Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most successful, powerful and widely adopted collaboration platforms on the market today. It is heralded for its flexibility, security and customisation options as well as its adaptability for workflow management. This said, many organisations struggle to effectively manage their SharePoint assets. A successful SharePoint project for any organisation requires an information architecture that accommodates the unique requirements of the individual business as well as a diligent governance strategy.
Governance is something widely discussed in the SharePoint community, however it is not a simple task. A successful governance strategy goes beyond IT, though IT plays a vital role in the process. For a SharePoint environment to be successful, there are many stakeholders in an organisation who need to be engaged and take responsibility for the platform. Because SharePoint is first and foremost a business collaboration platform, we recommend the following steps be taken:
- Define the business drivers for deployment and the benefits your SharePoint environment will afford your organisation. Make sure you have executive sponsors.
- Create an ownership structure and internal governance council to define your governance policies. This includes all groups within your organisation who will be using the platform be it HR, Legal, Finance, Marketing or Sales along with IT.
- Engage in ongoing conversations with the communities using the technology to ensure that their needs are being met.
- Define your content management strategy within the user communities including defined ownership.
- Create and execute a training plan for content owners and end-users.
- Schedule regular check points to ensure ongoing communication and evaluation of the platform.
- Ensure that your governance plan is documented and reviewed regularly. If you cannot enforce a policy or operationalise a policy there is no point in documenting that policy until you can operationalise it.
Each step above is multifaceted, therefore it is essential that any governance effort be closely facilitated. This is a role we take with our clients to ensure optimal success and often, we are included as a member of our clients’ governance committee.
From a purely IT perspective, there are also governance considerations that can be facilitated and automated through third party solutions. One of these areas is IT maintenance. AvePoint is one of our partners we recommend to clients to provide infrastructure management, application life cycle management and back-end governance and compliance. AvePoint solutions simplify and automate essential SharePoint IT management touch points and can help facilitate and manage the SharePoint journey from an IT perspective.
As SharePoint continues to become pervasive in all sizes of organisations globally, ensuring it supports our clients’ business needs is becoming increasingly important. We take pride in our approach to SharePoint planning, architecture, deployment and governance – as well as our partner ecosystem supporting our clients’ assets.