Taxonomy is a Sleeper. The reasons from A to ZZZs that taxonomy hasn’t been a part of your most important projects—but should be!

I’m a taxonomy practitioner at Fishbowl Solutions who has worked with many companies to implement simple to sophisticated document management systems. I’ve noticed over the years the large number of obstacles that have prevented companies from establishing taxonomy frameworks to support effective document management. I won’t review an exhaustive alphabetic list of obstacles, in fact, there are probably far more than 26, but I’ll highlight the top culprits that have turned even the best, most sophisticated companies away from taxonomy.  Don’t fall asleep.  Don’t hit snooze.  Make sure you don’t miss one of the most important parts of a document management software project–taxonomy. Taxonomy is a necessity to deliver effective document management solutions in Oracle WebCenter Content, SharePoint, or any other enterprise content management solution.  You’ll get the most out of the software and your users.

Authority. Who owns taxonomy? Does IT own the taxonomy or a Quality Management Department or all departments own a piece?   Determining decision-makers and authority to sign off on taxonomy frameworks can be difficult.  After all, taxonomies are best when they are enterprise-wide solutions.  Then, users have a familiar context when working with documents for all business purposes.  Don’t let challenges with authority prevent you from establishing taxonomy for your project.  Plan on establishing a governance team to own the taxonomy practice for the current project and in the future.

Bright. Shiny. Object. Taxonomy is not a bright shiny object.  It’s not as fancy as the user interface of the new software.  It doesn’t have the “bells and whistles” that hardware and devices have either.  So, too often document management projects end up focusing on the software and not the necessary taxonomy that makes that software a rock star.  Don’t be blinded.  If you want users to have a great experience, work with documents effectively, and generally adopt your new document management software, you must ensure you define a taxonomy.   Otherwise, your bright shiny object may easily be replaced by the next one as it loses appeal.

Complicated. I often hear from customers that a business taxonomy is complicated.  It can seem insurmountable to sift through existing taxonomy frameworks (or identify new ones), synthesize frameworks, identify new requirements, and really come up with something comprehensive.  Regardless, it’s necessary.  If a taxonomy effort is complicated, think of how complicated managing and searching documents is for your users. Help your users by including taxonomy in your next project to simplify their experience.  It’s the foundation for browsing, searching, contribution, workflows, interface design, and more.

Glamour. Unfortunately, taxonomy is not glamorous.  It’s hard, investigative work.  It entails identifying stakeholders; meeting with stakeholders to really understand documentation, process, and users; generating consensus; and documenting, documenting, documenting.  On top of that, it’s invisible.  Users often don’t even notice taxonomies, especially if they’re good.  But if a taxonomy is non-existent or poorly designed, your users will notice the taxonomy for all the wrong reasons—unintuitive naming, missing categories, illogical hierarchies, and more.  Even though taxonomy is not glamorous, it demands an investment to ensure your project is successful, at launch and thereafter.

Time. It’s common to hear in projects that there is just not enough time.  Customers may say “We need to complete X with the project by date Y.”  Or, “The management team really needs to see something.”  Frequently, the most important milestones for projects are software-related, causing taxonomy to lose focus.  The good thing about taxonomy is that projects can work concurrently on the software build out as they work on taxonomy frameworks.  You can do both and do them well.  Resist the urge to scope out taxonomy in your next project and consider creative ways to plan in taxonomy.

What? Yes, taxonomy has been around for a long time, but still often in projects I see that it’s just something that people are not aware of.  It’s existed for years in the biological and library sciences fields and has had application in IT and many other fields, but often it is just not understood for document management projects.  If you’re not familiar with taxonomy, see my previous blog post “Taxonomy isn’t just for frogs anymore.” and consider hiring a reputable company that can guide you through the practice for your next project.

ZZZs. It’s often perceived as a boring practice with tasks that are in the weeds, but some of us do love it.  Actually, we even find it rewarding to solve the puzzle of the perfect categorization that works for the project and the customer.  If you’re new to taxonomy, you may find that you like it too.  If not, find a resource for your project who has a passion for taxonomy because a good taxonomy is so important to successful document management projects.

smileyeyesIt’s time to have your eyes wide open. If you’re considering a document management software or improvement project, consider how important the underlying taxonomy is for your project and plan taxonomy analysis and development as a required effort.  Your users will appreciate it and your business will see increased software utilization.  Remember the old adage, “Technology cannot solve your business problems?”  It can’t.  But technology + taxonomy can.

