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8 Types of Information Flow

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Information flow is the movement of information between people and systems. Efficient and secure information flows are a central factor in the performance of decision making, processes and communications. The following are common types of information flow.

Publish / Subscribe

Data integration is often implemented as a publish/subscribe model whereby a data producer publishes a notification of data changes and interested subscribers pick it up. For example, a sales system publishes a new customer and a number of systems including the billing system add the customer to their databases.


Data integration that is pushed from one system to another such as a sales system that pushes new customers to a billing system.


Systems that pull data from a single source of truth. For example, a billing system that doesn't store basic customer information but uses an API offered by a sales system to access customer records.


A method of implementing processes whereby services are aware they are participating in a process but there is no central controller of the process. For example, swarm robots that are putting up a beach umbrella may communicate amongst each other to get the job done with no boss controlling things. This results in complex, dynamic and often redundant information flows.


A method of implementing processes that relies on a central controller. For example, robots that are putting up a beach umbrella who don't move unless the boss tells them too. This results in relatively easy to model information flows that flow from the controller out.

Event Handling

Information that is published to an event handler. The handler decides where the event information needs to flow. This is associated with a technology known as complex event processing that can look for patterns in streaming events to find things that require action. For example, if someone pulls a fire alarm the handler might wait for smoke detector confirmation before triggering a sprinkler system.


Information that flows via human communication such as a business email. This is typically dynamic but can also be modeled in terms of processes and procedures that people follow.


The flow of information created by humans such as documents. For example, a workflow for document approval in a knowledge management system.
Overview: Information Flow
The movement of information between people and systems.
Related Concepts


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