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Governance Inside and Out with AvePoint and Tahoe Partners (Part 2)

(Note: This is a guest post by Tahoe Partners Director of Enterprise Collaboration David Sidwell)

Last week we introduced a blog series on SharePoint Governance focused on building, implementing, and enforcing governance. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll dig into how you can build a strategy to get the most value from your investment in SharePoint and other collaboration technologies.

What are You Governing?

Before addressing governance for your SharePoint environment, your organization should have a solid understanding of how you are using SharePoint now, how you will use it in the future, and the activities necessary to get to that future state.

As this article on developing a SharePoint Strategy and Roadmap highlights, common areas investigated include governance, usability and user experience, communication and change management, content, infrastructure, mobile, search, and social. Looking at these topics across your organization is the best way to get a comprehensive view of your SharePoint and overall collaboration environment.

To see a real-life example of a SharePoint roadmap in action, take a look at this great case study by a Tahoe Partners customer: No Enterprise Collaboration Strategy? Ready, Fire, Aim! It describes how the client started down a path of executing specific SharePoint projects, including document management and an intranet rewrite, before taking a step back and recognizing that an overall roadmap was needed to guide and plan for future initiatives and the spending associated with them.

Determining Your Policies and Guidelines

Once you know how your SharePoint environment will be leveraged now and in the future, it is time to determine why and how you will govern it.

The “why govern SharePoint” is important because it is critical that the business recognizes the value of governance – otherwise it will lose focus and effectiveness over time. Without governance, the environment will grow without control, which typically results in poor usability, decreased findability of information, user frustration, low adoption, and security and compliance issues.

The details of “how you will govern it” are encompassed in the policies and guidelines adopted, communicated, and enforced by your organization. Your governance plan will document high level guiding principles, roles and responsibilities associated with governance, detailed operational policies, and overall service level agreements (SLAs). Policies will include areas such as branding and navigation, site provisioning processes, content lifecycle processes, security and permission management, and solution development.

It is critical to realize that building and implementing a governance strategy is not just about creating a governance plan, putting it on your SharePoint site, and calling it complete. Governance is an ongoing activity that takes commitment, action, and dedication. Governance is not an IT-only activity – it involves the entire business. A Governance Committee should be established with active representatives from the business and technology areas of your organization. Committee members should want to be involved and be willing to make the commitment necessary to be successful.

With a strong Governance Committee and solid policies and guidelines in a governance plan, the next step is implementing the plan. Given the common situation of limited personnel and budget, leveraging automated tools to enforce governance is a great way to ensure your guidelines and policies are followed. Next week, we’ll continue our series by describing how to empower your end-users to maximize their productivity while ensuring that the environment is controlled and maintained according to the policies you’ve established.

For more on the topic of governance, please be sure to check out past posts on both the AvePoint Community and the Tahoe Smart blog.

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