 

 

This blog is one in a series discussing taxonomy topics.  Watch for the next blog coming soon.

 

Carrie McCollor is a Business Solutions Architect at Fishbowl Solutions. Fishbowl Solutions was founded in 1999. Their areas of expertise include Oracle WebCenter, PTC’s Product Development System (PDS), and enterprise search solutions using the Google Search Appliance. Check out our site to learn more about what we do.

 

Taxonomy isn’t just for frogs anymore. What taxonomy means in document management.

 

taxonomyfrogTaxonomy can be a nebulous term. It has existed for years, having probably its most common roots in the sciences, but has blossomed to apply its practices to a plethora of other fields.  The wide application of taxonomy shows how useful and effective it is, yet its meaning can be unclear due to its diversity.  We identify with taxonomy in library sciences with the Dewey Decimal System and we identify with taxonomy in the scientific use when we talk about animals (Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Chordata; Class: Amphibia; Clade: Salientia; Order: Anura (frog)).  These are familiar uses to us.  We learned of them early on in school.  We’ve seen them around for years—even if we didn’t identify them as taxonomies.  But what is taxonomy when we talk about subjects, like documents and data, that aren’t so tangible?  As a Business Solutions Architect at Fishbowl Solutions, I encounter this question quite a bit when working on Oracle WebCenter Content document management projects with customers.

The historical Greek term taxonomy means “arrangement law.”  Taxonomy is the practice in which things, in this case documents, are arranged and classified to provide order for users.  When it comes to documents, we give this order by identifying field names, field values, and business rules and requirements for tagging documents with these fields.  These fields then describe the document so that we can order the document, know more about it, and do more with it.

Here’s an example:lilypadtax

  • Document Type: Policy
  • Document Status: Active
  • Document Owner: Administrator
  • Lifecycle: Approved
  • Folder: HR
  • Sub-Folder: Employee Policies
  • And so on…

Defining taxonomy for documents provides a host of business and user benefits for document management, such as:

  • A classification and context for documents. It tells users how a document is classified and where it “fits in” with other documents. It gives the document a name and a place. When a document is named and placed, it enables easier searching and browsing for users to find documents, as well as an understanding of the relationship of one document to another. Users know where it will be and how to get it.
  • A simplified experience. When we have order, we reduce clutter and chaos. No more abandoned or lost documents. Everything has a place. This simplifies and improves the user experience and can reduce frustration as well. Another bonus: document management and cleanup is a simple effort. Documents out of order are easy to identify and can be put in place. Documents that are ordered can be easily retrieved, for instance for an archiving process, and managed.frogelement
  • An arrangement that makes sense for the business. Using taxonomy in a document management system like Oracle’s WebCenter Content allows a company to define its own arrangement for storing and managing documents that resonates with users. Implementing a taxonomy that is familiar to users will make the document management system exponentially more usable and easier to adopt. No more guessing or interpreting arrangement or terminology—users know what to expect, terms are common, they are in their element!
  • A scalable framework. Utilizing a defined and maintained taxonomy will allow users to adopt the common taxonomy as they use the document management system, but will also allow for business growth as new scope (documents, processes, capabilities, etc.) is added. Adding in a new department with new documents? Got it. Your scalable taxonomy can be reused or built upon. Using a comprehensive taxonomy that is scalable allows for an enterprise approach to document management where customizations and one-offs are minimized, allowing for a common experience for users across the business.
  • A fully-enabled document management system. Lastly, defining a taxonomy will allow for full utilization of your OracleWebCenter Content, or other, document management system.   Defining a taxonomy and integrating it with your document management system will enable building out:
    • logical folder structures,
    • effective browse and search capabilities,
    • detailed profiles and filters,
    • advanced security,
    • sophisticated user interfaces and more.

Clearly, a taxonomy is the solution to providing necessary order and classification to documents. It creates a common arrangement and vocabulary to empower your users, and your document management system, to work the best for you.  Now hop to it!

This blog is the first in a series discussing taxonomy topics.  Watch for the next blog entitled “Taxonomy is a Sleeper. The reasons from A to ZZZs that taxonomy hasn’t been a part of your most important projects—but should be!”

