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Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Organizational Change

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Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Organizational Change

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A global Fortune 500 company needed an experience marketing platform that would support any number of business units marketing any number of products to any number of customers across multiple channels with an unknown mix of static and dynamic content and complex personalization yet to be determined—because the company knew it was in transition, the platform would need to evolve without any new development. How do you design a sustainable information architecture when organization, labels, navigation, and metadata are guaranteed to change? Hear lessons from designing this and other flexible organizational systems, and learn approaches to use when architecting sustainable, complex, enterprise platforms.

A global Fortune 500 company needed an experience marketing platform that would support any number of business units marketing any number of products to any number of customers across multiple channels with an unknown mix of static and dynamic content and complex personalization yet to be determined—because the company knew it was in transition, the platform would need to evolve without any new development. How do you design a sustainable information architecture when organization, labels, navigation, and metadata are guaranteed to change? Hear lessons from designing this and other flexible organizational systems, and learn approaches to use when architecting sustainable, complex, enterprise platforms.

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Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Organizational Change

  1. 1. Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change • Lessons from designing flexible organizational systems • Approaches for architecting sustainable, complex, enterprise platforms. Austin Govella @austingovella www.agux.co Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Washington, DC
  2. 2. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Stay in touch @austingovella http://agux.co ag@agux.co
  3. 3. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017
  4. 4. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 E-Commerce Knowledge Management Employee Experience Cross-Channel Marketing Customer Portals Workflow Applications
  5. 5. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 The ask A global Fortune 500 company needed a platform. Support any number of business units marketing any number of products to any number of customers across multiple channels with an unknown mix of static and dynamic content and complex personalization yet to be determined. Because the company knew it was in transition, the platform would need to evolve without new development.
  6. 6. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 The context • Some business units deliver products. Others deliver services. • Some market to businesses owners, some to engineers, some to consumers, some in first world, some in developing world. • Some business units or markets are very mature, chasing slowly. Some are very young, changing quickly. • Some business units have personnel and budget to support websites and catalogs and metadata. Some don’t.
  7. 7. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 The needs • Supports simple or complex organizational needs • Maintains itself when there’s no one to maintain it • Easy to change organization, labels, metadata, and navigation • Easy to leverage organization, labels, metadata, and navigation
  8. 8. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Navigation is marketing, 
 not wayfinding. The taxonomy is less important than what the taxonomy will become.
  9. 9. Who cares. Death stalks us all.
  10. 10. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Properties of sustainable taxonomic systems 1. Make it easy for content authors to see the impact.
 Ask for the same metadata they see in the search filters or navigation. This lets them see value of using, as well as impact of changes. 2. Make it harder to change more controlled vocabularies.
 Force content authors to leverage existing categories. 3. Make it easy to change less controlled vocabularies. 
 Let content authors tag things with whatever they want. 4. Enable use of specialized dialects.
 Let groups use specific, siloed taxonomies that apply only to them. 5. Increase the spread of the most useful taxonomies.
 Enable global, shared vocabularies that any object or system can leverage.
  11. 11. Example 1. Make it easy for content authors to see the impact.
 Tags appear in search and browse structure. 2. Make it harder to change more controlled vocabularies.
 Business rules require some constants. 3. Make it easy to change less controlled vocabularies. 
 Add a new tag whenever you want. 4. Enable use of specialized dialects.
 Let groups use specific taxonomies that apply only to them. 5. Increase the spread of the most useful taxonomies.
 Enable global, shared vocabularies that any object or system can leverage. 3 2 5 4 1
  12. 12. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Organizations need a family kitchen, a place to cook, eat, pray, fight, and love.
  13. 13. How do taxonomies change?
  14. 14. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 People Change • Missing elders:
 When the people who know the words are no longer around to tell you. • Angry elders:
 When you don’t know what it is or why it’s important, so you don’t touch it for fear of messing something up.
  15. 15. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Use Changes • Expansion
 Over time, a term begins to refer to more and 
 more objects. • Fatigue
 Organization applies term to fewer and fewer items because of forgetting, difficulty, or fatigue. • Contraction
 Over time, a term begins to refer to fewer and 
 fewer objects.
  16. 16. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Meaning Changes • Drift
 Over time, meaning slowly changes, so term begins to refer to different objects. • Jumps
 Sudden event substantially changes meaning of 
 existing term. • Shifts
 Sudden event introduces new groups of terms.
  17. 17. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 Taxonomic thoughts Terms begin defined to refer to specific, definable, useful groups of items. Taxonomies imagine conversations with people who exist at other points in time: ghosts. The more terms are used, the more useful they are, until they’re not. As relevance between a term and a specific object increases, relevance between the term and all objects decreases. Taxonomies are how the organization talks about itself.
  18. 18. Do we want to make crepes?
  19. 19. “Architect Taxonomy Systems to Support Change” by Austin Govella • Taxonomy Bootcamp 2017 People use the taxonomies 
 to talk about the organization. As language, taxonomies allow or foreclose
 different kinds of conversations. Today’s taxonomy is the language you use to negotiate 
 how the organization will evolve.
  20. 20. How do we want to eat?
  21. 21. Bridge to the future

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