SharePoint Taxonomy: Your Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

While SharePoint is a powerful tool, don’t expect to merely sign up and deploy without considering a department’s or organization’s particular requirements. Spoiler alert: a SharePoint taxonomy is critical to your success!

User adoption can be rough if SharePoint – be it on-premises or online — becomes an unstructured, ungoverned, glorified network file share for employees. A robust, scalable content management solution can be achieved when a well-planned SharePoint taxonomy and information architecture is in place.

What is a taxonomy?

A taxonomy is an enterprise-wide schema to classify, structure and systematize groups or categories of business data. A taxonomy also guides how SharePoint architectural components like sites, sub-sites, libraries, lists, managed metadata and columns (fields) are designed, influencing the type of data collected within the content.

This plan allows an enterprise to extract value from business content by organizing the data logically and consistently. When information is structured and indexed, users can search, share and store information when needed.

Why is the planning process so vital?

This framework, or SharePoint taxonomy, lays the groundwork allowing users to take advantage of SharePoint to its fullest capacity. The planning process begins long before implementation. Users, as well as departmental and company leaders, need to weigh in on the pain points and specific needs. The plan also should acknowledge unique requirements as well as other business platforms and systems in use.

“Typically, it is not the technology but a lack of focus, a lack of planning and a lack of guidance that is the root cause of the challenges and issues businesses are facing.” – Bob Larrivee, AIIM Vice President and author of AIIM’s Information Management: Connecting and Optimizing Office 365

How do I establish the right taxonomy for my organization’s needs?

Companies can follow established best-practices for building a SharePoint taxonomy, but no two companies’ nomenclature will be the same.

Some businesses choose a tiered approach. For example, a legal department wants a first tier containing drafts, working papers and individual documents – completely separate from the other business units. The second tier may be collaborative, comprising the team’s active cases to which some departments may need access. A third tier could entail archiving and managing records throughout their document storage lifecycle.

Other enterprises necessitate a horizontal and centralized approach, where every team works in a single SharePoint Site, using document libraries and other mechanisms to collaborate with and manage the content. The correct approach depends upon the input you’ve gotten in the early planning stages from users and leaders within your departments and business.


The risks of not planning

Without this due diligence, organizations and users both suffer. Users encounter frustration, losing time searching for content and stop using the system. Organizations waste money and resources they could have used for strategic, constructive projects. They also miss an opportunity to facilitate workflows, govern records management and leverage other advanced content management functions.

While SharePoint possesses some impressive features of out-of-the-box, many organizations use consultants to help them plan a SharePoint taxonomy, migrate content from file shares or other existing repositories or provide document management system/EMC expertise.

Enterprises also frequently use third-party add-on platforms to allow them to capture, upload, tag and route documents — boosting productivity and freeing up needed resources. Specific add-on applications can also connect to an organization’s multiple business systems for a simple document search/retrieval experience, enabling business decisions can be made based on real-time data.

With almost 20 years of Microsoft-centric content management technology and SharePoint consulting expertise, KnowledgeLake provides innovative solutions to ensure your organization’s taxonomy and solutions architecture is designed with strategic alignment, user adoption and information governance compliance in mind.

Learn more about establishing a SharePoint ECM solution with this kit addressing user adoption, taxonomy information and more! 

Download My ECM Kit


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.