Public Sector

Increasing Efficiency and Enabling Innovation in the Public Sector

Although technologies can improve and address the challenges in the public sector, the real goal is to deliver value, whether internally or externally to a variety of constituents. The challenge has been to identify technologies that can be deployed to transform the culture and structure of government in order to create sustainable and measurable benefits.

Having made great strides, the public sector still falls behind the private sector in moving forward on initiatives that improve organizational performance through increased efficiency and innovation. Government entities are realizing the importance of the management of information capital, to address the growing challenges created by the explosion of digital content. The essence of these solutions must provide strategies to get the right knowledge to the right people at the right time and in the right format. At the same time, the public sector must also incorporate the ‘do more with less’ approach to work within budget constraints while still delivering value and new services to citizens.

Concept Searching’s Smart Content Framework™, product platforms, and intelligent metadata enabled solutions, address and solve content management and information governance with one set of technologies. The products have been deployed within the public sector to eliminate a wide range of challenges. Diverse public sector clients such as the NASA Safety Center, National Transportation Safety Board, Quality Care Commission, Town of Fishers, Waikato Institute of Technology, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London Fire Brigade, Nottinghamshire and West Sussex County Councils, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, have all benefited from the deployment of the Concept Searching product platforms to address their information governance and specific content management challenges.

Regardless of the specific issues, all clients share the same common goal – to leverage and utilize unstructured and semi-structured content to improve performance and reduce costs. What are they trying to achieve? Improvements in enterprise and web site search, information lifecycle management, facilitating records management, elimination of potential security exposures, intelligent migration, communicating with diverse constituents using interactive web based applications, improving knowledge capture and dissemination.

How is this Accomplished?
The Concept Searching product platforms can deliver all of the above through the use of one set of technologies including:

The still unique technology transparently identifies the meaning of ‘content in context’, enabling the use of rich semantic metadata to be automatically generated, without end user intervention, auto-classified, and managed through highly sophisticated, interactive, yet easy to use taxonomy tools.

What are some of the benefits our public sector clients have achieved?

  • Eliminated information complexity and improved utilization of organizational information
  • Delivered information transparency and provided immediate and actionable visibility of relevant content
  • Integrated with the cloud to apply information governance regardless of where the content resides
  • Provided a framework for social media applications and knowledge sharing with constituents
  • Proactively identified precise and relevant information reducing costs associated with FOIA and eDiscovery
  • Eliminated manual tagging and end user intervention
  • Enabled their organizations to access and distribute information to diverse groups with a need for on demand
  • Provided a common vocabulary and normalization of nomenclature eliminating communication barriers and inconsistencies of terminology, within and outside the organization
  • Eliminated security exposures
  • Automatically identified documents of record and assigned correct classifications

Smart Content Framework™

Information governance is a broad and sweeping term, yet it is the fundamental component to when managing a host of content management challenges at the organizational level and provides the framework for long term improvement of performance and risk reduction. Encompassing and addressing the various issues facing the public sector, information governance can become the center cog in the wheel that assists in identifying technologies that can be deployed to create a transformation in the culture and structure of government in order to create sustainable and measurable benefits.

Unfortunately although the public sector, although having made great strides, it must continue at a rapid pace to accelerate and deploy flexible technologies that are re-usable and can improve processes and solve a host of challenges, known and perhaps unknown.

The biggest problem for organizations is that unstructured information is growing at an unprecedented rate. When dealing with the need for effective communication with diverse stakeholders, increased security exposures, an increase in FOIA and eDiscovery, and a host of compliance requirements, unstructured content is the weak link in any information governance strategy.