Carrie McCollor is a Business Solutions Architect at Fishbowl Solutions. Fishbowl Solutions was founded in 1999. Their areas of expertise include Oracle WebCenter, PTC’s Product Development System (PDS), and enterprise search solutions using the Google Search Appliance. Check out our site to learn more about what we do.

Fishbowl Hackathon 2016 Summary – Oracle WebCenter Innovations with Slack, Google Vision, and Email

This post comes from Fishbowl’s president, Tim Gruidl. One of Tim’s biggest passions is technology innovation, and not only does he encourage others to innovate, he participates and helps drive this where he can. Tim likes to say “we innovate to help customers dominate”. Tim summarizes Fishbowl’s Hackathon event, held last Friday and Saturday at Fishbowl Solutions, in the post below.

TimWhat an event! I want to start by thanking Andy Weaver and John Sim (Oracle ACE)! Without their passion, drive, leadership and innovation, this event would not be possible.

What a great event to learn, build the team, interact with others and compete. We also created some innovative solutions that I’m sure at some point will be options to help our customers innovate and extend their WebCenter investments. This year, we had 3 teams that designed and coded the following solutions:

  • InSight Image Processing – Greg Bollom and Kim Negaard

They leveraged the Google Vision API to enable the submission of images to Oracle WebCenter and then leveraged Google Vision to pull metadata back and populate fields within the system. They also added the ability to pull in GPS coordinates from photos (taken from cameras, etc.) and have that metadata and EXIF data populate WebCenter Content.

Fishbowl Product Manager, Kim Negaard, discusses the Google Vision API integration with WebCenter

Fishbowl Product Manager, Kim Negaard, discusses the Google Vision API integration with WebCenter.

  • Slack Integation with WebCenter Portal and Content – Andy Weaver, Dan Haugen, Jason Lamon and Jayme Smith

Team collaboration is a key driver for many of our portals, and Slack is one of the most popular collaboration tools. In fact, it is currently valued at $3.6 billion, and there seems to be a rapidly growing market for what they do. The team did some crazy innovation and integration to link Slack to both WebCenter Portal and WebCenter Content. I think the technical learning and sophistication of what they did was probably the most involved and required the most pre-work and effort at the event, and it was so cool to see it actually working.

Team Slack integration presentation.

Team Slack integration presentation.

  • Oracle WebCenter Email NotesJohn Sim (Oracle ACE) Lauren Beatty and me

Valuable corporate content is stored in email, and more value can be obtained from those emails if the content can be tagged and context added in a content management system – Oracle WebCenter. John and Lauren did an awesome job of taking a forwarded email, checking it into WebCenter Content to a workspace, and using related content to build relationships. You can then view the relationships in a graphical way for context. They also created a mobile app to allow you to tag the content on the go and release it for the value of the org.

That's me explaining the email integration with Oracle WebCenter Content.

That’s me explaining the email integration with Oracle WebCenter Content.

Participants voted on the competing solutions, and it ended up being a tie between the Google Insight team and the Email Notes team, but all the solutions truly showed some innovation, sophistication, and completeness of vision. A key aspect of the event for me was how it supported all of Fishbowl’s company values:

Customer First – the solutions we build were based on real-life scenarios our customers have discussed, so this will help us be a better partner for them.

Teamwork – the groups not only worked within their teams, but there was cross team collaboration – Andy Weaver helped John Sim solve an issue he was having, for example.

Intellectual Agility – this goes without saying.

Ambition – people worked late and on the weekend – to learn more, work with the team and have fun.

Continuous Learning – we learned a lot about Slack, cloud, email, etc.

Overall, the annual Hackathon is a unique event that differentiates Fishbowl on so many fronts. From the team building, to the innovation keeping us ahead of the technology curve, to all the learnings – Hackathons truly are a great example of what Fishbowl is all about.

Thanks to all that participated, and remember, let’s continue to innovate so our customers can dominate.

Tim

Hackathon weekend at Fishbowl Solutions – Google Vision, Slack, and Email Integrations with Oracle WebCenter

It’s hackathon weekend at Fishbowl Solutions. Fishbowl’s consulting and development teams – the hackers – along with members of the sales and marketing teams join forces to collaborate on and develop new software applications. While the overall goal of the hackathon may be to produce usable software, the event also is a great learning opportunity for participants and results in a lot of fun.

This is Fishbowl’s 4th annual hackathon and previous events have produced “beta” software that eventually evolved into shippable software components that benefited customers. Here are recaps on the 2012 and 2014 events.

