Case Study – Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG)
ASUG has had a rich trove of information on its website. However, an analysis of search results showed that many of the web pages were being underutilized. Moreover, a high percentage of searches by ASUG members were unsuccessful. It was realized that a carefully structured taxonomy with well-chosen terms would be a key part of an information access overhaul.
SAP AG was founded in 1972 in Germany and has since emerged as a giant in the business software industry. SAP is currently the largest software company in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. Customers in over 120 countries use the company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (SAP ERP) and other SAP software applications.
The Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) was established in 1991 by a group of long-time SAP customers. Since then, it has grown into an active and connected community of more than 75,000 members. Its mission is to provide users in the SAP ecosystem with the resources, tools, and connections they need to maximize the return on their SAP investment.
Access Innovations created a navigable taxonomy for the ASUG website, drawing from numerous documents supplied by ASUG. The terms included SAP software titles and technology (both current and legacy), annual event meetings, virtual events, company names, association positions, and a great deal of management terminology. This taxonomy was developed in close cooperation with ASUG information technology personnel as well as additional volunteers from ASUG-affiliated companies.
After building the taxonomy, Access Innovations indexed a batch of 7,000+ documents from asug.com’s backfile. The documents ranged from webinar presentations to employee procedures to press releases and were presented in a variety of formats including PowerPoint, Word 2003, and PDF. Each of the document’s appropriate taxonomy terms were applied as subject metadata and stored on Clearspace, ASUG’s knowledge management and collaboration tool.
In order to apply the taxonomy terms to future documents submitted to the Clearspace server, Access Innovations built an API connecting Clearspace to the Data Harmony software. When a user uploads a document to the Clearspace repository, the API calls on Data Harmony and applies indexing terms to the document. This process allows for precise indexing during document creation and ensures successful retrieval for all documents uploaded to the Clearspace repository.
The taxonomy serves as a basis for indexing and for guided search. ASUG members can now access the information they are looking for, and the website is well utilized throughout.
Adrian Buie, Director, Information Services has these comments:
- “The initial construction of the taxonomy of terms by the AI team greatly helped ASUG implement new search capabilities without getting bogged down in the minutiae of ‘what goes where and why.’ Exploiting AI’s expertise in this effort was crucial to the success of the project.”
- “I find the product, the Data Harmony solution, very stable and productive in helping ASUG to continue to improve its search ability. Our Clearspace integration has been extended to not only initial document uploads, but to revisions to those uploads. We’ve additionally extended the ‘tagging’ to other areas of Clearspace rendering more of a search solution for our membership.”
- “I find the use of Data Harmony’s administrative interface straight-forward and meeting our needs for minimal time expended administering the terms. The implementation of rules within the system can be learned within a couple hours while implementation of rule changes within a few minutes time allows us to quickly respond to changing data needs (e.g., new special interest groups, SAP product line changes, new community chair person assignments). The ability to continually upgrade search areas within Clearspace via the provided API will further enable us to leverage all areas of Clearspace content and our taxonomy of terms.”