Information Design & Governance


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When converting petabytes of content to the latest CMS or content management system, a new information management system (CMS) should be a priority for any company wishing to improve its business processes. You know how rapidly data visualization volume increases in the digital age. So there is increased urgency to handle our content and information but also to manage it.

Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design

To accomplish your goals, content, and information must be managed in a manner that not only ensures the new system scales with your business but also provides an architecture that is flexible enough to support future growth. It must scale to meet today's requirements and be extensible for unpredictable growth in the future.

A holistic approach to CMS implementation, digital governance audits, and infrastructure reviews can help you address these challenges.

Do you want to build a world-class IA?

If we want to build a world-class IA, we must design it with governance principles in mind from the start. There is a huge difference between ECM and good or even great governance. You cannot apply good governance if your company does not even know how it manages content and information. If we don’t get this right from the beginning, then our chances of success are slim at best. We need to make sure that all stakeholders understand what they should expect before going live with an ECM solution. This means getting everyone on board early on in the process so that there are no surprises once go-live happens. It also means making sure that everyone understands their role within the organization and how their actions can affect other areas of business operations as well as IT infrastructure.

Geolance provides Governance Consulting Services for companies looking to improve their Information Architecture (IA) by applying proven industry best practices when designing, implementing, deploying, and maintaining enterprise content management systems (ECMS). Our services include consulting engagements focused on helping organizations develop effective strategies for managing unstructured data across multiple repositories while ensuring compliance with internal policies/standards/regulations around document retention & eDiscovery requirements; developing custom metadata taxonomies; creating detailed site maps; defining user roles & permissions; establishing workflows & approvals processes; auditing existing repositories against defined policies/standards.

The Most Important Aspect of Information Architecture: A Taxonomy

Among other things, a taxonomy helps you figure out what needs to go where so there is less chance of publishing duplicate content and standardizing metadata fields — which makes for more efficient searches. If it's well-designed, taxonomies also support tagging or folksonomy (user-level tagging).

In addition, taxonomy creation is a critical step in the information architecture graphic design process. It's not just about organizing information; it also provides the "glue" that ties together all of your digital projects and initiatives.

The Key Elements of Taxonomy Creation: Semantics & Vocabulary

While you can accomplish some things with an out-of-the-box or custom-controlled vocabulary, if you want to take advantage of advanced search capabilities on top enterprise content repositories (ECR) like SharePoint, I recommend establishing a strong semantic foundation for your taxonomies. A solid semantics layer will allow you to index more precisely and intelligently connect related concepts across different types of content on different platforms. When it comes to taxonomies, semantics is everything.

Building a Taxonomy Without Semantics is Like Building a House on Sand

With the proliferation of enterprise content management systems (ECM), there's also increased demand for intelligent search capabilities. While it's possible to create taxonomies that leverage folksonomy tagging for advanced search capabilities, folksonomy tagging comes with some challenges.

Organizing information without semantic metadata often results in "shallow" classification. A shallow taxonomy creates problems with recall and precision as well as the overall relevancy of your content in the user experience.

More specifically, when you have related concepts or entities but they don't link via semantics, you have an incomplete taxonomy — one that lacks what I call "connective tissue." With a truly robust taxonomy, there are semantic links that tie related concepts together. This means your users will be more likely to find the content they're looking for, which will improve productivity and help facilitate better decision-making.

A Taxonomy Without Vocabulary is Like Building a House on Air

To satisfy the requirements of enterprise search systems, you need more than just semantics. You need vocabulary too! When it comes to building taxonomies, creating lists of terms is essential. These are called "controlled vocabularies," and while technically not considered taxonomies (they don't have nodes), they function in much the same way.

Digital Information Design (DID) & Information Governance (IG) Are Now Digital Information Management (DIM) Requirements

Information design and information governance are no longer optional, nor is digital information management. Organizations need to implement systems that make it easy for their employees to find, repurpose, republish, or reuse the content in ways that support the business while also complying with regulations like GDPR.

Where Intelligent Content & Search Meet: Enterprise Information Architecture

Information architecture can help provide organizations with comprehensive taxonomies that extend throughout all required repositories — including web properties like SharePoint Online, marketing automation platforms like Marketo and Pardot, sales tools like Salesforce CRM and LinkedIn Business Solutions, customer service systems such as Zendesk and Freshdesk , and of course your ECRs.

