The Map of Everything

This is the overview of what I think is interesting and important:

The map has a few generalisations, but the overall picture is what it should be.
There is a flow here, going from (raw) Data (bottom) up over Information to Knowledge. The transformation from Data to Knowledge is represented as its own layer, because this is where the processes, which add value, take place.
The following is a brief recap of each subject. Some of them have their own pages on this site, and more will have, soon.


Starting at the top, I am not going to define Knowledge. Plenty of philosophers have already done that. In the context of running a business or an organisation. there are more pragmatics than precision of thought. It - mostly - boils down to what is called Business Intelligence (BI).

Business Intelligence

The purpose of Business Intelligence is to support business users on all perspectives, be they strategic, tactical or operational. Beware that the BI-layer is more like a self-service buffet - it is there for You to survey. The knowledge is collected in the heads of people; quite often by way of experiences such as Aha! Or Eureka! So, BI is there to enable those experiences in the form of tools, representations, visualisations and analytics.


Information is also a hard thing to define; again I will leave that to the philosophers. Information comes in two kinds because of some forgotten wisdom in the it sector: structured and unstructured. (In fact it is one of the - not few - blunders of IT...)

Data Warehouse

High quality, structured information is the product of a Data Warehouse and is a happy marriage of business modelling and heavy it processing (cf. below under Management and Refinement).

Enterprise Search

High quality, unstructured information is the product of well-managed Content Management Systems (CMS) in the hands of skilled Information Architects and Library Scientists. The division of labor between Data Warehouse and "Content" is really artificial. On the information level, businesses and organisations should treat them alike and together as a very important asset. This is what (some of) Enterprise Search is about and that is why that subject has a key role in the whole picture.

Management and Refinement

It is important to understand that information is much more than just data. Data in its raw format is very crude and needs refinement. There are all kinds of problems with data like bad semantics, bad data quality, redundant or even conflicting data as well as anarchy in the way data is managed. That is why the layer of processes is so important (and the lifeblood of the Information Management business). Using my terminology there are four key disciplines involved in this:
  • Business Concepts (Business modelling and the semantics of business concepts)
  • Data Quality
  • Master Data
  • Data Governance


In the bottom layer we find the "two types of storage for data": the structured databases and the semistructured documents. Semistructured is a reference to the use of describing the meaning of data using "metadata", which is stored together with the data. In other words, this is the Kingdom of XML!
Both kinds of storage and retrieval are not new, but there is never the less a lot of new development going on. On the database side powerful new technologies such as column databases and more. And on the XML side there is the whole semantic web movement, which seems to be picking up inertia these days.