All posts tagged information architecture

SharePoint 2016 Office 365 Search in Practice workshop New York City, NY

SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Search in Practice – Workshop in New York City, May 2017

The next stop of Search Explained Roadshow 2017 is New York City, NY with the workshop: SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Search in Practice.

Date: May 15-16, 2017
Venue: Avanade Innovation Center, 155 Avenue of the Americas, 6th floor, New York, NY

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Agnes Molnar - Search Workshop

Workshop FAQ: Why Two Days?

The most common question I get about my upcoming workshop, SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Search in Practice, is why I’ve decided to choose a two-day format.

I know it could be one day. Also, it could be three days, or even up to five.

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How to embed SharePoint columns into document templates

Besides the missing document information panel, another common question about document properties is how to embed properties which come from a SharePoint column to a document template. This can easily be solved by using content types and site columns. Follow these steps:

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[Search Terminology] Search, Find, Discover

Welcome to the Search Terminology series! In this series, I’m going to explained the most important words and expressions related to Search and Information Findability.

Let’s start with three basic expressions: Search, Find and Discover.

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Four Dimensions of Enterprise Search Success – Read my latest article on CMSWire.

Four Dimensions of Search Success: Business, Applications, Data, Technology

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Information Overload - Working late in office

What does Information Overload Mean to YOUR Organization?

One of the biggest challenges organizations have to face these days is information overload. We get more and more information each day, and we also produce more and more. We not only have to store this huge volume but also need to read and process: we have to understand, analyze, and work with the information. Read more…

Time Travel Mystery to Singapore by Emirates

Unexpected User Context – Really?!

Last week, I traveled to Singapore for the annual Innovations in Knowledge Organisation conference. I flew there by Emirates – an easy trip via Dubai.

While in Singapore, I made a decision to stay a day longer and leave on Saturday instead of Friday night.

I supposed nothing could be easier than this: I logged in to Emirates portal, found my flights, chose “Manage Booking”, selected the desired new date, selected the flight, entered my credit card information, and then…

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Search is like gardening.

Search Quality Management – Part I: Governing Your Search Garden

While planning and implementing Search, keep in mind that it should be governed and managed, even long after implementation is complete. We usually say that Search itself never can be “done.” Consider it like gardening. You set up your garden, plant the trees and flowers, water them, and enjoy a beautiful first blossoming. However, the work has not ended at all. If you do not water it regularly, if you do not prune the trees, fertilize and weed the garden, or mow the lawn, your lovely garden can rapidly turn into a barren field or a chaotic jungle.

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Pope Francis Thumbs Up - Source:

Pope Francis and Information Overload

Regardless of being religious or not, being Catholic or not, Pope Francis is definitely a great influencer of these days. While he definitely doesn’t talk about the topics of Information Management or Enterprise Search in the way we do on this blog, while reading his World Day of Peace 2016 message, something caught my eyes. Read more…

Enterprise Search: Content - Users - Context

The Five C’s of Enterprise Search

By definition, Enterprise Search is a business solution that is owned and controlled by your organization, and connects people to the information they need to get their jobs done.

Enterprise Search is owned and controlled by your organization. – But the challenges vary from organization to organization. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for Enterprise Search. Instead, each company has its own culture, content, challenges, capabilities and confines. Read more…

Delve Days of December: Free Expert Webinars for Delve & Office Graph

Delve and Office Graph are appearing in Office 365 tenancies around the globe. These truly innovative technologies combine search, big data, and enterprise social networking to change the story about how users find and discover information and each other. And, in 2015, the power of Delve and Office Graph will extend into hybrid, on-premises environments as well!

IT Unity is stepping up to help the SharePoint & Office 365 communities succeed with Delve & Office Graph. We’re providing a series of FREE WEBINARS designed to give you everything you need to understand, plan for, implement, and develop for two of the most potentially revolutionary services Microsoft has released: Read more…

SPC14 Recap

This year’s SharePoint Conference (held in Las Vegas, NV) was again a major success! I had the privilege of speaking on two sessions.

