Taxonomy gets a boost from Microsoft

I was reading Ryan Duguid’s (Sr. PM for SharePoint at Microsoft) blog post earlier this week. It outlines the steps Microsoft has taken to ease organizations’ entry into using the metadata tag store to classify data in SharePoint. I simply wanted to ensure this announcement got additional coverage as I think it’s a valuable step forward on the part of Microsoft.


Look, I speak to customers and prospects frequently. Many if not most are planning to use the tag store. They are doing this for a variety of reasons such as security, governance and compliance. In other words, they feel they need to differentiate confidential data from public data. They need to report on who has access to confidential data and they want to see who has tried to see things that perhaps they shouldn’t be looking at. However, they all face the same daunting task – how to get started? That is to say (or write as the case may be with a blog post), what should the tag store look like? What terms are “right” for each organization? Is there a difference between top secret and confidential? What is secure and what is attorney/client privilege? And how should items like material safety data sheets be tagged?


The SharePoint term store is great but making this first (and generally most expensive) step causes heartburn in even the most stout of SharePoint admins. That’s where Microsoft has stepped in to help.


What Microsoft is doing is making available a template term store that you can import right into SharePoint 2010 and use as a starting point for your org. Here’s the salient text from Ryan’s blog post.


“The SharePoint team have teamed up with WAND, a leading provider of Enterprise Taxonomies, to make their General Business Taxonomy available as a freely available download. The General Business Taxonomy consists of around 500 terms describing common functional areas that exist in most businesses. The General Business Taxonomy can be imported in to the SharePoint 2010 term store within minutes and provides a great starting point for customers looking to build a corporate vocabulary and take advantage of the Managed Metadata Service.”


Now, I haven’t delved into this, yet, but I am sure that I will soon. And along those lines, if you have an opportunity to give this WAND technology a whirl, please drop me a line and let me know what you think. Or better yet, copy Ryan as well. I’m sure he would appreciate your feedback.


Until next time…