IA Summit: An IA in Business School

by Luke Wroblewski April 9, 2010

In her Adventures of an IA in business school presentation at the IA Summit in Phoenix, AZ Cindy Blue shared her experiences as an information architect in an MBA program. Here's my notes from her presentation:

  • Financial reports for organizations are interesting for understanding a company’s liabilities, expenses, etc.
  • COGS is cost of good sold. If you are designing something a company sells. SG&A is general and administrative. If you are designing internal tools. A general understanding of this helps you make an argument for design’s value. Cost accounting is typically allocated out to the departments that use a design department’s services.
  • Organizational behavior focuses on motivation and team dynamics. Treating people like up and coming executives to motivate and inspire them.
  • Anybody making a lot of decisions needs to understand economics. Supply and demand helps you determine where to investment. Opportunity costs outline the trade-offs you need to make.
  • Finance is about determining which initiatives are the most profitable.
  • Operations are crucial for designing applications that involve business processes. Evaluating processes helps you find bottlenecks and increase efficiencies. Most of the discipline comes from manufacturing. A lot of analysis that happens in operations gets turned into software.
  • Poka yoke is a way of stepping back and evaluating where people could make mistakes. You can identify these in operations management.
  • Marketing is focused on customer experience. Concerned about providing value to people.
  • Any MBA that tells you they can be your CFO is full of it. They haven’t gotten deep enough training.
  • Getting an MBA is a lot of work, many numbers, a lot of homework especially team projects but it is a great way to understand the many factors running a business.