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The Heart of Information Infrastructure is the Information Capabilities Framework

by Michael Blechar  |  October 1, 2011  |  4 Comments

To borrow a phrase from an old James Bond movie soundtrack by Wings, “But if this ever changin’ world in which we live in makes you give in and cry, say live and let die”. This can be especially true for those in Information Management who are getting bombarded with requests to support all kinds of structured and unstructured data residing inside the organizational firewall or externally in the “cloud” or internet and need some way to be both responsive while maintaining the integrity of the information for which they have management responsibility.

A key strategy is to implement an information infrastructure which is able to support different categories of “use cases” – such as online transaction processing applications, analytical applications and other hybrid forms of applications and workflows – using a core set of technologies and interfaces which can be shared across those use cases. To account for current and future needs, these information infrastructure capabilities ought to be provided as services which are application and technology agnostic.

We recently at Gartner released a conceptual “information capabilities framework (ICF)” to describe what is needed in a information infrastructure. It can be implemented in different ways and tools. There are six high-level “verbs” in the ICF like “Describe” and “Govern” which are broken out into more detailed verbs like “Model”, “Profile” and “Identify”. Each of the verbs represents a key aspect of the information infrastructure which must be supported by people, process and technology. At the heart of the ICF is a core set of metadata management capabilities which are needed to support the framework (the metadata management, too, can be implemented in different ways by different organizations).

Net: Information managers ought to make sure that they have such a conceptual framework and critique their current tools, process and service level agreements against the framework in support of business and IT personnel who have use case needs for the data being managed. Obviously, information managers will want to address any “shortfalls” between the needed conceptual capabilities and  their current people, process and technology implementations.

Gartner clients who want more information about these topics should read:

Information Management in the 21st Century
The Information Capabilities Framework: An Aligned Vision for Information Infrastructure
Defining the Scope of Metadata Management for the Information Capabilities Framework
Information Management in the 21st Century Is About All Kinds of Semantics
How to Use (And Not Use) Gartner’s Information Capabilities Framework

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Mike Blechar
VP Distinguished Analyst
17 years at Gartner
43 years IT industry

Michael Blechar is vice president and distinguished analyst in the Information Management Research area of Gartner's Research and Advisory Services. Mr. Blechar specializes in the area of metadata management/repositories, information and data services…Read Full Bio


Thoughts on The Heart of Information Infrastructure is the Information Capabilities Framework


  1. […] silos to get a broad view across the organization. Gartner recommends organizations adopt an “information capabilities framework:” An information infrastructure which is able to support different categories of “use cases” […]

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  3. […] silos to get a broad view across the organization. Gartner recommends organizations adopt an “information capabilities framework:” An information infrastructure which is able to support different categories of “use cases” […]

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