Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Organized Auditor: Document Tagging

Tabbles = Tagging Data
Here's an interesting concept. Tagging has been around for quite some time. There are tagged file systems for Linux, and tags for everything in social media. I started looking at ways to tag my data sets to solve - or help solve - the efficiency problem. I want to use my time thinking and processing with data. I'm a knowledge worker, and my effectiveness is tempered by how quickly I can find information. I depend on my formal and informal relationships every day because I have multiple avenues for getting answers. Tagging data provides another avenue for finding information I've already taken the time to collect. I clearly see the problem. So did a cool little company calling themselves Yellow blue soft that put up a website at Their about page says it all. "We are a small, dynamic and international team who is wondering why file-management is lagging 30 years behind and no one seems to care or even notice. We do."

Messy Data.
How do you organize your documents? Organizational Behavior was the best class I've ever taken. I had no idea how often I would refer to the simple precepts we learned to understand how data and people naturally organize themselves. One interesting aspect of this organizational problem (i.e. information organically organizing itself) is that the relational complexity of the data set exponentially grows from their interconnected geometric relationships. 

Enterprise Content Management. 
You've created and enforce the best folder hierarchies on your hard drive... and transferred them to a file share for others to also use. It makes perfect sense to you, but for some reason others feel the need to change it. Over time, it becomes unwieldy and difficult to navigate. Entering stage left, Enterprise Content Management (ECM). That's great for the enterprise. What about your personal data? Is there a way to help identify and tag relationships between data sets?

Unstructured vs. Semi-Structured vs. Structured Data.
Call it what you want. There's a wealth of information about this online. Here's a simple example of the business problem. Consider your repository of [1] compliance information organized by authorities [2] vendor information organized by company, [3] customer information organized by the internal or external customers, [4] projects organized by your internal or external projects, and [5] technology information organized by subject. This is an example of the unstructured data problem. Tagging documents facilitates reviewing content I've tagged as containing specific information regardless of where it sits in my folder structure. It's a question of efficiency. It's not that you can't manage what you have. You've hacked through it for years. The question to consider is whether you can do it more efficiently.