What You Can Do Right Now to Make Your Taxonomies More Intelligent

Organizations today need a way to manage taxonomies and ensure they're easy to use by business subject matter experts, content contributors, and knowledge workers across the enterprise. In addition, these taxonomies must be easily searchable for future re-use across multiple platforms. That's why I recommend building intelligent information architectures that live in the cloud on top of your existing ECR system. An intelligent information architecture (IIA) is a digital taxonomy and controlled vocabulary managed in a centralized repository like Amazon DynamoDB, Elasticsearch, or any NoSQL database solution. These IIAs support all of the following:

• Internal search & user experience

• Collaborative metadata management to support multiple business lines and roles

• Connective tissue that supports semantic relationships between your taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, and folksonomies to ensure the deep connections needed for recall, precision, relevancy, and searchability

Organizations need intelligent content. They also need intelligent information architectures that are easy to use by subject matter experts cross-functionally while still being searchable across all repositories. This means you need a digital taxonomy!

IA and Advanced Technologies

The information world is not so far from the early days of computer user interface design. Even within a single organization, each department might have its way to create and manage content with different taxonomies. This can be very confusing for electronic content consumers or knowledge employees (i.e., knowledge workers). There is an obvious need for standardization, which leads us into the world of Information Architecture (IA) like Enterprise Content Management (ECM). IA has been part of ECM deployments for many years.

Information Governance by Design

You may hear governance mentioned as something that comes after your company gets organized with an ECM deployment. Why? Simply because you cannot apply good governance if your company does not even know how it manages content and information. There is a huge difference between ECM and good or even great governance. If we want to build a world-class IA, we must design it with governance principles in mind from the start.

Why IA?

Information Architecture (IA) builds on your internal taxonomies and provides an umbrella structure for all of them. This makes it easier for knowledge workers to find what they need when they need it. It brings even more value as those taxonomies may differ widely across different departments within the same company that now share content under a single information architecture without having to understand the underlying rules of each "silo." That's why IA has a prominent role in Digital Governance by Design.

Get it done right from the start

Companies that have already had a few ECM deployments know how important it is to make sure they get it right. When you implement IA as part of the initial design, not only will it help with your first deployment but also all future ones, making sure your information assets and knowledge flow smoothly and efficiently across the organization.

What is information architecture?

Information Architecture (IA) is the art and science of organizing and labeling digital information so that it can easily be found, understood, shared, and used by people.

The primary goal of IA is to connect all key content in your organization so knowledge workers can find what they need when they need it. If you fail to bring order to chaos within your organization you'll always have a hard time being successful.

Organizing website architecture

Trees vs Graphs: A Primer on Information Architecture

We at Annex Cloud believe this is vital to designing a governing system for corporate intranets or extranets as well as an effective environment for cloud-based collaboration systems such as SharePoint 2013 / Office 365 Intranet sites.

IA vs Search: What's the Difference?

People need a way to find content in a system. If you have a great piece of information but nobody can find it, then guess what, it might as well not exist at all!

This is where search engines come into play and provide that ability to help people scour through your repository for bits of relevant complex data. They are good at doing this kind of thing when the user is looking for specific information such as an article on "how to tie a slipknot." In these situations, IA would be considering too many factors so we rely on simple filtering methods provided by search engines like Bing or Google.

The problem with using search alone is that it can't provide an overarching structure to your content. If you want the best of both worlds, we advise organizations to use search and IA together in their deployment process.

How to Get Started with IA?

The first step in implementing Enterprise Content Management is to understand what content you have and how it's used. To do this, you should start by identifying key business processes or workflows that your users go through daily.

Then map those back to the information created as a result of those tasks. The goal here is to establish a connection between the raw data and the knowledge worker who needs it.

Step 1: Develop an Information Architecture Strategy

When we build our roadmaps for IA, we take into account both your users and processes that may affect data organization going forward, as well as business intelligence requirements for reporting purposes.

We will review existing documentation such as site maps if they exist so you can get a better understanding of the scope of the current IA in place in your organization. We also conduct interviews with key stakeholders to understand their role within the organization, how they use the information and why certain information is important to them

We analyze the content types that currently exist in your system and where they are located to best determine a labeling schema for classifying data moving forward. In addition, we look at what metadata should be associated with each type of content (metadata is "data about data" such as author, publication date, purpose) so you can find it when you need it.

