Information Systems Architecture (ISA)

Information Systems Architecture is the fundamental concepts or properties of an information system in its environment, as embodied in its elements and relationships, and in the principles of its design and evolution (ISO/IEC/IEEE 2011). An information system architecture usually consists of four layers: business process architecture, systems architecture, technical architecture, and product delivery architecture.

The Information Systems Architecture of an organization is a common framework, within which different kinds of individual information systems play their respective roles and interact with one another. It n is a framework for structuring and co-ordinating

  • the subsystems and components of the individual information system applications;
  • the interaction between different information system applications;
  • the subsystems and components of the information system infrastructure;
  • the interaction between the applications and the infrastructure.

For example, information system architecture may define

  • a standard functional structure for the

subsystems and components of a certain application type, e.g. a statistical survey application;

  • standard interfaces for interactions and data exchange between different types of subsystems or components;
  • standard interfaces for human interactions with information systems;
  • standard interfaces for interactions and data exchange with external information systems;
  • services to be provided by the information system infrastructure;
  • standard hardware, software, and data components to be used.

The information system architecture of any firm can be considered a blueprint depicting how the data processing system, telecommunications networks, and data are incorporated. It provides a summarized response to the following questions :

  • Where to store data?
  • What data is gathered?
  • How and where was the data gathered?
  • Which application uses the data and how are they related to the overall system?
  • How is the data transferred?

ISA usually distinguishes three aspects, defining three “sub-architectures”:

  • Informational Architecture, or Data Architecture. This level represents the main data types that support business.
  • Application Architecture. Application architecture defines applications needed for data management and business support.
  • Technological Architecture. This architecture represents the main technologies used in application implementation and the

infrastructures that provide an environment for IS deployment.

See Also