The umbrella term, information governance, focuses on solving problems from an enterprise level, in order to:

  • Quickly address and implement regulatory requirements and mandates to ensure compliance
  • Reduce the costs, time, and resources associated with eDiscovery and FOIA
  • Accurately manage records and processes from inception to disposition
  • Protect the organization from potential security or privacy exposures reducing the impact of eDiscovery, remediation, and fines
  • Identify and deploy cloud technologies  in a controlled and secure environment
  • Provide real-time information access to citizens and businesses, changing the model from one to one to one to many
  • Use social networking applications internally, externally, and in a public environment

Concept Searching’s Smart Content Framework™ is a combination of technology and organizational staff that assists in defining the major risk factors and results in the tactical changes needed in stream-lining  business processes. The building blocks include:

  • Metadata – the development of an enterprise metadata repository that is flexible in addressing multiple business challenges with one set of technologies and provides the ability to apply policy across diverse business groups, repositories, and applications
  • Insight – improves any interactive metadata application such as search, eDiscovery, migration, text analytics, social media, and collaboration, and is used as the data to analyze and quantify risk
  • Risk – defined by staff to determine the organizational risk factors, and effectively identify and validate the specific risk to analyze cost versus benefit
  • Policy– defined by the organization to implement and enforce policy based on the risk factors
  • Action – fulfills the organizational policies, enforceable and adaptable by end users, and can be quantifiable and able to be measured

The end result is the ability to deploy intelligent metadata enabled solutions that share the same framework for information governance. Instead of recreating the wheel for each challenge, with the framework in place, public sector organizations can improve agility and achieve business results more quickly and with less effort.

Industry Challenges

The public sector faces a multitude of challenges. Quite different from any other industry sector, the public sector must not only improve day-to-day operations internally, but must also look to the cloud to improve communication with citizens and businesses. Coupled with budgetary constraints this prevents public sector organizations from moving ahead more rapidly. The public sector needs to continue to embrace new forms of communication accessible via the Internet as well as proactively address the challenges of improving communication and knowledge sharing between:

  • Government to Government 
  • Government to Citizens 
  • Government to Businesses
  • Government to Employees 

With the mandate to utilize the cloud, a host of new challenges must be addressed. In addition, increased FOIA requests, eDiscovery, the very real potential of security breaches, and issues of compliance can justifiably hamper the organization’s effectiveness just to remain on a steady track as opposed to seeking innovative and new ways to become more efficient. 

Some of these high level challenges include:

  • The inability to share or exchange data efficiently, which costs government agencies time, and money results in increased time spent finding and accessing relevant information, if it can be found at all
  • The inability to satisfy citizen and stakeholder requests places additional burdens on agency staff to meet the ever increasing information access requests of diverse constituents
  • A lack of time to quickly push content to external audiences, ensuring security and continually improving information access and cloud based applications
  • A better method of ensuring information stored in the cloud environment does not have any potential data privacy or secured assets, or records that were never declared
  • The need for a transparent process to automatically migrate content to the cloud, from the cloud, auto-classify content to a taxonomies and provide tools that can be used by the knowledge managers or Subject Matter Experts to easily manage content
  • As more and more content is created and published agencies face the increasing costs of managing and integrating content so it is available within the entity or potentially across entities  in real-time
  • Responding to FOIA requests and ensuring government compliance is laborious and costly to agencies. Furthermore, the classification and declassification process is often inefficient and requires considerable human resources and costs to manage and perform the process accurately but more quickly
  • In some agencies, access to current information is mission critical, and content must be aggregated from internal and external sources. The impact of not having access to these information resources carries far greater implications that can affect safety and security at the local, regional, and country level

What are the challenges at a business operational level?
Solving the big picture challenges comes down to executing day-to-day tasks through a combination of people and technology. At the heart of addressing these challenges, organizations must improve processes that support the overall objectives.

The fundamental technology problems that impact organizational performance as a whole include:

  • Search – inability to identify and retrieve content based on precise relevancy and provide a single integrated view of content regardless of where it resides and make it available to multiple stakeholders based on their security access levels
  • Records Management – inability to accommodate the human factor, typically responsible for tagging and processing documents of record, causing errors and impacting the lifecycle of the record
  • Security – inability to define vocabulary and descriptors used for the real-time identification of confidential/data privacy information, remove content from unauthorized access, and prevent its portability
  • Migration – inability to migrate content based on semantic metadata tagging to simplify pre-migration activities and improve the organization of content post-migration, in any environment, as well as on-premise, in the cloud, or both
  • FOIA and eDiscovery – inability to find the precise information needed to make informed decisions and to facilitate FOIA and eDiscovery processes
  • Social Networking – providing audiences with a self serve information and application model changing the communication model from one-to-one, to one-to-many
  • Cloud – use of the cloud for public sector entities can achieve great savings, but there are challenges with applying information governance, security, migration to the cloud, and prohibit records from being stored and accessed in a cloud environment

At the crux of all these challenges is metadata. In alignment with the Smart Content Framework™, intelligent metadata enabled solutions can only be achieved through the automatic generation of multi-term metadata, are specific to the various vocabularies and nomenclature of the various communities, and serves as the foundation for any application that requires metadata. This enterprise metadata framework is then used to auto-classify content, and manage it through interactive, yet highly sophisticated, and industry unique taxonomy tools.


