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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld

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Chapter 18. Business Strategy

In strategy, surprise becomes more feasible the closer it occurs to the tactical realm.

Carl von Clausewitz, On War, 1832

What is business strategy doing in a book about information architecture? Do they have anything in common? After all, we didn’t have any business strategy courses in our library and information science programs, and it’s safe to say there are very few information architecture courses in the MBA curriculum.

In truth, these two fields have existed independently and in relative ignorance of one another heretofore. This historical isolation is about to change. As the Internet permeates our society, managers and executives are slowly recognizing the mission-critical nature of their web sites and intranets, and this awareness is inevitably followed by a realization that information architecture is a key ingredient for success. Once they’ve seen the light, there’s no going back. Managers will no longer leave information architects to play alone in the sandbox. They’ll jump in and start playing too, whether we like it or not. The good news is they’ll bring some toys of their own to share, and if we look at this as an opportunity rather than a threat, we’ll learn a lot about the relationship between strategy and architecture along the way.

In practice, information architecture and business strategy should have a symbiotic relationship. It’s obvious that the structure of a web site should align with the goals and strategy of the business.

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