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Developing a Global Taxonomy with SharePoint 2010

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Developing a Global Taxonomy with SharePoint 2010: Data Analysis, Consensus, Process Creation

Challenge

Due to the inherently democratic nature of SharePoint and the lack of tools to create or manage global taxonomy in SharePoint 2007, our client lacked consistent use of business terms across applications and project teams and consequently their reporting environment. There existed multiple versions of data definitions across different glossaries, and there were no processes for identifying and managing term inconsistencies. As a result of this deficiency, our client’s data was difficult to aggregate. Also, due to disparate terminology and the lack of sufficient metadata, stakeholders complained of search features providing either too little or too many results.

Plaster Group was asked to provide subject matter expertise in the development of a global taxonomy made possible by additional features from a recent upgrade to SharePoint 2010. Plaster Group consultants were challenged with the development of processes for the creation, use, and maintenance of enterprise wide terminology and metadata that preserve departmental freedom and stakeholder ease of use. Additionally, consultants would need to produce the initial global taxonomy and employ a technological solution to support it.

Approach

Plaster Group gathered consistently used terminology from a variety of sources including subject matter expert interviews, documentation, and broad stakeholder groups. Additionally, consultants analyzed search data for abandoned searches and low quality search returns to identify terms stakeholders were silently struggling with.

Plaster Group consultants used this data to create consensus on a standardized taxonomy across the enterprise and worked with leadership to develop processes to control the addition of new terms to SharePoint Term Store after its implementation.

Solution

Plaster Group developed processes around gathering and distributing data definitions within our client’s organization using SharePoint Term Store for business terms. Consultants also established the processes to sustain and grow the global taxonomy across the organization. Key contributions included:

• Landscape analyses of metadata used within the organization
• Processes to build and sustain the data definition tool including term review and term prioritization process
• Construction and deployment of initial global taxonomy
• Building, testing, and deployment of web-based interface and SharePoint Term Store for managing the terms

Results

Our client now effectively utilizes SharePoint Term Store and a business terminology consistent across the organization, reducing confusion and streamlining information gathering and distribution. In addition, our client has new methods for capturing detail-oriented thinking. Information is presented in a format and level of detail appropriate to the needs of both business and technical audiences.

Due to the consistency across departments, information is simultaneously easier to aggregate and access. Our client’s teams are saving time, working more productively and easily. Consequently, our client’s mission-critical data is more thorough and of higher quality, and our client is saving money.