Step 2: Design Information Architecture Architecture

After research has been completed our design team will start working on on-screen mockups that reflect the architecture we've chosen along with standards like logos, colors, fonts, navigation items, and other visual elements that will be used to populate the IA.

Step 3: Develop an Implementation Roadmap

Once the design team has completed the IA mockups the next step is to create an implementation roadmap for deployment. Our goal here is not only to build out new functionality around IA but also to tie it in with your existing systems so you can roll out updates when it's ready or have pre-built connectors available when necessary at launch time.

Our team works closely with key stakeholders throughout this process ensuring each phase of development aligns with business objectives while keeping their needs in mind. The result is a final product that respects all customer needs while providing flexibility for future growth resulting in high ROI for our clients.

The Portal Solution's Approach to IA

We provide a customizable approach that is not only effective but also efficient at the same time. Our team of strategists and designers takes into account your existing structure as well as the future vision for your organization so you can achieve maximum results from our work. We use some of the best tools available on the market today which allows us to reach information management goals quickly and cost-effectively, ensuring your return on investment is realized as soon as possible.


If you would like to propose a training course based on The Portal Solution's products and services please also use the form below. Please note that only courses touching on any one of our core offerings (Information Architecture, Search Engine Optimization & Development Services) will be considered for development. If you have another idea not encompassed by this description don't hesitate to send it along anyway; we always consider suggestions!

Digital Information Design Foundation Certificate Program

This course is designed to give students a comprehensive overview of information design, focussing on how to use the web to best communicate with your online audience. Students will learn about designing user experiences including classification schema, search engine optimization, site map construction, and other techniques used in the world of digital information literacy. Presenting information in your own conclusions and design thinking can be improved with the help of educational resources. Displaying information effectively is closely related to human centered design. Do not choose most sophisticated forms and complex information, try simplifying data instead to make it easier for information designers.

Website Design & Development Certificate - Level 1

This course offers intensive training experience in web development for individuals who have limited or no experience with HTML/CSS/JS that covers introductory programming concepts which are then applied to complete projects throughout the course. Please note that this program has been designed with minimal technical requirements in mind so anyone with access to a stable internet connection and text editor should be able to participate.

Website Design & Development Certificate - Level 2

This course follows from the introductory training offered in our entry-level program and covers advanced web development topics including responsive design, multilayer CSS, unit testing, and more. In addition to programming theory, this course will focus on building dynamic database-driven sites using PHP (including MySQL) as well as handling authentication with OAuth2.0. Please note that this course does require participants to know HTML/CSS/JS before enrollment; if you need help please contact us first!

AJAX Web Application Developer Certification

Our most intensive program is designed for developers who are looking to develop client-facing skills including architectural design knowledge, basic Information Architecture (IA), debugging, modularization, multi-threading, and more. This course is designed to be completed with participants taking on a significant role in the development of one or more applications throughout the program. Please note that participants should have 5+ years of experience with at least one object-oriented programming language before enrolling in this course.

The Professional Digital Information Developer

This certification builds upon our entry-level course and covers advanced topics such as Enterprise Architecture planning and design including Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Network Topology models; semantic data modeling covering tools such as RDF/OWL; creating reusable ontologies using OWL2EL++; multimedia search concepts for audio, video, image and text retrieval; real-time multimedia delivery using WebRTC, and more.

The Professional Digital Information Developer Certificate

This course is designed to be our entry-level program for those who have little or no experience with the web development industry but are looking to learn the basics of client-facing website development in a formal classroom environment. This course covers introductory programming concepts which are then applied to complete projects throughout the course. Please note that this program has been designed with minimal technical requirements in mind so anyone with access to a stable internet connection and text editor should be able to participate.

Web Information Specialist Certification

This course covers both introductory and advanced concepts for students who are looking to learn how best to communicate with audiences online. Topics covered include search engine optimization, social media management, web analytics, semantic web technologies, digital preservation techniques, technical evaluation of content quality, open data policies, and more.

Career Paths in Digital Information Design & Governance

After completing any one of our certifications you will have the opportunity to take advantage of an information-packed alumni networking event where you can meet with representatives from top companies looking for employees with your skillset! Previous graduates have found employment as a website developer at a start-up firm that specializes in semantic search tools; that creates training videos for Fortune 500 clients; an international information technology consulting firm that specializes in archiving & data management; an open data consulting company assisting municipalities with creating open data policies; and more.

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