All posts by Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda

About Joanna Pineda

Joanna’s business card reads CEO/Chief Troublemaker for a reason. She relishes a challenge and introduces change wherever she goes. She knows anything is possible and that clients come to Matrix to hear "Yes", not "No." Matrix is purple because of Joanna. Staff like to call her JP.

One Taxonomy To Rule Them All: Developing a Taxonomy

A shared taxonomy (across your sites, your AMS, your meetings, etc.) is the key to better content and a better user experience. In this series of blog posts, we’ll define taxonomy, tell you why it’s important and show you how to develop and implement one.

Hand drawing chart in whiteboard isolated on whiteDeveloping a Taxonomy

The hardest part of developing a common taxonomy is deciding what belongs where. How do you choose your topics and issues? Here are some tips to help you decide.

Look at:

  • Government affairs issues
    • What are the top 10 issues for your association/organization? What are ongoing issues that are always discussed?
  • Topic areas
    • What topic areas do you currently have? Look at your navigation & how your site is divided now. Can any of these be topics? What is each item about?
  • Conference tracks
    • Your conference tracks and sessions are often great indicators of what’s important to your members. Take a look at the two or three most recent and/or upcoming events. What are the session topics?
  • Committees
    • Committees are often formed around important topics/issues to an organization. What committees do you have? Can these topics translate to the taxonomy?
  • Look at search referrals
    • Check your usage analytics? How do people find your site?  These referrals are often a great way to see what users are looking for.
  • Look at site search keywords and phrases
    • On your own site search, what keywords and phrases are your own members/site users typing in to find content? You’ll often find clear patterns.

 

How to Integrate your CMS and AMS

One Taxonomy To Rule Them All: Why is Taxonomy Important?

A shared taxonomy (across your sites, your AMS, your meetings, etc.) is the key to better content and a better user experience. In this series of blog posts, we’ll define taxonomy, tell you why it’s important and show you how to develop and implement one.

colored sheets of paper Why is Taxonomy Important?

Taxonomy is all about connection and classification. It’s making sets of things and subsets of those sets. Think about a library’s groupings in the Dewey Decimal System. All books is the larger set, while books about history is a subset and books about world history a smaller subset.

Taxonomy:

  • Connects content to content
    • You can create pages that display content of all types (articles, blog posts, meetings, etc) that match certain taxonomy classification(s). For example: all items about a new piece of legislation that affects your industry could show up on the page.
  • Connects people to content
    • If you’ve got topical experts in your organization, make sure their content contributions are part of the taxonomy.
  • Facilitates searching and wayfinding
    • Users search for topics and issues, not by content types nor by your internal divisions. If someone needs information on safety, they may go to a specific section of your site, but what about all the other content that discusses safety (expert advice, news items, even training sessions and/or meeting events)?
  • Provides a way to tag content
    • Tagging content is how it works in today’s content-rich web. A set taxonomy provides an easy way to create content tags that match the topics/issues in your overall scheme.

How To Develop a Taxonomy

 

One Taxonomy To Rule Them All: What is Taxonomy?

A shared taxonomy (across your sites, your AMS, your meetings, etc.) is the key to better content and a better user experience. In this series of blog posts, we’ll define taxonomy, tell you why it’s important and show you how to develop and implement one.

question markWhat is Taxonomy?

  • “The practice and science (study) of classification of things or concepts, and the principles that underlie such classification” — Wikipedia
    • You remember school and how in biology, organisms were classified into things like genus and phylum. In general taxonomy, it’s taking items and grouping them into classifications.
  • Overarching categorization scheme
    • For a website/AMS/etc., taxonomy is your overall classification and organization of each discrete piece of data. A news article can be classified as belonging to membership and government affairs and even more detailed, to a specific topic of discussion.
    • This taxonomy (or topics/issues) are specific to you. What do you and your members/site users care about?

Why is Taxonomy Important?

 

Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence, Part 3

Everyone’s on board with data-gathering and the concept of business intelligence. Now, go one step further, make this a regular business practice.

tunnel of dataHow To Create a Data-Driven Organization

Identify the data that is most useful to you and make sure you use it

Often, organizations find themselves collecting bytes and bytes of data because somewhere along the line, they thought it would be good to have. Overall, they’re not wrong, but gathering data just to gather it isn’t effective. Figure out what data is useful to your association and focus on that.  For example, [NEED EXAMPLE]

Identify the data you have, who manages it now and where it’s kept.

Is it in your AMS? Is it on a spreadsheet or maybe as part of your government relations software? If your data is in multiple sources (and it almost always is), determine your process for getting key data from each of those sources into a single source for analysis and be sure to revisit all your processes at least once a year.

Is Your Organization Reluctant to Become Data-Driven?

Probably yes. Why?

Fear:

  • of not doing it right
  • of making mistakes
  • of data that contradicts conventional wisdom
  • of needing to change behavior

As with anything else, change is a process. Start off small, focusing on one goal and work on gathering data for that. Do you want to increase the number of attendees at your annual conference? Maybe you want to increase membership or participation in a specific committee.

  • Talk to your AMS vendor about your goals and share what you want to know.
  • Find out what reports are available?
  • Ask what other organizations have done, and what type of information they’ve wanted to know.

Costs and Timeline

You probably already have most of the reports you need to get started. Your AMS vendor can help point you in the right direction.

If you need a new or custom report, get a cost/time estimate from your vendor. For example, business intelligence reports from MatrixMaxx run about $750 each.

Usually, the timeline for creating a report is quite short. Most of the time results from integrating this process into your existing business processes. The more you do this, though, the faster it will become and the easier for staff/senior management to embrace it.

Action Plan

Your action plan should include:

  • Determining what your goals are
  • Identifying what data you need to make decisions that will help you reach those goals
  • Talking to your AMS vendor
  • Starting with one initiative
  • Designating a data guru
  • Deciding that business intelligence is everyone’s job

Once you’ve got this ball rolling, it’s a matter of “lather, rinse, repeat” for every subsequent initiative.

How are you gathering your association’s business intelligence?

Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence, Part 2

You now know what business intelligence is and have got some idea of what types of data gathering you can do.

glasses pen newspaper from morguefileWho Should Care About Business Intelligence?

Everyone. Ideally, every single staffer in your organization should know and care about business intelligence. It’s important to know the facts about what your members and prospective members are doing or not doing. Business intelligence should inform all your decisions.

In practice, it’s mostly senior staff who care or should care. Often, the staff in the trenches don’t really see the value or can’t make decisions based on business intelligence. They may see reports and see the data, but realistically, changing business processes or procedure isn’t up to them.

Senior staff can, however, share the need for good data, for information gathering with staff and demonstrate how business intelligence can aid everyone in the organization. Share a few case studies,  get staff involved in identifying the most useful data, talk about it at staff meetings/department meetings and solicit input.

Business intelligence gathering shouldn’t be difficult, it’s a matter of knowing what you need (data) and how to use it (analysis).

Mining Your Association Management Software for Business Intelligence, Part 3: How to create a data-driven organization.