Justifying an Enterprise Taxonomy

The creation and management of an enterprise taxonomy can mean a significant investment in resources. It may mean hiring or training people with specialized skillsets, purchasing tools, doing development work to integrate toolsets, establishing and monitoring systems to track use and effectiveness, and more.

The key to selling it in within an organization is justifying the expense by identifying the external and internal uses and benefits. The work begins with an analysis of the business systems that can benefit from a consistent, centrally-managed taxonomy--not just content management systems, but also CRM systems, records management, intranets and more. In addition to internal systems, develop use cases for the user-facing features and benefits--improved navigation, filtered search functionality, search results, customization, and dynamic presentation of content. 

For more about how an enterprise taxonomy is used and how to determine the return on investment, check out our latest article, The Case for Enterprise Taxonomy.

Once an enterprise taxonomy has been created, it needs to be maintained and updated to reflect changing content and changing user needs. To learn more about maintaining a taxonomy, see our articles on taxonomy governance and how to establish a governance team.

Why Taxonomy Governance Matters

Governance. The very word is a little intimidating, isn’t it? Implications of outside authority imposing limits and regulations. The expectation of conformance. The repercussions that follow failure to comply.

So why should we embrace the concept of governance? Because just as, when done thoughtfully and fairly by our political bodies, when we apply it to our content and taxonomy it results in a better world. A more consistent, predictable world, where decisions are made based on documented rationale and best practices and roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated.

Taxonomies are particularly vulnerable to breakdown if not carefully managed. They can be complex to construct and maintain, but are nearly useless if not kept accurate and current. And when we build functionality that uses them, we place valuable user experiences at risk if we aren’t maintaining them on an ongoing basis.

In the first of a two-part series, we’ve just published a new article called Introduction to Taxonomy Governance. The article discusses the why governance matters and what it consists of, from strategy to operations. In part two, we’ll discuss how to set up and manage a taxonomy governance team.