“With the integration of the Concept Searching intelligent search capability, Triune Group was able to provide us with a robust and scalable collaboration tool that delivers not only powerful advanced searching capabilities, but also a controlled and secure environment.”

Brian Follen, NASA Safety Center (NSC)
KnowledgeNow Program Manager

Concept Searching technologies address many of the challenges facing government entities. The tools can assist agencies in reducing costs and increasing productivity. Allowing knowledge workers to effectively query, use, and re-use agency wide content improves the speed and efficiency of operations and information can be shared and leveraged throughout the business cycle.

The elimination of inconsistent tagging and different publishing conventions across multiple content stores provides access to content from internal and external sources. For the agency, significant benefits can be achieved by removing the ambiguity in content through the identification of concepts within a large corpus of information. Concept Searching’s solutions have been proven to be the catalyst to improve access to unstructured information, encourage innovation, and deliver real benefits to government entities, their constituents, and stakeholders.

Below are the fundamental issues followed by information on how our public sector clients were able to address their challenges.

Download our Challenges and Solutions Collateral to read more mini case studies


Search, both internal and external is an infrastructure component and the impact of poor search reaches far beyond the retrieval of information. Reaching out to impact eDiscovery, FOIA, and unauthorized access to confidential information, the results can increase costs as well as organizational risk. A core component in all Concept Searching platforms is the ability to automatically generate compound term metadata (ie. concepts) and eliminate end user tagging. Identifying relevant content during a search effectively removes ambiguity and enables the retrieval of information based on the concepts within, increasing both precision and recall.

Case Study

Recognition for Knowledge Management Excellence
This organization supports the safety and mission assurance requirements of a comprehensive portfolio of programs and projects within NASA. It wanted to improve collaboration across its 8,000 strong workforce, improving findability, effectiveness and information sharing in a controlled and secure environment. It chose a robust, scalable, integrated knowledge management solution, and the Concept Searching technology platform component conceptSearch, which delivered the unique ability to extract concepts from content using ‘compound term processing’, thereby significantly improving search results. NASA Safety Center received a prestigious KMWorld award for the technologies, as well as the business benefits able to be achieved.

Records Management

Regardless of whether you are using the SharePoint Records Center or a third party application, records management and the lifecycle of documents of record are typically a challenge in any industry, let alone the public sector. The biggest stumbling block has always been end user tagging. With complex file plans, and the fact that human tagging is often haphazard at best, organizations can unwittingly fall into the trap of non-compliance. The Concept Searching platforms, are being used to automatically identify documents of record, auto-classify the content to a taxonomy that mirrors the file plan and route directly to the records management application.

Case Study

Getting Records Management Right
One of the UK’s largest County Councils, with approximately 13,000 staff includes 6,500 PC users has a significant number and broad diversity of information assets, that support the delivery of over 300 discrete services. conceptClassifier for SharePoint supported the solution to deliver a robust records management solution which is a listing of all the assets held by the Council, together with their initial risk assessment, retention cycles, and security levels. This application is the foundation upon which a structured approach to managing information was developed. To deploy the solution they also used intelligent migration capabilities in conceptClassifier for SharePoint to move all paper documents to a digital format, and automatically generate semantic metadata from all sources, and classify against the taxonomy.


Sensitive, confidential, and data privacy information exists in documents, scanned items, faxed items, emails, and in any unstructured or semi-structured content. The Concept Searching platforms provide the ability to automatically identify, secure, and prohibit portability of organizationally defined vocabulary and descriptors. Since the metadata generation is not restricted to keywords, it is highly accurate in identifying potential security exposures, in real-time, as content is ingested or created and then routed to a secure repository for disposition. Full support for standard descriptors is included, and additional value is provided through the ability for the organization, or functional group to define confidential information that falls outside of standard descriptors.

