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Tomato, Tomatoe – Taxonomy as a Tool to Build Your Corporate Culture

by | Dec 18, 2020

If you feel you spend too much time looking for the information you need to do your job, consider a Taxonomy project. Companies who have done so have cut the time they spend looking for and finding the right information to do the job in half.

Records management is all about finding the right information at the right time and delivering it to the right (authorized) person.  The key to the process is knowing what the information is called and how it’s spelled. Hours are wasted by knowledge workers looking for information either because they can’t remember what they themselves called it, or, the information was created by someone else who is no longer around.

Corporate culture is reflected in the unique names for specific types of business documents – “scratch and dent”, for instance, is a name used by a mortgage company for its due diligence research in its risk department.

This particular company started in the automotive loan industry and this particular record reflected its roots.  In moving towards a paperless workflow for its loan documentation, the company looked closely at the function of the records created in the process in order to come to a clear understanding of what various departments named the documents as they were created.  A Business Classification System (BCS) was developed and from that a Taxonomy.


What is a Business Classification System?

A Business Classification System is analogous to a Chart of Accounts or an Organization Chart.  It defines a standard language by which various entities within an organization identify documents and records.  It codifies the names and labels of specific documents.

Taxonomy is a hierarchical classification scheme to organize and describe documents, content and records.  Categorizing, defining and grouping information, usually within a process context, originates from different business requirements, but with a common aim to structure the collection of documents and records in a recognizable and standardized way.

Electronic and physical documents and records are tagged by metadata for security, privacy and retention data in a consistent form so that searches can be conducted with fewer resources.  Absence of taxonomy and metadata contributes to delays in search and retrieval of information and the uncertainty of providing complete information in an audit or litigation.  This becomes especially important when responding to a request to be forgotten under CCPA.


Targeted Searches

Think of an internet search of the phrase “records management” – it will yield over a million hits.  Is this really useful?  However, if you search on “records management, software, workflow”, you have a much more manageable retrieval hit list that provides a more focused research list.

The same concept works on your shared drives.  Searching for a “contract” will yield those native format documents with the word contract in the title or somewhere in the document, or, if you have run your tiff and pdf versions through an OCR engine, you will get those, too.  If you have an electronic content management system that encompasses documents and records, you can perform a search on “Contracts”, “Memorandum of Understanding”, “2007”, “ABC Company” and find the specific document you’re looking for immediately.  The Taxonomy would look like:  “Record Series”  “Record Type” “Year” “Client”.

When setting up an Electronic Content Management application many companies stop after “Record Series” and the date that the document was entered into the ECM, not necessarily the date the document was created.  Taking a minute at the beginning of a document and record lifecycle saves countless hours later in searches, reduces the risk of not finding a responsive document in litigation or audit and ensures that all copies are found at the time of destruction.


Versatile and Adaptable

The business logic of the Business Classification Plan can be incorporated into a content ingestion process in all forms of capture, not just paper scanning.  In a remote worker environment, email boxes and private drives can be swept on a regular basis without action required on the part of the employee, in a “pull” vs “push” management of the record assets.

So regardless of whether your operations have shifted to a remote workforce or still revolve around an office environment, a Business Classification Plan is worth considering.

If this sound interesting, give Western Integrated Systems a call to discuss!

Written by WIS



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