While many people may think taxonomies are mostly the topic of a boring 11th grade biology class lecture in which they dozed off, they're missing out on something that can bring great value to the business. Just ask The Hartford, which recently underwent a major initiative to modernize and unify their document repositories, but recognized that in order to maximize its benefit to the business, taxonomies needed to be incorporated into the plan.

According to Seth Earley, president of Earley & Associates Inc., which the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer contracted to assist with its plan, an enterprise taxonomy is a system for organizing and classifying information that can be applied to content management systems, document management systems, workflow systems, transaction processing and business process management applications, among others. The creation of a taxonomy is especially important when it comes to integrating information, as it provides a common language for describing information and consistent organizing principles.

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