Case Study

Tackling PII Exposures
This US government department deployed a cloud based hosted solution of Concept Searching products to identify and track personally identifiable information (PII) breaches. The solution scans through both the Internet and intranet, compiles a report of PII erroneously present on unprotected portals, and gives the department the ability to take action on the potential data breaches. This solution is able to identify any organizationally defined confidential information as well as standard descriptors.


To migrate document collections effectively, the text content of each document needs to be searched to determine its value. This cannot be done manually, as the volume is too high, and the consistency of human review and decision making is unreliable, as well as costly. Using Concept Searching platforms, an intelligent approach to migration can be achieved. As content is migrated it is analyzed for organizationally defined descriptors and vocabularies, which will automatically classify the content to taxonomies, or optionally the SharePoint Term Store, and automatically apply organizationally defined workflows to process the content to the appropriate repository for review and disposition.

Case Study

Guiding the Public on Transportation
This UK based organization provides information on all forms of public transportation in London, including routes, maps, journey planners, and online tickets sales. It also provides guides on what to see and do, and real-time access to traffic conditions. It selected the conceptClassifier for SharePoint platform to add automatic classification and metadata generation to its document and record stores. Using file plans, or taxonomies, the ability to locate knowledge assets was significantly improved across its SharePoint environment. To keep the site continually up-to-date, it often needs to migrate and incorporate content from diverse repositories, internal, and external sites. They use conceptClassifier for SharePoint to assist in moving and migrating content.

FOIA and eDiscovery

There are two aspects of the FOIA that impacts the public sector. The first is to make appropriate information available to reduce the number of outstanding FOIA requests without publishing information that should remain classified.  The second is to provide agency staff with the ability to find the information to fulfill the FOIA request in the required time-frames. Fundamentally, information cannot be accessed or found because it is either mistagged or not tagged; the time gap between information requests and discovery is directly proportional to the volume of data, and the longer it takes to find information the more costly that information becomes. Additionally, users do not “tag” for transparency, despite the fact that every public sector agency has a “Data Transparency” directive or regulation: i.e. DoDD 8320: Data Sharing in a Net-Centric DoD. These same issues also apply to eDiscovery. The Concept Searching platforms expedite both FOIA and eDiscovery through elimination of end user tagging, generation of semantic metadata, and classification of that data for precise and relevant retrieval.

Case Study

FOI Compliance in the UK
This UK government backed commission is a non-departmental public body, established under the Equality Act 2006 as a corporate body. It has offices in Manchester, London, Glasgow, and Cardiff. Concept Searching was selected to provide the framework for the mandatory Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary (IPSV). conceptClassifier for SharePoint taxonomy management and automatic document classification, is being used to meet the Freedom of Information compliance requirements and as an aid to site navigation.

Social Networking Applications

The need to effectively communicate with and inform a wide range of audiences is a primary objective in public sector efficiency. The end result of social networking applications is providing self serve information, delivered based on individual search criteria. This requires the culling of information to meet the requirements of end users by delivery of content in the right context, as well as to the right people at the right time. The Concept Searching technologies provide improved outcomes by providing insight into content; can group similar users, concepts, and content together; and protect and secure confidential information from unauthorized participants. A significant benefit is the ability to provide the framework that enables access to relevant and accurate information at a granular level. The end result is consistent understanding of the value and context of information.

Case Study

UK Councils Improving Information Access to Citizens

Several UK public sector organizations have deployed Concept Searching platforms using the Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary (IPSV). The IPSV is a controlled vocabulary for use with subject metadata, and the UK mandates the use of at least one IPSV term for all UK public sector information resources. These are to be shared with citizens, businesses, or other public sector bodies. The Concept Searching technology platform is being used to automatically generate semantic and compound term metadata from public facing sites and classify them to the IPSV taxonomy. This powerful solution enables the retrieval of highly relevant information from web pages and documents. It also has the ability to search other government websites and integrate the search results, providing additional sources of information for website visitors, as well as promoting shared information between government entities.


