Metadata and Tunnel Vision
I am continually surprised at how many organizations know so little about the importance of metadata, and the tunnel vision that accompanies the subject. Based on Concept Searching’s historical reference, surveys, and industry knowledge, most organizations are only at the beginning of the metadata maturity model. Frequently individuals, both business and IT, do not understand metadata, or the impact both positive and negative can have on business processes and any application that requires the use of metadata.
The ability to capture concept based metadata and retrieve relevant search results from within an organization from diverse repositories is the real currency of interoperability. Providing syntactic as well as automatically generated metadata enables the meaning of content to be represented and shared in an unambiguous and transparent manner.
Most organizations still use some form of manual tagging, either as an end user free for all, or end users select from a drop down list (where they will invariably select the first listing the majority of the time). Based on the results of our 2015 Annual SharePoint and Office 365 Survey, some organizations have ventured into using the metadata to improve search and content management. What they haven’t realized, is despite all their best efforts to achieve improvements in search and ECM, the quality of the metadata is typically inaccurate, subjective, or non-existent, rendering it only marginally useful, if at all.
The implications of inaccurate and subjective metadata strays far beyond search, impacting records management, eDiscovery, migration, data security, collaboration, and the list goes on. Organizations need to make an effort to understand the monetary and business benefits of metadata utilization. In other words, walk out of the tunnel. It’s a brand new world.