This year there were over 16 different ideas, and out of those 3 teams were formed to develop the following:

  • Oracle WebCenter Portal and Slack integration – Slack is a popular collaboration tool for the enterprise that enables members to communicate across channels (specific topics), send direct messages, and drag and drop files for sharing. Integrating Slack with WebCenter Portal brings its popular features and ease of use directly in context of a user’s portal session, ensuring that collaboration is easy and reducing the amount of switching between applications to communicate with others – leaving the portal to send an email, for example.
IMG_1291

WebCenter Portal and Slack Integration Team – Andy Weaver and Dan Haugen

 

 

  • Oracle WebCenter Content and Google Vision integration – This integration would enable the tagging of images upon check-in. The Google Vision API enables applications to understand the content of images by encapsulating machine learning models in an easy to use REST API. Using this technology, images are auto-classified into thousands of categories (e.g., “sailboat”, “lion”, “Eiffel Tower”). For example, you might check in a picture of a knit hat and it would be tagged with xKeywords of “hat”, “knit hat”, and “fashion accessories” without any human tagging. To further automate image discovery, the GSA can be used to map related terms so that searches for “beanie”, “stocking cap”, or “winter hat”, could also return the image. This tagging automation would have great implications for Oracle WebCenter customers that are using it for Digital Asset Management.
IMG_1289

WebCenter Content and Google Vision Integration Team – Kim Negaard and Greg Bollom

 

  • Oracle WebCenter Content Email Check in - This integration would enable emails with attachments to be checked in to WebCenter Content automatically. Instead of the user having to check in the email itself, and then relating each attachment to the associated email, which results in additional check in steps, the emails and attachments would be parsed out and sent to a user workspaces in WebCenter. From there, users can tag and validate that the email should be checked in with the appropriate attachments – either from their desktops or mobile device.
WebCenter Content and Email Checkin Team Member - John Sim (fueling his hacking mind)

WebCenter Content and Email Checkin Team Member – John Sim (fueling his hacking mind)

The hacking commenced at 3 PM today and will continue until 4 PM on Saturday, April 16th. Each team will then present their developed integration/component, and the other Fishbowl team members will vote on their favorite finished product. Check back on this blog next week to see who won.

Happy hacking!

IMG_1287

Fishbowl Solutions Hackathon 2016 T-shirt

 

 

A Designer’s Introduction to Oracle JET

I’m thrilled to be presenting at Collaborate 2016 with my colleague John Sim, on the recently open-sourced Oracle JET! We front-end developers had been seeking a better UI/UX solution from Oracle for quite some time, and they have delivered in a big way.

graphs

Oracle JavaScript Extension Toolkit (JET) is a powerful and intuitive framework that provides a modular toolkit for front-end developers. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, Oracle JET integrates tried and tested open-source frameworks and libraries like jQuery, KnockoutJS, and RequireJS with JET-specific pre-built UI components. Oracle JET is a flexible client-side framework that can integrate with a variety of back-end services. The combination makes for speedy assembly of client-side applications that integrate with Oracle products and services, especially Oracle Cloud services.

libraries

While Java may be the leading language in the industry, JavaScript has quickly gained popularity, especially for developing client-side user interactions. JET was initially built for Oracle in-house use, but Oracle customers and partners continued to ask for JavaScript-based UI development that could interact with existing Oracle platforms. JET provides the capabilities and flexibility of JS UI development, while complying with Oracle standards (internationalization and accessibility, for example) for product delivery.

Part of the beauty of JET, is in its modularity. It allows developers to use as much or as little as they need for a particular project. In addition, different libraries can be incorporated. As JS libraries evolve, and new frameworks are developed, the idea is that they can be incorporated, as well. Oracle JET’s flexibility ensures that it can change with the JS development world.

Our session is targeted at front-end developers looking to leverage their Javascript, CSS3, and HTML5 front- end design skills to create modular single page applications with JET. We’ll include an overview of the JET framework, and discuss the features and benefits along with a quick comparison with ADF (Application Development Framework). We will walk through and explain JET’s integrated open source libraries and frameworks, and then take developers through the creation of a simple JET application using Oracle DoCS REST API.

Please join us at 10:30AM on April 11 in Jasmine D for a dive into this flexible, open-source(!) and exciting new JS framework, and please come see all of the Fishbowl Solutions gang at Booth #1028!