Cloud computing offers a compelling ROI for the public sector. Due to economic instability, budgetary constraints, and the federal government expectation of using the cloud, many organizations are adopting cloud service models to reduce costs and capital expenditures. However, in any cloud scenario, the security, reliability, and accuracy of content assets must be maintained and managed as if it were on-premise. This is where the cloud sometimes falls short. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the public sector organization to ensure that all content, or data, is being handled according to entity guidelines.

Concept Searching’s technologies provide solutions for unstructured content management challenges across heterogeneous environments. The benefit is a comprehensive enterprise approach that protects, secures, and maximizes the value of knowledge assets regardless of where they reside. Any cloud solution is based not only on the organizational requirements but the capabilities of the cloud vendors. The adaptability of the Smart Content Framework™, product platforms, and intelligent metadata enabled solutions, provides an extensible feature set that can be used in any environment and any type of cloud configuration.

Case Study

Enhancing Search and Governance in Education
This leading tertiary education establishment in New Zealand deployed both conceptClassifier for SharePoint and conceptClassifier for Office 365 platforms. Known as a technology leader, it deployed the platforms to enhance transparency, perform classification driven intelligent integration, and the automation of governance policies, such as the identification of sensitive information and documents of record, both on-premise and in the cloud. The ability to feed the multi-term metadata to the search index and the ability to achieve concept based searching. In addition, the solution eliminated potential security exposures, unauthorized access, and portability issues.

Why Metadata Matters to You


The CIO or CTO in any industry faces both strategic and tactical challenges. In the public sector the responsibilities are broad and challenging. The strategic challenges must be carefully addressed with a focus on the impact at a tactical level. Budgetary constraints can change the priorities and force a ‘pick and choose’ philosophy to improve performance. One of the key differentiators in the Concept Searching platforms is the re-usability of the core technologies to solve multiple content management and business process challenges. This provides a cost benefit in terms of the elimination of separate solutions to address key application challenges, a reduction in staff to implement and maintain the applications, and transparent usability from the end user perspective. The flexibility of the intelligent metadata enabled solutions can address search, FOIA and eDiscovery, records management, eliminate data privacy and data breaches, provide intelligent migration, social media applications, text analytics capabilities, and over all content management. The ability to leverage the existing infrastructure to improve these challenges assists the CIO/CTO in addressing multiple issues. An additional key component in the Concept Searching platforms is the ability to deploy in an on-premise environment, cloud, or hybrid environment.

Information Technology Professionals

Regardless of whether you are a SharePoint Administrator, or the CTO, Concept Searching technologies make your management of metadata easy. Integrated natively with the SharePoint Term Store, Concept Searching platforms remove the manual processes of metadata management, eliminates end user adoption issues, and aligns IT with business objectives. Installed quickly and easily, you can start classifying content in a matter of hours. Without a taxonomy expert on staff, the interactive, powerful, yet easy-to-use taxonomy tools can be used by business or IT professionals. Organizations can build an enterprise metadata repository and provide the re-usable technology to improve any application that requires the use of metadata.

Records Managers

In records management eliminating end user tagging, automatic application of content types, and routing of the document of record to the records management application reduces organizational risk, and improves information lifecycle management. Concept Searching product platforms eliminate end user tagging, automates document workflow for storage, preservation, access, and usage controls, and automatically enforces protection of records integrity throughout the individual document lifecycle eliminating many of the fundamental obstacles faced by records professionals on a day-to-day basis.

Chief FOIA Officer and Supporting Professionals

The public sector is continually faced with eDiscovery and cointinual improvement of FOIA processing. Concept Searching platforms can be integrated with any eDiscovery application and is being used to improve FOIA. In both instances the ability to retrieve highly granular content pertinent to the task is available. Since information is retrieved by identifying concepts the legal professional or FOIA processor can eliminate complex queries and, through vocabulary normalization, ambiguities are eliminated and related content is identified even though the specific vocabulary wasn’t specified in the query.

