With our initial launch of Governance Automation back in June 2012, we introduced to the SharePoint community a brand-new product that enables you to automate, implement and enforce your documented governance plans and deliver SharePoint as a service. Instead of resting on our laurels, we have worked diligently to provide you with on-demand permissions management and enriched site provisioning Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to proactively enforce data protection, storage optimization, compliance, reporting, and administration.
As much as we have made Governance Automation highly configurable and customizable, we understand that there are times when our customers will benefit from integrating it with existing systems or processes; therefore, we have provided “hooks” to extend Governance Automation to facilitate seamless integration with your existing system and business processes.
As the Product Manager for Governance Automation, I’m thrilled to share with you the top five new features and enhancements in Governance Automation Service Pack (SP) 1:
1. Empower business users with delegated permissions management. Do you assign Site Collection Administrator, Site Owner, or other similar privileges to end users? Companies that do so often state “business agility” as a primary justification, yet one of the major pain points we hear from our customer community is the concern that inadequately trained end users can wreak havoc in SharePoint if given free reign with the aforementioned elevated privileges. In our first release of Governance Automation, we mitigated this issue by introducing the “Site Contact” role, where the Contact is a business owner of a site that can administer the site via Governance Automation service requests without more than “contribute” rights in SharePoint. In Service Pack 1, we further empower business users to manage SharePoint permissions on demand by adding the ability to request user or group permissions to be granted, removed, cloned, or transferred swiftly across multiple farms. Additionally, you can preview and approve specific objects and associated permissions prior to automatically executing the change. The result? Agility without privilege.
2. End-to-end site governance with proactive enforcement of your governance policies, from provisioning through daily administration to end-of-life. Site provisioning service level offerings range from data protection and storage optimization to compliance, administration, and reporting. This enables IT to offer SharePoint as a service and chargeback based on backup frequency, rule-based archiving, tiered storage, auditing level, integration with file share or cloud storage, or with existing Records Management Systems such as Autonomy. Different “applications” or content collections in SharePoint require different levels of service, capability, and governance. Governance Automation’s enhanced “policies” allow you to create SharePoint service levels that are appropriate for your organization’s specific SharePoint requirements.
3. Comprehensive site collection administration via Governance Automation request portal. Whether it’s enforcing corporate taxonomy with Managed Metadata Service term store; deploying gallery artifacts such as content types, web parts, and themes to enforce consistency across site collections; or the ability to change site collection ownership, policy, classification on demand as business needs evolve – Service Pack 1’s enhanced request portal has you covered.
Administration of site collections and sites is not limited to those provisioned by Governance Automation. We also allow you to onboard your existing SharePoint 2010 site collections and sites, retroactively applying governance policies, classification, and ownership in the process. Our Site Collection Directory centrally displays all site collections marked for directory publishing, providing transparency across your SharePoint environments for easy management and search by all users. Power business users can also easily access system reports to monitor all system requests, tasks, and approval processes for continuous improvement.
4. Content approval prior to policy-based archiving, with automated notifications sent to Site Collection Contacts to preview and selectively approve items scanned by DocAve Archiver scan in Excel, prior to archiving. This enables compliance officers or records managers to be incorporated into the content archival decision process.
5. Extensibility with additional integration points to fit seamlessly into your existing infrastructure and business processes. No two governance plans are alike, just as no two customer environments are the same. To that end, we’ve designed “hooks” into Governance Automation to enable you to extend Governance Automation capabilities. In Service Pack 1, we provide the ability to configure calls to external programs to execute custom activities at the end of Governance Automation approval processes or workflows. This enables you to incorporate custom activities such as turning on specific site collection features at the end of site collection provisioning.
We also provide a common “membership provider” interface to enable you to configure an external data source for retrieval of user profile and department information, in addition to our current support for SharePoint User Profile Services. This enables integration with your existing Human Resource systems or any custom user roles that may be a part of your current business process.
Last but not least, you can embed Governance Automation inside SharePoint as a web part!
There you have it! We hope you enjoy Governance Automation Service Pack 1, and I look forward to taking a deeper dive into the different service request types and sharing with you more interesting use cases in follow up posts. Stay tuned.