Managed Metadata Services, the term store, and term sets, are pretty basic for those few who are quite savvy with taxonomies. For those who aren’t, the whole process is somewhat unclear. In either case, for many, it is too manual, too onerous, and not worth the time. Our SharePoint and Office 365 Metadata Survey indicated most organizations just are not using the capabilities– it’s only a wish list item. Some survey respondents, didn’t even understand term store capabilities. Enter Office 365 and now OneDrive for Business. The unstructured content world keeps continuing to become more complicated, or out of control.
Most analysts believe that few organizations really manage their content, even just ‘sort of’. You can pay the piper now, or pay the piper later. The growth of unstructured content isn’t going to slow down. So how do you leverage your investment in SharePoint through the use of term sets, instead of adding layers upon layers of applications? Good question.
Step back and look at the bigger picture. Is a taxonomy valuable – overwhelmingly yes. Is auto-classification a bottleneck breaker – you bet. Is meaningful metadata generation, without end user generation the true crux of the problem – absolutely. What’s left? You need to fill in the gaps with a technology solution. Microsoft does not generate semantic metadata. Microsoft does not provide auto-classification capabilities, and the term store is a good start, but rudimentary at best as a taxonomy tool. On the other hand, I have always thought that if you can plug the holes and achieve native integration you are far better off in the long run. That narrows the playing field of potential solutions. Or, you can just wait for Microsoft to get up to speed.
Stepping back to the big picture, unstructured and semi-structured content needs to be managed. Its tentacles spread to ineffective search, security and data breaches, impaired records management, ineffective migration, social applications, collaboration, and you may as well just forget about text analytics.
The time has come for organizations to face unstructured content as a challenge that can stagnate, increase risk, and cause an organization to lose money. Organizations need to invest in understanding third party tools that are available, what are suitable, and gain a solid grasp of the terminology and functionality. If not, I’d say the Term Store in SharePoint was going to be a bust.