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What is Data Architecture?

By   /  January 8, 2018  /  No Comments

data architectureData Architecture “includes specifications used to describe existing state, define data requirements, guide data integration, and control data assets as put forth in a data strategy.” Data Architecture bridges business strategy and technical execution, and according the recent Trends in Data Architecture Report:

“Data Architecture is as much a business decision as it is a technical one, as new business models and entirely new ways of working are driven by data and information.”

According to the DAMA International Data Management Book of Knowledge, Data Architecture can be synthesized into the following components:

  • Data Architecture Outcomes: Models, definitions and data flows on various levels, usually referred as Data Architecture artifacts.
  • Data Architecture Activities: Forms, deploys and fulfills Data Architecture intentions.
  • Data Architecture Behaviors: Collaborations, mindsets and skills among the various roles that affect the enterprise’s Data Architecture.

Other Definitions of Data Architecture Include:

  • “Common vocabulary expressing integrated requirements ensuring that data assets are stored, arranged, managed, and used in systems in support of an organizational strategy.” (Dr. Peter Aiken)
  • “A set of rules, policies, and models that determine what kind of data gets collected, and how it gets used, processed and stored within a database system.” (Keith Foote, DATAVERSITY®)
  • “Using data effectively and built on a foundation of business requirements.” (Sven Blumberg, et. Al., McKinsey)
  • “Describes how data is collected, stored, transformed, distributed and consumed. IT includes rules governing structured formats, such as databases and file systems, and the systems for connecting data with the business process that consume it.” (DalleMule and Davenport, Harvard Business Review)
  • “Models, policies, rules, or standards that govern which data is collected, and how it is stored, arranged and put to use in a database system and or in an organization.” (Business Dictionary)

Visual Example of Data Architecture Elements:

Image Credit: Max Griboedov/Shutterstock.com


Businesses Use Data Architecture to:

  • Strategically prepare organizations to quickly evolve and to take advantage of business opportunities inherent in emerging technologies.
  • Translate business needs into data and system requirements.
  • Facilitate Alignment of IT and business systems.
  • Manage complex data and information delivery throughout the enterprise.
  • Acts as agents for change transformation and agility.
  • “Depict the flow of information between people (users) and Business Processes.”


Photo Credit: NicoElNino/Shutterstock.com

About the author

Michelle Knight enjoys putting her information specialist background to use by writing technical articles on enhancing Data Quality, lending to useful information. Michelle has written articles on W3C validator for SiteProNews, SEO competitive analysis for the SLA (Special Libraries Association), Search Engine alternatives to Google, for the Business Information Alert, and Introductions on the Semantic Web, HTML 5, and Agile, Seabourne INC LLC, through AboutUs.com. She has worked as a software tester, a researcher, and a librarian. She has over five years of experience, contracting as a quality assurance engineer at a variety of organizations including Intel, Cigna, and Umpqua Bank. During that time Michelle used HTML, XML, and SQL to verify software behavior through databases Michelle graduated, from Simmons College, with a Masters in Library and Information with an Outstanding Information Science Student Award from the ASIST (The American Society for Information Science and Technology) and has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Smith College. Michelle has a talent for digging into data, a natural eye for detail, and an abounding curiosity about finding and using data effectively.

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