I had a phone call yesterday with a client who had a content findability problem. We discussed the value of the SG&A Taxonomy and how information, data and content typically travel with a business process. An invoice to accounts receivable, a bill to accounts payable, a customer order to sales, and a contract to legal. We talked about common content that companies have, and how global “best in class companies” benchmark based on common definitions for “apples to apples” comparison.
He said something to me that I often reference, “look at the Dewey Decimal System.” He then said something that expanded the idea, “go into a Library and walk up to the card catalog” He went on, “Dewey’s system enables you to go anywhere in the world to find a book in any city.” Saying that, this client did something that I failed to do, he talked about how a common classification framework adds value outside of the walls of one company. What if every library had their own classification system? What if each librarian tweaked the system and then left without telling anyone? What would happen?
Yet in business today, that happens all the time. CIO’s change, at one point the average tenure was 18 months. What happens to enterprise knowledge when staff changes? What is the impact when a Sr. Architect or lead programmer leaves? What knowledge disappears with their departure?
From my experience, I have never seen nor heard of a virtual card catalog for enterprise information. There is no Dewey system that integrates disparate systems information architecture and content nuances. Sure we do have a new breed of software for ontology and taxonomy management, but those are shell products that must be populated with a one-off vocabulary, not taking into consideration the commonality of information across companies. I was thinking, nope, there isn’t, but there should be.