- Business logic
- application development
- Visual C#
- Visual Studio
- Microsoft Office
- Exchange server
- SharePoint 2010
- document management
- Web development
- Web sites
- Web Parts
- SharePoint Service Account
- SharePoint administration
Achieving Sustainable SharePoint Governance
This is not an IT story, it's a business story. Customers often hear only the high-level, feature-centric, compelling version of the SharePoint story: SharePoint does document management; SharePoint does workflow; SharePoint does collaboration, etc. But what do these features really mean from a business perspective, and how can a business prioritize, operationalize manage them—all while ensuring that SharePoint continues to satisfy strategic business objectives and most importantly, that it's adopted by your users?
The SharePoint Double Fantasy
SharePoint consultants, engineers, and developers tend to believe that end users will:
- Love SharePoint. We love SharePoint! We believe our users will, too. We believe people will naturally use the system as originally conceived, designed and delivered. After all, why wouldn't business users flock to use a centralized portal? Why wouldn't they want to use online workflow approvals? Why would people still send documents as email attachments when they have SharePoint?
- See the light. We dream that—given the opportunity—end users will adapt and change to become good "SharePointers." In other words, rather than following their pre-SharePoint procedures, they'll quickly learn to open a browser, do a document search, open the found document, update it, send it for approval all centralized, and all through the browser!
But the double fantasy isn't how most people think or behave, much less work. That's not a slam against users; by nature, humans are creatures of habit. With the rush of daily business demands, old habits prevail. The first reality check when deploying SharePoint is to accept that fact. Deploying SharePoint without a structured SharePoint governance model will eventually lead to a return of the old, ineffective, decentralized information management habits you're seeking to solve.
Figure 1. Portal Governance Model: Managing and embedding your SharePoint implementation is not a technology problem, it's a business problem. Effective portal governance is a challenge of engaging the entire enterprise.
Governing SharePoint requires a clearly defined and managed governance model consisting of user, contributor, approver and senior stakeholder roles, each with specific responsibilities and procedures.
SharePoint Touches the Entire Enterprise
SharePoint, and by extension portals, are not IT projects, they are strategic business and information management projects. Cross-functional governance is the key to implementing and maintaining an effective SharePoint portal. The best and most deeply embraced sites are owned by HR, Communications, or some other non-IT organization. IT is one of the key stakeholders, but the ongoing business information management should be assigned to a different body, outside of IT.
One large Canadian insurance company with 35,000+ users had the best model I've experienced. The governance model was led by a cross-functional Executive Steering Committee, while the site was managed by a collaborative and accountable Working Committee. Figure 1 illustrates the entire model.
TAGS:governance, SharePoint, portal
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