The first one was “Designing and Applying Information Architecture for SharePoint and Office 365”, together with Israel Vega. In this session, we have broken down the various components of SharePoint and Office 365 and demonstrated how to maximize the advantages of these components for content organization and discovery.

The second one was “Best practices for Information Architecture and Enterprise Search”. Here, I discussed the importance of a good IA design for search. I also discussed how search provides the foundation of a successful knowledge/information management, and discovery scenarios for content and people. I demonstrated best practices in planning, maintaining, and governance of information architecture (IA).

It was very rewarding to hear about the positive feedback from the audience. I am very glad to learn that many participants found the sessions very helpful. I am also extremely pleased that some of them considered the materials to be practical and useful references that they can go back to again and again.

Thank you everyone who attended my sessions! I truly hope to see you soon again.

Recordings of my sessions are available at

Recordings of all SPC14 sessions can be found at

Key Success Factors for Enterprise Content Management


A couple of weeks ago, right before Christmas, I had the honor to speak at one of Intlock‘s webinar on Key Success Factors for Enterprise Content Management.

Information Overload

First, I was talking about Information Overload. Everyone knows the feeling when we get more emails than we can read, more documents than we can process, more updates on social network that we can even read. Everyone knows the feeling to be overwhelmed and the feeling it gets worse and worse, day by day.

To be a bit more formal, we can define Information Overload as the situation when the amount of input is bigger than the processing capacity. It can be related to a computer system, but also to a human. As a result, we pay less attention to the important contents, or if we try to pay full attention to a piece of content, we end up process less than we should. Finally, we are in delay in making decisions (as we need more time to process all the content needed for making a good decision), or we make bad decisions (as we cannot process everything that we should).

Statistics says, the average information worker receives 63,000 words of new information every day (by Robby Walker)! This is a huge number, especially if we try to put this into context: the average length of the novels in Amazon is 64,531 words – yes, we receive the amount of a book of new information every day. It’s a crazy number, isn’t it?

Enterprise Content Management

Information Architecture (IA) is a commonly used term for the art and science of organizing and labeling content (documents, web sites, blog posts, emails, etc.) to support findability and usability.

In different systems, we can find different tools and solutions for supporting Information Architecture. In SharePoint, we have a lot of tools and options, including lists, document libraries, folders, content types, document sets, managed metadata, workflows, content organizer rules, document ID and many more.

If we want to use these features to organize the content in SharePoint, there’re a lot of best (and worst) practices which I introduced during the webinar. As always, there’s no “silver bullet” can be the best for everyone, every company is different, with different needs and requirements, backgrounds and cultures. Every small piece has to be considered in order to be successful.

Some examples:

  • Naming conventions:
    • Don’t be lazy. Names like “Document1.docx” is highly NOT recommended.
    • Using the user’s name in the name of site, list or library, or even a document is also a bad practice. For example: “Joe library
    • Use descriptive names instead. Always. Title is one of the most important columns, make it to be readable and understandable. Make it to be useful. For example “Marketing Presentations” folder or “Sales demo 2013-12-01 CustomerXY
    • Always include the intent of the document in the title.
    • Be careful with word breakers in file names and title, see my post earlier.
  • Structure:
    • Always use structure. Don’t upload/create everything in the “Shared Documents” library.
    • Enforce users to use the structure consistently. For example, don’t upload a document with title “Marketing Campaign 2013.pptx” to the folder “2012” in the “Campaigns” document library. Or never upload “CustomerXY.docx” to the site of CustomerABC.
    • Creating subsites, lists, document libraries or even folders, should be aligned to the governance plan. Always.
    • Keep the structure clean, intuitive and ergonomic. Mess becomes bigger and bigger mess over the time.
    • Don’t fly without a detailed governance plan.
  • Content Types
    • Use Content Type hierarchy, it has a lot of benefits through inheritance.
    • But don’t overcomplicate your Content Type hierarchy. Keep it clean and intuitive.
    • See naming conventions, for Content Types as well.
  • Properties (columns) and Managed Metadata
    • Keep your term sets clean. Keep in mind, you need someone to administer and govern metadata.
    • Keep in mind that users are lazy. They tag their Facebook pictures much more than their enterprise documents. But making the fields to be required is not the solution: you’ll end up to see a lot of “abc123” and “qwerty” and “111” values, and (not) surprisingly, you’ll see the default values selected the most, if any. Metadata management is a culture, a psychology, you must find out how to motivate your users.
    • Always use site columns instead of creating your columns on the lists or libraries. It means more work at the beginning but much less headache later.
    • Keep your metadata structure clean and intuitive.


