulfill its purpose. How is the flow of information coordinated throughout the organization’s people and systems?

Design and manage well-defined flows of information that start from the points where the information is collected for the organization and links the flows to the places where key consumers receive the information they need.

You are designing how a particular type of information should flow between your systems.

Chapter 5, “Information at Rest,” covers the way information is processed within an IT system (see Table 1.5). In this pattern language, a system is called an information node and there is a related pattern group devoted to the various types of systems.

Table 1.5. Pattern Groups in Chapter 5

Lead Pattern Name and Icon

Lead Pattern Problem Statement

Lead Pattern Solution Summary

Start Here When...

INFORMATION SERVICE238__information_service.jpg

Some information processes need the same information, but may require it to be formatted differently.

Define well-defined interfaces to the information that meet the needs of particular consuming information processes to enable them to create, retrieve, and maintain just the information they need.

You need to decide how an information process will access the information it needs.

INFORMATION COLLECTION254_icon_information_colle.jpg

Information must be organized so it can be located, accessed, protected, and maintained at a level that is consistent with its value to the organization.

Group related information together into a logical collection and implement information services to access and maintain this information.

You need to classify how the existing stores of information are used or decide how new information should be grouped and stored.

INFORMATION ENTRY289_icon_information_entry.jpg

An instance of a type of information needs to be stored in an information collection.

Structure the information collection so that it is made up of a set of information entries. Each information entry stores a single instance of the subject area. Provide capability to manage and iterate over a collection of these archetypal instances.

You are designing how information should be managed within an information collection.

INFORMATION NODE320_icon_information_node.jpg

What is the appropriate IT infrastructure to host information collections and information processes?

Related information processes and information collections should be hosted together in a server.

You are selecting the type of system to host information and its related processing.

Stored information is accessed through information services that locate the required information and format for the consumer. Information collections are logical groupings of stored information. Often the information is organized consistently within the collection. Approaches for identifying, structuring, locking, and storing information within an information collection are covered in the information entry pattern group.

Chapter 6, “Information in Motion,” covers the information flow and information request pattern groups for moving information between information nodes (see Table 1.6).

Table 1.6. Pattern Groups in Chapter 6

Lead Pattern Name and Icon

Lead Pattern Problem Statement

Lead Pattern Solution Summary

Start Here When...

INFORMATION REQUEST396_icon_information_reque.jpg

An information process needs to work with information located on a remote information node.

Open a communication link with the remote information node and synchronously exchange the information and associated commands using an agreed protocol.

You want to understand the data that flows between two communicating information nodes.

INFORMATION FLOW403_icon_information_flow.jpg

How do you implement the movement of information between two information nodes?

Use an information trigger to start an information process to control the movement of information. This information process is responsible for extracting the required information from the appropriate sources, reengineering it, and delivering it to the destination information nodes.

You are designing information integration jobs to move information between different systems.

Chapter 7, “Information Processing,” covers the different kinds of information processes, along with the information triggers that start them, which are found in a typical organization’s IT systems (see Table 1.7).

Table 1.7. Pattern Groups in Chapter 7

Lead Pattern Name and Icon

Lead Pattern Problem Statement

Lead Pattern Solution Summary

Start Here When...

INFORMATION TRIGGERicon_information_trigger.jpg

An information process must be started when a particular event occurs.

When the event is detected, trigger a mechanism that is able to request the initiation of the process on an appropriate information node.

You are considering how to start an information process. This information process may be providing a new business function or moving information between information collections.

INFORMATION PROCESSicon_information_process.jpg

An organization has to process information to support one of its activities.

Formally define and implement the processing for that activity in an information node. Ensure this information node has access to the information it needs.

You want to understand existing processing and or design new processing of information.

Another key concern for organizations with valuable information is how to protect it so it retains its quality and it is not misused or stolen. This is covered in Chapter 8, “Information Protection,” (see Table 1.8).

Table 1.8. Pattern Groups in Chapter 8

Lead Pattern Name and Icon

Lead Pattern Problem Statement

Lead Pattern Solution Summary

Start Here When...

INFORMATION REENGINEERING STEPicon_information_reengine.jpg

An information process is not able to consume the information it needs, as currently exists.

Insert capability to transform the information so it is consumable by the information process.

You need to understand how information can be transformed to meet new requirements.

INFORMATION GUARDicon_information_guard.jpg

The organization’s information needs to be protected from inappropriate use and theft.

Insert mechanisms into the information supply chain to verify that the right people are only using information for authorized purposes.

You need to consider the alternatives for the security and privacy of your information.

INFORMATION PROBEicon_information_probe.jpg

The operation of an information supply chain needs to be monitored to ensure it is working properly.

Insert probes into key points in the information supply chain to gather measurements for further analysis.

You need to plan how information management should be monitored.

The protection of information is something that must be designed holistically, considering the welfare of key information at all stages of its lifetime. It is then implemented through the deployment of small components throughout the systems, where each is responsible for protecting an aspect of the information. The patterns of information management break down the aspects of information protection into three pattern groups:

  • INFORMATION REENGINEERING STEP—These patterns focus on maintaining the quality and format of information.
  • INFORMATION GUARD—These patterns ensure authorized people and processes are using information for authorized purposes.
  • INFORMATION PROBE—These patterns are used to monitor the use and movement of information. With these patterns, it is possible to detect issues in the management of information and correct it.

The information protection patterns are used as processing steps in both the information process and information service pattern groups where they transform, protect, or monitor information as it enters the organization; when it is stored; when it is sent between systems; when it is retrieved, updated, and eventually archived and deleted. Individually, they protect a single point in the processing—collectively, they protect the organization’s information throughout its entire life cycle.

The final pattern group in Chapter 9, “Solutions for Information Management,” covers solutions that tackle different aspects of how information management can be improved. They use the pattern groups described previously as components (see Table 1.9).

Table 1.9. Pattern Groups in Chapter 9

Lead Pattern Name and Icon

Lead Pattern Problem Statement

Lead Pattern Solution Summary

Start Here When...

INFORMATION SOLUTIONicon_information_solution.jpg

An organization recognizes there is a missing capability or a major issue with the way it manages an aspect of its information.

Create a project, or series of projects, to transform the way the information is managed by the organization’s people and information systems.

You want to plan changes to your information systems to improve information management.

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