Today’s business users work with a range of information management tools designed to capture and provide access to critical business information. However, that information is of little value if users can’t find what they need. Business taxonomies can provide solutions to an organization’s knowledge management challenges. Although the concept of taxonomies is not new, organizations are beginning to focus increased attention on the design and development of intuitive and sustainable taxonomies that will serve their end users by making it easy to find the information they need in a single place. Today’s users have come to expect a simple way to both search and browse for their information, but still many organizations do not know where to begin in the design of such a system.
What is business taxonomy
Traditionally taxonomy is defined as the science of naming, describing and classifying organisms and includes all plants, animals and microorganisms of the world. Using morphological, behavioral, genetic and biochemical observations, taxonomists identify, describe and arrange species into classifications, including those that are new to science.
It is an overall scheme for organizing content to solve a business problem: it include Improve search, browse for content on an enterprise-wide portal, enable business users to syndicate content and provide the basis for content re-use.
According to Joseph A. Busch, Principal of Taxonomy Strategies and Lisa Butcher, Principal of Project Performance Corp. defines taxanomy as the classification of organisms in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships. They went further to describe it as the science, laws, or principles of classification; systematic which is basically divided into ordered groups, categories, or hierarchies.
An interface presentation of taxonomy for distributed teams
In this category, the user will key in the subject matter or the topic as indicated. The appropriate technologies for finding topics include topic maps.
Obviously, searching for specific information in a large document corpus in the absence of any form of metadata is pretty much a hopeless task. The question is what kind of information about the objects would help the user the most?
One common case is where the user has seen the object that is being sought once already, and so the user may remember specific details about it, such as words from the title, who wrote it, or when it was written. These clues can then be used to find the document by searching using the clues and trying out different searches until the right document shows up. Dublin Core metadata supports this form of retrieval quite well, since this is precisely the sort of information it contains
Therefore topic maps allows the following benefits; easier to maintain, easier to reuse existing material and can be easier to navigate, if software supports it.
This category, the user specifies the location of the targeted team in within the organisation operation area. An appropriate technology include;directory listing application.
Directory listing application enables one to simplify the operation of an organisation as they can easily search within the directory to find the information of the location required. The directory listings allow users to browse under categories of interest and search by city or country within which the organisation operates. All the providers have been placed under specific categories and sub-categories. The directory consists of location within the scope to the firms operation and they include country, city and other location.
Benefits of the directory listing application include: easy access, readily available information and reduce the cost of travelling and time wastage.
In this category, taxonomy records are categorized based on the functions and activities that produce them. The organization’s business processes are used to establish the taxonomy.
The highest or broadest level represents the business functions. The next level down the hierarchy constitutes the activities performed for the function. The lowest level in the hierarchy consists of the records that are created as a result of the activity.
In this category the focus is on departments In a department based taxonomy the hierarchy reflects the organizational charts. Records are categorized based on the business unit that manages them. The taxonomy includes the entire present department within the organisation. The appropriate technologies to use include: department management system (DMS).
One advantage of a business-unit based taxonomy is that it mimics most existing paper filing system schemes. Therefore, users are not required to learn a “new” system. However, conflicts arise when documents are managed or shared amongst multiple business units.
Justification for taxonomy in managing distributed teams
Taxonomy enables easier information management, flexibility to respond to changing needs and foundation for find-ability and usability
Taxonomy not only provide a single methodology for categorizing information across offices, programs, and regions but also reduce the time it takes to successfully target and find cross-Program/Region information.
In addition, it enable and enforce content linking across the agency whereas build common agency-wide terminology resources. Another notable justification is that it eliminate multiple, ambiguous taxonomies.
1. Joseph A. Busch and Lisa Butcher American Society for Information Science and Technology
1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA
2. Suryanto, Hendra and Paul Compton. Learning classification taxonomies from a classification knowledge based system. University of Karlsruhe; “Defining ‘Taxonomy’,” Straights Knowledge website.
3. Downie, Richard D. “Defining integrated operations,” Joint Force Quarterly (Washington, D.C.). July, 2005
4. Barbara B. Defining ‘Taxonomy’, Straights Knowledge website.