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Taxonomy... then Governance

A Content Management System (CMS) used for Intranet or Internet sites is one breed of web site and a Knowledge Management System (KMS) is another.

Lets consider them both and look at the differences that add value to the corporate Intranet.

Displaying information

The first (Internet/Intranet) is about displaying information to anyone that wants to look at it, invented at CERN in 1989 Tim Berners-Lee proposed a system that could display information on one site from several locations (the first cut of code in 1990 created Mosaic later to become the Netscape browser).

Knowledge Management

The second (Knowledge Management) is about hosting the information created within a team and only displaying the information that is up to date and relevant to your role within the organisation, like a Magic Email inbox that highlights the Emails that are relevant and urgent based on what you are doing at that exact moment!! This is when everything becomes a fully integrated SharePoint Knowledge Base.

Pushing information

Surprisingly SharePoint does both of these things, it can be a simple Content Management System that will allow standard users to create content and auto-publish this content to web pages. In additional it can use information stored in Active Directory (AD) and utilising SharePoint Services, your SharePoint profile pushes information to you each time you view the page, that is relevant to your role and other known information, for example project you are currently involved with.

Efficiency savings

For instance a report could be created and then 'labelled' for company Directors, when a company director connects to the system they will see the new report as a specific item for them. Efficiency and savings are made by a reduction in emailed versions and a guarantee that the information being considered is absolutely the latest version.

SharePoint governance

Governance comes into play as we put steps into place to ensure that the information is the correct information, approved for display on the site and labelled with the right audiences for viewing the information (imagine a disgruntled employee pushing a report to the board that was a little too emotional!!). But in a system that many people can upload information for sharing, tracking who should approve what, or of course not, can be complex. For instance if Governance rules state that any new contract has to be approved by the legal team then the approver for Legal documents will have to monitor several sites as HR, Finance, Purchasing etc all produce contracts.

Classification- taxonomy

This is where Taxonomy come into play, using a series of labels that describe various aspects of the information piece decisions can be made as to who would approve each item, a legal eagle in sales contracts would be informed of any new contract that has been tagged contract:purchase, where as a new starter contract tagged contract:staff could be directed to a different legal person for consideration. There are many SharePoint Tutorials, and SharePoint Training freely available on the web that can help educate your staff with these features.


So Governance will ensure that the right information is displayed and delivered to the right groups of people with appropriate control. It will also ensure that only relevant information is maintained on the system and at the appropriate time manage corporate records or disposed of relevant documents in the right time frames. Governance can only do this if taxonomy has been applied across the organisation.

So if you wondered what comes first 'Chicken or Egg' think Taxonomy then Governance.

Steve Dalby has been involved with creating and setting up taxonomies for various organisation as part of installing and managing SharePoint installations and then defining the governance requirements as part of the final development and build documents.

Next Steps:

If you would like help with SharePoint governance, or would just like to talk to a SharePoint governance expert then please contact me, I'll be glad to help:

Call Steve on: +32 54 51 84 46 or CLICK HERE>[/button]

If you have any questions, or would like to share some feedback then please use the comments below.

Many thanks - Steve

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