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Information Architecture News & Analysis

You Can't Escape the Long Arm of Conway's Law

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You already know about Moore's law and how it describes the miniaturization of chips. You may know about Goodheart's law and how it describes human behavior regarding quantitative metrics. Have you heard about Conway's law and how it is constantly clashing with your efforts to bring customer centricity to the enterprise?

Metadata Maturity Helps You Maintain Business Relevance

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“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers" -- Calvin Coolidge

Any organization looking to manage and exploit its knowledge more effectively can't afford to ignore metadata creation. Metadata's application, however, can't stop at creation. Organizations must continually update, manage and exploit it in order to provide optimal content and knowledge management opportunities.

Applying the metadata maturity model to content management initiatives provides an agnostic framework through which to understand the current state of metadata, and prioritize its use and management into the future. The model outlines five maturity levels as benchmarks that provide an opportunity to discuss ongoing metadata development and improvement. 

Is Email the Solution to Information Overload?

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Information overload prohibits you from "focusing on what matters most." Email is the primary cause of overload because you have too many email message to process. Solve the email problem and you will conquer information overload.

This is what IBM, Microsoft and Google want you to believe. All three companies recently released products to help you cut down on email-related information overload.

Here is how each company touts their new offerings:

IBM Verse offers a faster, better way to manage business communications across devices, organize inbound and outbound information, and focus on what you need most.

Google Inbox is a fresh start that goes beyond email to help you get back to what matters.

Microsoft Clutter is designed to help you focus on the most important messages in your inbox. It uses machine learning to de-clutter your inbox by moving lower priority messages out of your way and into a new Clutter folder. Ultimately, Clutter removes distractions so you can focus on what matters most.

Focus on what matters most …. Is it an incredible coincidence that all three companies identify the same need? Or is this problem so commonplace that the demand for a solution is abundantly obvious?  Will "fixing" email really alleviate the problem of information overload and let you focus on what matters most?

I think not.

Keeping SharePoint In Check with Information Governance

Historically, SharePoint was thought to cause as many information governance problems as it solved. The 2001 to 2003 versions did not show Microsoft putting much effort into helping customers with information governance. But after the massive take up of SharePoint Portal Server 2007 licenses, and the often negative conversations coming out of the sizable SharePoint user community, Microsoft started to take governance issues seriously. Governance-focused sessions started popping up at the conferences, and governance articles and check lists made an appearance on TechNet.

Link Information Architecture to Productivity

2015-18-February-To-Do-List.jpgDuring his keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference last July in Washington DC, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke at length about the company's messaging evolution from "devices and services" to a "platforms and productivity" theme. For many on the IT side of the house, productivity has long been a part of KPIs and metrics, in many different forms. Productivity's ultimate goal is to help businesses move faster, become more effective and be more accurate.

Managing Content? Start with Metadata

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To effectively manage and exploit a company’s knowledge, you need a metadata plan. The successful implementation of any content-related strategy -- be it data, digital assets or text -- requires implementation of a holistic metadata schema that is supported by technology, people and process.

Building a DAM or CMS without a metadata plan is akin to throwing papers in an unmarked box. The systematic organization that metadata provides increases the return on investment of a content system by unlocking the potential to ingest, discover, share and distribute assets.

Stop Pulling Teeth: A Better Way to Classify Documents

2014-08-December-Dentist.jpgThere are really only two ways to get your content classified: You require manual tagging by setting fields as required, or you use automation and stop fighting your users.

People hate to upload a document only to find that there's a half dozen fields to fill in before they can finish the upload process. This approach may seem easy, but often times it creates a love/hate relationship with SharePoint -- users see it as a limitation of SharePoint and will turn to a file share or Dropbox instead.

Alternately, they take the easy way out and fill the fields with the first entry in the drop-down, resulting in metadata that is populated, but wrong. Required manual tagging becomes yet another thing users have to do to get their work done.

Prevent Enterprise Search From Going to the Weeds

2014-24-November-Overgrown-Greenhouse.jpgAs an Enterprise Search expert, I get a lot of questions about Search and Information Architecture (IA). And what I've discovered is that people have plenty of misconceptions.

I'll share some of them in this article — and hopefully help you avoid some common mistakes about planning and implementing Enterprise Search.

Nitro: From Down Under to Over $15M

Document productivity company Nitro, originally founded in Melbourne, Australia, will beef up its San Francisco headquarters after raising $15M from Bay Area venture capitalists (VCs) in a bid to go after the big fish of document management, including Adobe and Citrix.

Nitro's products, including Nitro Pro and Nitro Cloud, enable document sharing in the enterprise. This includes the ability to sign and share documents and exchange them on mobile devices.

Hey CIO, CEO: You're Leaking Data

Of all the vital responsibilities C-level executives have, keeping data secure is a big one. Especially today, when many managers consider data to be the "new gold" or the "new oil”… feel free to add your own metaphor.

The Harvard Business Review has published a number of articles that say that those who leverage their data best will be at a competitive advantage.

“Data-driven decisions tend to be better decisions. Leaders will either embrace this fact or be replaced by others who do,” wrote Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson in an article in 2012.

But what happens when your strategic data is at someone else’s disposal as well? And we’re not just talking about data that’s been hacked or deliberately open sourced and shared with select parties, but also the stuff that your employees lob over company firewalls for convenience sake.

If you’re a manager this kind of behavior should be cause for concern because we could be talking about the very strategic assets and intellectual property you’ve been charged to protect.

Creating Governance Solutions for Hybrid SharePoint Environments

2014-03-November-Air-Ground.jpgWhat are the differences between SharePoint governance in online versus on-premises deployments? This question comes up regularly at conferences and events -- administrators and business owners alike want to know if their organizations need to change their administration activities for the cloud. With many organizations either planning a move to the cloud or developing those plans, they need to know whether there are differences in what you can manage and how SharePoint is managed in the cloud.

Are there differences? Yes. Will these differences impact your existing governance policies and procedures? Most definitely.

Big Data Projects: Taking Care of the Foundation

2014-30-October-Building-Blocks.jpgAll programs need a foundation, and big data programs are no different. Preparing an organization for big data requires a lot of the same capabilities for small data, content management and other information management and access programs. The challenge lies in making it real for the organization and paying for long term capabilities with short term benefits.

Is Your Information Architecture Ready for SharePoint 2013?

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SharePoint Administrators will naturally focus on the infrastructure side of a migration to SharePoint 2013, but migration is also the perfect time to reevaluate your information architecture (IA) and prepare it for this new and improved version of SharePoint.

Take Back Your SharePoint Governance Plan

Let’s start at the beginning … What is a governance plan? In the IT world a governance plan is typically a set of roles, responsibilities, procedures, policies, etc., that an organization can build around the usage of a particular piece of technology. When you are implementing new software either for the first time or in preparation for an upgrade, a governance plan is important, but depending on the technology, may not always be required.

When you are implementing SharePoint, a governance plan is definitely required.

Why You Should Never Upgrade SharePoint

Information Management, 2014-11-August-Monkey-Tools.jpgClients often tell me that they want to "upgrade their SharePoint" without understanding what it is that they are requesting. "Upgrade" makes the process sound much easier than it actually is.

When you upgrade Microsoft Office, you can open all of your old documents in the new version after a simple install. If your previous version of Office was really old, the software might prompt you upon opening each document to convert it to the latest version -- a one-time task that runs automatically.

People tend to think that a SharePoint "upgrade" is as simple as installing the latest version of SharePoint on the server, and then the content and documents will automatically port over. This could not be further from the truth!

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