Written by Claudia Mamros, Founder & CEO, iCinfo

What is taxonomy? Is it the right solution for you?

Professionals spend up to 50% of their time just looking for information. That’s about $25,000 of productive time lost per year per worker. Even worse, the cost of misplaced or misused information could be loss of reputation and the very survival of the business.

As a company’s volume of information grows, its ability to organize, control and access it diminishes, as will the company’s overall effectiveness and productivity.

Taxonomy as a foundation for new tech

Taxonomy is a structured information classification scheme use to order and arrange information. By looking at a company’s taxonomy, a new user should be able to grasp the structure of the information and be able to find things.

There is a sense of urgency to invest to modernize a business by using information management technologies like enterprise resource planning (ERP), project management, document management, and other systems. Software companies are motivated to sell licences. Consultants are motivated to implement software in short cycles. And trainers are more than happy to provide training.

Yet looking for documents continues to be like looking for a needle in haystack for many.

Issues that can be handled effectively by implementing a taxonomy include the need to control, find and manage:

  • hundreds and thousands of parts;
  • multiple versions of customer records like quotes and orders;
  • information across incompatible systems: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Excel spreadsheets, email, servers;
  • networks and digital storage space;
  • emails, and
  • hard copy files, just to name a few/

It is stressful (and risky) to be looking for the right information such as a customer quote while a (manager) is away on vacation and the customer is waiting on the phone.

Taxonomy is a little-known document control solution which requires far less investment with quicker realization of benefits because it is hosted in your current information architecture.

The low-tech technique of taxonomies supports compliance in areas such as:  health and safety, Canada Revenue Agency, quality management certifications, privacy, security, regulatory, and other business needs. It can be a very effective lower-cost alternative. Taxonomy (structure) is like classification systems used in the life sciences field and the library community. Taxonomy is a process not a product.

Regardless of simplicity or complexity, what a lot of business leaders don’t know is where to start and how to navigate the transformation of any of these solutions.

Benefits of Taxonomies

  • Reduction in file server space, up to 30%;
  • Reduced backup time;
  • Reduced IT maintenance effort, e.g., network access is easier to manage;
  • Reduced staff training and orientation;
  • Reduced search time;
  • Reduced risk, in the event of legal, regulatory discovery and compliance;
  • Enhanced privacy and security.