Many times in my classes and at various lectures, I am told by students and attendees that they are relieved to learn they are not the only ones struggling with various organizational issues. No matter where I go in the world; No matter what type of company we are talking about, the fundamental issues discussed appear to be the same, “We do not have a consistent structure for our content nor do we have a strategy on how we will label and implement consistent taxonomic and metadata practices. As a result we cannot find the right information when we need it and we cannot defend the integrity of our information if challenged.”
These are still very real issues that are surfacing even more rapidly as legislation and regulatory changes take hold, discovery challenges are presented in times of litigation and audit and the explosion of content filling corporate digital landfills makes delivery of the right information to the right people at the right time a monumental task. Many organizations attempt to meet this challenge my applying technology without properly identifying the business requirements and problems to be addressed eventually coming to the realization that technology for the sake of technology does not work and the result of their efforts to eliminate the digital landfill is the creation of a digital dumpster where finding information is still a major challenge.
In my view, one of the first places to start is to identify business requirements, issues and consequences related to your current content management practices before trying to apply technology to solve the problem. Assess how your content is stored and labeled now. Do you have an established taxonomy and metadata strategy in place? You might for records but I am talking about your content. If you are like most companies, there may be some patterns in the user community, like the use of terms like contract, proposal, brochure, etc. but it may not be organized in the same way from one person to the next. Start here. Work to organize the content in ways that support the business requirements then select and apply the technology that will support your content management structure. Let the business drive technology not technology drive the business. If you are ready to move forward but are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started.
What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? What is on your mind? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.
Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM
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