by Brian LeBlanc, Term Management Taxonomist
The key to successfully creating, implementing and maintaining a taxonomy in an organization is having an effective Taxonomy Governance Plan. The governance plan is the road map that coordinates the efforts of everyone involved as they go through the phases of developing a taxonomy that is fully integrated with the organization’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system and becomes part of the daily workflow. The goal of this three-part series is to provide an in-depth look at the taxonomy governance road map for each of the three main teams that need to work in tandem to accomplish this goal: the Taxonomist, the IT/System, and the Enterprise.
The first part of the series addressed the role of the taxonomist. Now let’s take a look at the role of the system.
A taxonomy is only as good as the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system that will be using it to tag, classify and retrieve the content required by the users. The IT/Systems team has a very focused, specific and crucial role to play in this process as they are the ones responsible for the integration of the taxonomy, the enterprise’s content, and the ECM system. The IT team needs the taxonomy governance plan to help inform the selection and implementation of the ECM system, the content migration plan, and the testing period before everything goes live.
The systems team is in charge of one of the most vital parts of the entire project, namely deciding upon and implementing a new ECM system for the entire organization. The adoption of a new ECM system is a catalyst for people in the organization to determine what content they want to migrate into the new ECM system. The IT team can deploy the new system in a test environment with a draft taxonomy and some sample content. Once everything is found to be working properly in the test environment, content can officially be migrated and the taxonomy can go live.
Once the ECM system is up and running, the IT team can start to retire the old content repositories after the appropriate amount of time has passed. During this time they will also be monitoring how the ECM system and taxonomy implementation is working in practice. Their insights will be a crucial part of the improvement process.
It’s always good to have someone on staff at a client site when working on the analysis phase of a taxonomy project. It used to be unheard of, but now it’s becoming more the norm to have at least one person in the room from a client’s staff who knows the importance of a taxonomy (or two or three…).
We used to depend on a staff librarian or metadata manager (rare, I know) to be sitting at the table to help us explain what we’re doing on a taxonomy project. Now, guys from the IT department are chiming in on how critical taxonomies are, and how the business teams (marketing, SEO, analytics, HR, etc.) can really benefit from creating and using a taxonomy.
SharePoint 2010 is mostly to “blame” for this trend, but also the marketplace in general is wising up to the competitive advantages taxonomy can bring.