Legal Professionals and Human Resources

Legal and HR play a prominent role in the public sector. HR must ensure that the organization protects the privacy of all staff and eliminates any exposure that increases the risk of potential litigation. The legal department is critical to resolving eDiscovery matters. The Concept Searching platforms can be integrated with any eDiscovery, litigation, or HR application, to retrieve highly granular content. Optionally, the platforms can be used as stand-alone applications for precise search. Since information is retrieved by identifying concepts the legal professional can eliminate complex queries and through vocabulary normalization, ambiguities are eliminated, and related content is identified even though the specific vocabulary wasn’t specified in the query. The HR professional can ensure that all content that contains data privacy information, or any information which must have the appropriate security designations is automatically identified during creation or ingestion and automatically routed to a secure repository for disposition. This process also removes the content from unauthorized accessed via the search process and prevents portability of the information, a key cause of data breaches.

Compliance Professionals

Compliance in the public sector is mandatory, and security, records, and compliance mandates are critical to the process of managing the compliance challenges associated with unstructured information. The drain on resources and time is enormous, making it difficult to stay on top of changing mandates in a timely fashion. The value of the Concept Searching platforms is the ability to rapidly develop information governance and compliance rules that can immediately identify any compliance violation at the time of content creation or ingestion. These violations can then be flagged and automatically routed to a repository for disposition. These function apply to security as well as records identification.

Security Professionals

Because of the reach of information dissemination in the public sector, security is a priority. Specifically, government organizations are highly vulnerable to internal and external data privacy exposures and breaches, where repercussions can be costly and damage the brand of the organization. The value of the Concept Searching platforms is the ability for the organization to define what is confidential information and should be protected, either internally or externally. Standard descriptors such as social security number identification are included in the base product and can addressPHI, PII, OPSEC, and any security rule the organization wants to deploy. The value achieved is that content containing the vocabulary or descriptors is automatically flagged at creation or ingestion and routed to a secure repository, made unavailable during the search process by unauthorized users, and protected against portability.

Safety and Operations Risk

The public sector must also address safety and operations risk. At the most critical level is the safety of personnel and the ability to proactively identify events that could result in harm, injury, or even death. Concept Searching has clients in the public sector that have deployed the products to address and track transportation and terrorism activities. Concept Searching platforms provide the ability to develop the business rules in a taxonomy that can automatically identify the descriptors and vocabulary that apply to safety and operations risk. The content can be automatically processed as a safety record, or to can highlight changes and high risk levels that pose safety violations unique to the organization.

Interactive Project Managers, Web Analytics Specialist

Social media as it applies to Gov 2.0, is still a rather ambiguous term. Technically defined it consists of interaction among people to create, share, or exchange information delivered via the Internet. From a business viewpoint this applies to external web sites and internal sites, to improve access to relevant content. For the public sector, making information available to citizens and businesses must result in providing the answers and offer guidance to their questions, at the same time delivered in an easy-to-find manner. From an internal approach, social media must also aid in Government to Government information access and improved communication, as well as internally within the organization itself. Internal end user participation is typically very low unless it brings individual value to increase personal productivity. Many social media applications are driven by end users, but to achieve quantifiable value, social media applications that have a framework to extend access to granular information are more likely to succeed from a return on investment standpoint. The Concept Searching platforms can provide this structured framework, by delivering highly relevant content that surpasses the typical social media application.

Knowledge Managers

Knowledge managers can deal with a variety of communication methods, including intranets, portals, extranets, and the Internet. Internally, effective knowledge capture and sharing can deliver benefits to the organization in applications such as project management, awareness of organizational knowledge, employee induction and training, expertise location, communities of interest, collective intelligence, and innovation management. Externally the delivery of information to different audiences removes the burden internally of supporting and serving these audiences. The Concept Searching technologies provide insight into content; grouping similar users, concepts, and content together; identifying people with expertise, and knowledge or interest in a topic. The ability to deploy ‘concept based searching’ integrated with any search engine improves information access and provides the relevant information on demand.

Business Analysts

Because of the granular, concept based search capabilities, access to highly relevant information from diverse repositories can be aggregated for analysis and used to improve decision making and reduce risk and costs. The application of the technology is unlimited, such as aggregating information for grants or deploying research portals, From a text analytics perspective, once the objectives of the project have been defined, the professionals can initially cleanse the content removing duplicates, content that could and should be deleted, and generally narrowing the content boundaries to make the data to be analyzed much smaller. During the analysis process, information from diverse repositories can be aggregated and concept based search ensures the information retrieved is relevant.