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Understanding the Role of Taxonomy in a High Value ECM Solution Built on SharePoint

This blog includes a number of posts on the role played by a taxonomy, specific to an organization, in a value proposition for SharePoint 2010 and/or 2013. One can argue a taxonomy must be present to provide a foundation for all of the value delivered by SharePoint components — the Term Store and Managed Metadata Service (MMS) in an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution built on SharePoint.

Of course this blog is not the only venue for taxonomy proponents to publish their opinion. The AIIM organization publishes a lot of similar content on their web site, for example, Why Create a Taxonomy for a SharePoint ECM Implementation.

Mr. Weintraub directly answers the question of why a taxonomy is important to a successful SharePoint ECM: “Taxonomy provides the structure to the SharePoint ECM solution that enables the users to easily find the information that they need to make a business decision.” From the examples he provides in this short presentation, most readers should understand why a taxonomy (including the most important, and representative categories of information for a specific organization) is required to support not only an accurate search feature for SharePoint, but also to support any effort to capture useful intelligence (including Business Intelligence — BI) about how personnel from this organization interact with the information reposed in the SharePoint ECM. Any/all reports management may want to create, publish and implement as a basis of action depends upon taxonomy.

Readers are often not aware of the role taxonomy actually plays in the process for an ECM built on out of the box SharePoint. A taxonomy is not absent, but, rather, invisible to personnel using the out of the box SharePoint ECM. Every instance of SharePoint has a Term Store, complete with a starter set of terms and term sets. Of course, all of these components are based on a basic taxonomy.

SharePoint-Videos offers at least three sets of useful video training courses on taxonomy in SharePoint. A useful overview of SharePoint ECM, for SharePoint 2013 can be found in a set of training titled SharePoint 2013: Managed Metadata and Content Management, which is based on an online course led by Chris McNulty, CTO of Hi-Software.

A set of training content on SharePoint 2013: Search touches on the role played by a structure of content types, terms and term sets relevant to a specific organization, for a valuable implementation of SharePoint 2013’s search feature.

The final set in this group, and the one filled with them most hands-on training content on this topic, is SharePoint 2010: Taxonomy Management. This course is led by Mike Doane, a Principal at Term Management, LLC.

If your organization would like to extract more value from the inherent potential represented by opting to build an ECM on SharePoint, please feel free to contact us.

Ira Michael Blonder

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