Information Engineering (IE)


Gartner defines Information Engineering (IE) as "a methodology for developing an integrated information system based on the sharing of common data, with emphasis on decision support needs as well as transaction-processing (TP) requirements." It assumes logical data representations are relatively stable, as opposed to the frequently changing processes that use the data. Therefore, the logical data model, which reflects an organization’s rules and policies, should be the basis for systems development.

As a concept, information engineering is intended to unify and combine the different requirements that must be engineered in any complex system or application. This includes requirements for a database (data engineering), for insuring controlled access, and for binding all application components into a single system. Data engineering focuses on the required information (input and/or output) for a given application, to meet the needs of software engineers who ‘build’ the system and users who utilize the system. Software engineering refers to the organized process of producing a software application, from the original idea to the final deliverable product. Software engineers utilize the data engineering results information, and apply methodologies in the design and construction of an application. Security engineering refers to the access of information, both by the software engineers and the end user, clearly defining what each individual can do with what information at which times. The key issue is that applications cannot and must not be engineered in a vacuum. Information engineering must span the entire business process, and not be limited to the design and development of an application.

History of Information Engineering

The Martin methodology provided a foundation for the CASE tool industry. Martin himself had significant stakes in at least four CASE tool vendors – InTech, Higher Order Software, KnowledgeWare, originally Database Design Inc, and James Martin Associates, originally DMW and now Headstrong. At the end of the 1980s and early 1990s the Martin thread incorporated rapid application development (RAD) and business process reengineering (BPR) and soon after also entered the object oriented field. Over this same period the Finkelstein thread evolved further into Enterprise Architecture (EA) and his business-driven IE methods evolved into Enterprise Engineering for the rapid delivery of EA. This is described in his books: "Enterprise Architecture for Integration: Rapid Delivery Methods and Technologies". First edition by Clive Finkelstein (2006) in hardcover. The second edition (2011) is in PDF and as an iBook on the Apple iPad and ebook on the Amazon Kindle.

Characteristics of Information Engineering

  • Enterprise strategic systems planning
  • Enterprise information planning
  • Business Area analysis
  • System Design
  • Construction
  • Cutover


Four stages of Information Engineering

  • Stage 1: Information Strategy Planning. Concerned with top management goals and critical success factors. Concerned with how technology can be used to create new opportunities or competitive advantages. A high level overview is created of the enterprise, its functions, data, and information needs.
  • Stage 2: Business Area Analysis. Concerned with what processes are needed to run a selected business area, how these processes interrelate, and what data is needed.
  • Stage 3: System Design. Concerned with how selected processes in the business area are implemented in procedures and how these procedures work. Direct end user involvement is needed in the design of procedures.
  • Stage 4: Construction. Implementation of the procedures using, where practical, code generators, fourth generation languages, and end user tools. Desire is link to construction by means of prototyping.


Information Engineering (IE) is a top-down enterprise information systems development approach which forms a part of the strategy for the overall systems architecture. IE employs data models and process models for each business function or area, to formulate a basic framework of how an enterprise functions and how information technology can help it to function better.

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