Enterprise Search

After this Information Architecture introduction, I turned the attention to Enterprise Search.

Search is very important in every business as it helps the findability fundamentally. It connects people to the information they need to get their jobs done. And it all relies on Information Architecture. Everything we do to improve our IA ends up to instantly improve the Search experience as well.

I’ve been doing many classes, webinars and sessions on this topic in the last couple of years, and cannot highlight enough: metadata is the heart of Search. People have bad impression of search mostly because of their bad and/or misused metadata. The formula is easy: improve your IA and your Search will be better. But of course, we have a lot of challenges here.


Analytics for Successful Enterprise Content Management

The last part of the webinar was Yarin Negri’s talk. He discussed why content and user behavior analytics is so important and how they can help our IA. Some questions to answer:

  • What are most users doing on the Portal?
  • What is the most popular Search?
  • What are the Search terms without any result?
  • Where are my users coming from?
  • What are my customers downloading?

By answering these questions, you can identify your key users – and you can involve them to be evangelists in their departments. You can identify departments with low usage levels – and you can provide training and other assistance for them. You can monitor the mobile trends – and you can make sure your content can be accesses through all the popular devices. And you can do many more…


The recording of this webinar can be found here.



The Secrets of Successful Enterprise Content Management

I will be doing a webinar on December 17, 1-2pm(EST) on “Key Success Factors for Enterprise Content Management” and thinking of it makes me look back at how technology has gone a long way in helping organizations achieve their business goals with highly-improved system of managing their corporate information.

In 2010, AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) defined the term Enterprise Content Management as:

“…the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM covers the management of information within the entire scope of an enterprise whether that information is in the form of a paper document, an electronic file, a database print stream, or even an email.”

What are the benefits of adapting a well-designed Enterprise Content Management? Who benefits from ECM, and how? Organizations from various industries, such as Pharmaceutical, Legal, Finance, Telecommunications, Educational, and even the Government are now realizing the value of a well-defined content management for optimum productivity. In the webinar, we are going to discuss some examples of real-world Content Management cases, including document classification, sharing, collaboration, and governance and we’ll demonstrate how Content Analytics plays a vital role in providing solutions for each scenario.

To register and learn more about the webinar, please click here:


Three-day Course in Stockholm on SharePoint Information Architecture

Earley & Associates is North America’s premier information architecture, taxonomy, and governance consulting firm I’ve been working for a while on existing and upcoming SharePoint training materials. Their founder, Seth Earley teaches a great course on SharePoint Information Architecture 9-11 Sept, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden, with integrating case studies and lessons-learned on complex commercial engagements  and sharing Earley & Associate’s practical methodologies.

This three day program introduces attendees to best practices for Information Architecture through a combination of lecture, discussion, hands-on workshops, and SharePoint exercises.  Course participants will learn about many new trends, including the critical role of IA to Big Data Analysis, Knowledge Management, Unified Data Access and search-based application development.  They will learn how to map a user-centric information architecture to SharePoint through hands-on exercises.

More information and registration can be found here. Use the code STOCKHOLM0913 for a 15% off through end of August.

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