I thought I’d start the ball rolling with a discussion aboutmetadata and the important role that it plays in big “E” enterprise content management. I’ve had the pleasure of helping several organizations implement content management solutions of various stripes, and I’ve been right there with them as they experience both the joy and the pain of managing metadata.
My opening assertion: Metadata is absolutely critical to any Enterprise Content Management system. Metadata is how you file your content, how you find your content, it defines the processes that apply to your content, and it is how you ensure that your content is managed in a compliant way.
As large organizations embark on their content
management journey, I can virtually guarantee that metadata will be the point where the various parts of your organization begin to reveal how very different they are. The reality of an enterprise is that every stakeholder group has different needs, they all use content in different ways, and they all have some unique piece of information that they absolutely need to track or their business can’t be part of your content management endeavour. Here’s a scenario that is may be familiar to many people who have been down this path:
- Yay, we’ve selected our Enterprise Content Management vendor! Now all we have to do is set it up and our <insert business imperative here> problem will be solved!
- Our ECM committee has determined that these x pieces of information are what we need to track across the organization, let’s go validate with our stakeholders.
- Hmmm, looks like every department and functional group has slight additions. I’ll put that into a planning document. Wait a minute, I can’t roll out 57 mandatory pieces of metadata for every piece of content!
So you embark on a journey that might involve segmenting metadata into multiple document types, but then the list of document types start to bloat into something that is equally unusable, you get some executive intervention to decree a more limited set of metadata that is digestible by the company, and ultimately you decide to start with just one functional area and come back to the rest later.
This is of course all fictional, and I’m sure doesn’t actually happen in the real world.