Affiliated Organization

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


The notion of ‘architecture’ is widely used in the context of IS/ICT1. It is often to be found incouplings such as business architecture, knowledge architecture, strategic architecture,governance architecture, IS architecture, IS competence architecture, IT architecture,network architecture, computer architecture; the list could easily be extended. Why is theword actually used in this manner? What does it add? Could it simply be replaced bysimpler, perhaps less resonant terms such as structure or framework?Our paper examines the ways in which the term architecture (in particular informationarchitecture) and the architectural metaphor have come to be accepted and used in the contextof IS/ICT. In so doing we draw attention to the important cognitive, perceptual andcommunicative aspects of the metaphor which have all-too-often been ignored at the expenseof the structural, constructional and tectonic aspects.It is important that the cognitive features of the architectural metaphor are brought to the forein order to highlight the full range of issues central to IS/ICT practice; which itself is a criticalaspect of organizational contexts.