Managed metadata cleans up information chaos

The arrival of managed metadata in SharePoint 2010 is providing a lifeline to organisations drowning in unclassified data, according to James Milne, Chief Technology Officer of Brisbane-based Myriad Technologies, who addressed the topic at the 3rd Australia SharePoint technology conference in Melbourne.

Myriad Technologies has deployed SharePoint 2010 at a range of Australian organisations including in the construction, mining and energy sector. Managed Metadata is an application included out of the box with SharePoint 2010 that provides a central location to store metadata for use by any site within a SharePoint farm. At the Australia SharePoint conference, Milne addressed business analysts, site administrators, business and project managers as well as web developers from large and high profile organisations around Australia, on the topic of managed metadata in a large enterprise.

"The future of managed metadata looks bright because the new Managed MetaData Service enables enterprises to deploy taxonomies across the entire organisation,” he said. “These taxonomies allow the business users to effectively tag their content so the organisation can categorise and search for their content more effectively. The Managed Metadata Service dramatically changes the way organisations can create and deploy enterprise metadata."

The use of Content Types and Site Columns in SharePoint 2007 was regarded as troublesome and difficult to deploy on multiple site collections. When faced with this challenge enterprises had two choices, the first option was to write code and deploy their Content Types and Site Columns as SharePoint Features.

This became cumbersome and required much testing to ensure it worked effectively and consistently. The second option was to invest in 3rd part tools which ranged from free tools that were unsupported to expensive 3rd party add-ons. However the Managed MetaData Service in SharePoint 2010 enables the publication of Content Types and syndication of taxonomies (metadata) across the whole enterprise.

“Finally we have the ability to create complex taxonomies that can be used for Record Management and “Business Classification Schemes” (BCS) through to social keyword “tags” that support the unstructured collaborative generation of content,” said Milne. “Another significant challenge that has been overcome is multi-lingual support for tagging. Multi-national organisations can now deploy taxonomies across multiple languages and multiple regions. This enables business users to tag and categorize content in their local language and support the searching of these tags in other languages.

“You can now tag a document with “Cat” and still find it when your Spanish office does a search for “El Gato”. This will ensure metadata consistency across languages as well as across the entire enterprise.”

With these major advancements in taxonomy management and Enterprise Content Management organisations are faced with a new set of challenges. With the ability to create large taxonomies to tag and categorise their content they are then presented with the daunting task of how to correctly tag their terabytes of data that needs to be migrated into SharePoint.

This challenge has seen the emergence of some very innovative products that enable the auto tagging and classification of content as it is uploaded into SharePoint and other ECM platforms, such as Datafacet and Pingar (Myriad Technoligies is an Australian reseller of Datacet.)

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