It is not surprising when companies consider deploying a content management system (CMS), they look first at establishing a technology platform.
But what they often fail to consider is the governance, or taxonomy, that will enable them to reap the benefits of such systems.
As a definition, content is all of a company’s stored knowledge, from Internets and Intranets to sales presentations, to the extensive technical documents and other proprietary materials it creates. And, in simplest terms, a company’s taxonomy is the skeleton from which all content hangs.
Gartner researchers note in their report Waves of Information Disruption Due in 2003 that “to get value from the vast quantities of information and knowledge, enterprises must establish discipline and a system of governance over the creation, capture, organization, access and utilization of information.”
Developing A Taxonomy
Content management systems have evolved considerably over the past few years to cover a broad range of capabilities, such as Web content management, document management and imaging, records management and team collaboration.
Companies such as Documentum, IBM and Open Text among others have developed suites of products that can solve most of a company’s content management needs from a software perspective.
However, these products won’t analyze and develop a taxonomy.
Creating a taxonomy should be central to any enterprise content strategy. Without that framework, even the best technology may not meet expectations because of the numerous intranet sites and discrete pieces of information it has no way of interconnecting.
Even though developing a taxonomy is both expensive and difficult, the benefits are enormous: better and quicker access to information; improved relationships with partners, regulators and customers; and less duplication of work.
Forrester researchers note in Best Practices in Taxonomy Development and Management that, ideally, taxonomies “represent agreed-upon terms and relationships between ideas or things and serve as a glossary or knowledge map helping to define how the business thinks about itself and represents itself, its products and services to the outside world.”