Microsoft SharePoint Document Auto-Classification

November 1, 2012   //   SharePoint, , , ,

One of the great things about Microsoft SharePoint is that it enhances your ability to quickly and easily find documents. It can free you from the confines of the folder structure and provide a variety of ways to locate important information quickly and have a measurable impact on your organization’s productivity. But, how can you turn all that potential value from a fantasy into a reality? That’s a difficult question!

Recent research continues to support the notion that people spend more time than you’d think looking for information. When they do find what they’re looking for, it’s often not as useful, relevant or correct as it could be. I’ve seen various surveys and studies suggest that people spend anywhere from 3.5 hours per week to 10 hours or more searching for information. I’m personally somewhat skeptical of those higher numbers, but even if it’s only 10% of people’s time, it’s hard to argue that there is room for significant improvement.

So, how can SharePoint improve the experience and the results when workers go looking for information? There are two major ways, aside from the traditional ‘folder navigation’ approach: document classification and search. Search is fairly straightforward, at least in theory. It indexes the content (as well as properties) of documents and files, enables users to query for words or phrases, and returns a list of matching results, sorted by relevance. This can work well in some cases, but often requires some fine tuning and tweaking before it will return relevant hits for various search scenarios.

Document classification holds much promise. It allows very flexible tagging of content with properties or attributes (often called metadata) that can describe the origins, purpose and content of the documents in the repository. It can enable very fast and flexible browsing and navigating of documents, and can also be leveraged to improve search quality as well. The main challenge is that document classification requires a lot of effort, both to define an appropriate classification system for the business, and to actually assign or apply the correct classification data to each file in the repository.

What if you could have a robust, complete, pre-defined classification system for all of your content? What if you could customize and fine tune it for your particular business needs? What if it could automatically be applied to all of your documents, without the need for people to manually tag the files with metadata? You could potentially have the best of both worlds – easy and robust ‘content find-ability’, without investing a lot of effort to get it working.

That is exactly what the DataFacet solution from WAND provides. DataFacet’s library of taxonomies can be installed in Sharepoint 2010’s term store and the DataFacet taxonomy manager and auto-classification tools can be integrated so that a document added to SharePoint will be automatically tagged with the appropriate metadata from the taxonomies. Users can then browse content by navigating the taxonomy (or even multiple taxonomies) and search will be seamlessly improved as well.

Some of DataFacet’s benefits for Sharepoint 2010 include:

  • Access to a library of over 250 professionally built taxonomy domains
  • Automatic tagging of documents as soon as they are checked in to SharePoint
  • Intuitive taxonomy management capabilities to customize the taxonomy for your company
  • Ensures your users can find the information they need, when they need it

If you are interested in learning more about SWC’s Microsoft SharePoint services, please join us for our next informative Chicago area SharePoint event or follow Jeff Lanham on LinkedIn.

If you liked this post about Microsoft SharePoint, take a moment and read some of Jeff Lanham’s other informative SharePoint pieces:

Microsoft SharePoint Governance Areas

The Evolution of Microsoft SharePoint

How Will Microsoft SharePoint Bring Value To My Business?

A Quick Introduction To Microsoft SharePoint Portal Solutions