Pushing through your SharePoint Governance Fatigue

As we approach another release of SharePoint, with SP2016 now available through preview — and an early spring RTM date — it’s a good time to review your existing governance policies and procedures. As organizations continue to grapple with SharePoint scope, scaling, and administration, I am optimistic that the majority of customers are beginning to recognize the value of spending more time planning out new deployments, and retroactively implementing governance principles across their existing environments.

imageWhile governance is not a new topic, it continues to be one of the primary concerns of organizations where SharePoint remains business-critical. Our fatigue around the topic is just an indication of where SharePoint is in its lifecycle — but hopefully that fatigue does not cause organizations to ignore common sense. SharePoint, whether on-prem or online, is still being broadly adopted and deployed (and the number of net-new deployments is still growing!). Don’t get caught up in the myopic focus on features and solutions, ignoring that proper planning and ongoing governance are critical to its long-term success.

Governance  is a set of defined roles, responsibilities, policies, and procedures that  will help your company to proactively manage your information technology resources in a way that maximizes business value. Within SharePoint, these governance policies will help guide and inform your initial environment design, your information architecture, and of course roles and responsibilities.

Many companies struggle with implementing sound SharePoint governance policies because of disconnects between IT and business users over ownership and accountability of these activities. Perceptions over the state of governance activities may differ wildly — from defining governance roles and responsibilities, to the strategic value of strong SharePoint oversight and management to the business. Many of these fundamentals are not included by business users in their SharePoint plans, as it is historically more of an IT activity. And IT teams often fail to correlate governance issues between server and system management with what is happening inside SharePoint, which is often owned by the business users. As a result, support costs can go up, and end user satisfaction — and user adoption — can go down.

What are your perceptions of where your company fits into this spectrum? Do you have a plan in place today? Is governance a major initiative for your current planning? I’d love to know your experiences.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Apps & Services MVP, and the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Lehi, Utah, through which he provides fractional-CMO for partners in the Microsoft ecosystem.