Welcome to week four in our ongoing blog series about governance with Tahoe Partners! Based on our work helping organizations around the globe collaborate with confidence, we’re using this space to share best practices and available solutions to simplify the often complex process of creating, implementing, and enforcing a SharePoint governance plan. Thus far, we’ve introduced the series, heard from Tahoe Partners about creating a governance strategy, and shared available technology solutions for enforcing your strategy while empowering end-users.
This week we’ll look at ways you can gain insight into the ways your workers are utilizing SharePoint. This applies to organizations at all stages of deployment. While it’s not ideal, some organizations have already allowed their workers to begin using SharePoint without implementing a proper governance plan. If that’s the case, knowing how your users are using (or not using) the system is a crucial step in planning and implementing your governance plan. This will help you determine what needs to change and what the biggest areas of need are for the business. There’s never a better time than now to right the ship!
For the organizations who correctly developed their governance plan before letting their workers loose in the environment, gaining these insights is equally critical. By now, it almost goes without saying that governance is not a “set it and forget it” project. Once your plans are in place, your users are educated, and it’s time to begin reaping SharePoint’s benefits, you will want to know what is working well and what isn’t so you can make any necessary changes to your governance plan swiftly and efficiently.
Gain Insights into User Adoption and Activity
From a technical perspective, you will want to ensure your system is running according to Microsoft’s SharePoint best practices, which have been covered in depth on TechNet. While there are many different ways you may want to look into overall activity across your SharePoint environment, here are some common trends to watch:
- Platform activity
- Site usage
- Storage trends
- SharePoint social activity
Depending on which features you’re making available to your users, it’s likely that your governance plan takes all of these aspects into account already. Because of that, you will want to make sure you have the oversight you need across your environment as well as the ability to audit user actions and activities in order to ensure the rules are being followed. And, of course, you will want to take action accordingly when they are not. In addition to your own internal requirements, this ability to actively monitor can be critical in your efforts to ensure your system is in compliance with external regulations as well.
SharePoint does offer reporting functionality out of the box. However, the platform’s native functionality only allows you to go so deep. For instance, it will not allow you to audit user actions and activities within a specific list or library. Additionally, if you run a report on a top-level site, data from all sub-sites beneath it will be aggregated as well, giving you a much broader picture than you may require. SharePoint also doesn’t allow you to run comparison reports between different objects in your environment.
Fortunately, AvePoint’s DocAve Software Platform – featuring DocAve Report Center – enables you to get a truly granular view of your environment and all of the activity within it. By monitoring the state of your environment and setting up alerts according to recommended activity, storage, and network usage thresholds, you can ensure best practices are met while gaining valuable insights on how SharePoint user activities map to your overall governance plan. With that kind of information at your fingertips, you can take actions to ensure they stay within those boundaries.
Armed with detailed insights into your platform and the governance plan you’ve laid out, you can then track your biggest areas of success as well as those where you may need improvement. In what areas are you seeing the strongest adoption? Looking back at your governance plan and its implementation, what was done right to bring out that success? Which areas are lacking? Take those into account and look back at your overall plan with a critical eye. Are there policies and processes that need changing? Is more communication or training needed? Remember that your governance plan is not set in stone. Think of it as a “living, breathing” document that needs to evolve according to your business needs over time. If changes need to be made, don’t be afraid to reevaluate. Your governance committee should meet regularly to take a good look at what’s going on in your environment and where changes and improvements need to be made.
In last week’s post, we discussed how DocAve Governance Automation allows organizations to provide SharePoint as a service by automating the way users request configurable services. In addition to automating SharePoint services and ensuring they remain under control, Governance Automation also allows you to generate insightful analytics for the business units and departments making the requests. Using the solution, you can gather information on accountable business users, clarification, and storage usage of site collections and sites. For organizations employing IT chargeback models, the ability to analyze overall business usage and rates of adoption can prove key when determining chargeback calculations and improving ongoing realignment of cost allocation with your governance plan.
Next week, Tahoe Partners brings the series to a close with a post on the important topic of education. You’ll learn tips on effectively training your employees, promoting the services available to them, and helping them do their jobs better through your collaborative environment. In the meantime, we encourage you to leave comments below with any thoughts or questions you have on the topic of governance.