Introducing a Document Management System (DMS) to a corporation – not a law firm – brings a new level of challenge to the business analysis. In a corporation, there might not be a pre-defined taxonomy to organize everyone’s information.
A law firm almost always has an existing process to bill for services grouped by client, then by project, matter, or file. This parent-child relationship between client and matter provides a common structure for organizing the DMS.
In contrast, a corporation may not have business reasons to structure work that way. The temptation may be to copy existing network folder structures, even if they do not resemble a parent-child structure. The legacy folder structures may organize content by year, or by user, or by topic, and be many layers deep.
Why change how information is organized when moving to a new DMS?
- Better classification and organization can increase productivity.
- Understandable categories are more memorable and help with search effectiveness
- Overly-complex folder structures can slow software performance.
Invest now or pay later
…there is hard data available online showing that improved taxonomies and classification have greatly enhanced research and productivity efforts. The real discussion should happen around the opportunity cost: would you rather spend 2 to 4 weeks of planning now (and the associated resource costs) or have to do a large portion of that planning later PLUS the time it takes to implement changes to your information architecture, roll out new content types, and map expanded term sets to hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of documents? There’s only so much you can automate — this is a very manual process, which is why it makes sense to do as much of it up front as possible.