In our annual surveys, we’ve watched the use of Managed Metadata Services and use of the Term Store grown incrementally and slowly. This years’ survey showed the biggest jump, primarily focusing on managing content lifecycle management.
But the Term Store has not proven to be a robust solution for managing content. Rudimentary at best, time consuming, prone to human error, typically not up-to-date, and all in all a pain in the you know what. Microsoft does not provide adequate tools to manage SharePoint term sets, making it difficult for taxonomies developed on a test server to then be migrated to the production farm. The difficulty increases when existing taxonomies need updating, because Microsoft does not provide the ability to update term sets incrementally. A taxonomy can be imported but, because it is a fresh structure, a term set cannot.
As a vendor, who happens to write blogs, I try to stay away from promoting our products. In this case, I am making a concession. Although we don’t typically develop utilities or tools, with the increasing use of SharePoint farms and SharePoint Online, it was apparent that Term Store users needed the ability to consistently apply the same metadata structures to content across environments and firewall boundaries. The just announced utility, conceptTermStoreManager tackles and solves the problem of managing term sets.
conceptTermStoreManager provides native integration with the SharePoint Term Store and the Managed Metadata Service application, where changes in the Term Store can easily be synchronized between SharePoint farms. This functionality enables clients to find relevant information, delivers metadata consistency across the organization, and provides the basis for content lifecycle management. An additional benefit is the ability for users to test, validate, and approve term set revisions and then, using the conceptTermStoreManager utility, migrate those changes to other farms, including Office 365.