Large vs. Small Organizations: The Differences in Information Governance

Post Date: 02/26/2022
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Just how different are large and small organizations when it comes to knowledge management? Are the old school way of collaborating making it harder for enterprise-level organizations to properly share and govern information? In this week’s episode of #O365 Hours I sat down with Stacy Deere-Strole to discuss how large and small organizations differ in this regard. Watch our discussion below or read the full transcript at your convenience!

Guest: Stacy Deere-Strole, SharePoint MVP & Owner of Focal Point Solutions LLC (visit her website here)

Topics Covered:

  • Let’s start off by going big: Why are large companies so poorly configured and managed compared to smallmedium organizations?
  • Do you see any differences in the level of employee knowledge between large and small organizations? Do you see great investments in training? Are there differences in the skillsets?
  • How does big-company governance and change management (or lack thereof) impact the large organization versus the small?

Why are large companies so poorly configured and managed compared to small to medium organizations when you’re talking about collaboration?

Stacy Deere-Strole: A lot of companies prior to migration are coming from very old systems. So they’re trying to integrate all that stuff into the new system to make it work the way it used to so users aren’t impacted. But when that happens, there’s a lot of focus on making these old things work in a new system, and the things that they need to be focused on are not as important or structured. And some companies decide not to take that leap and say, “Hey, let’s get rid of the legacy and go to the new.” And so they try to merge them.

Christian Buckley: I’m amazed sometimes at the insistence to make it look and feel like the older technology while incorporating some of the new features. It’s that lift and shift thinking where many organizations try to replicate the old way of looking at things within the new.

SDS: Yeah. I’ve had a number of requests like, “Hey, can you just migrate the site as a whole and put it in the new tenant?” And I say, “Well, I could do that, but you’re not taking advantage of all the new features and functionality. Microsoft’s not updating those anymore. And you’re probably going to have more issues than it’s worth if you’re going to spend this much money. Why don’t we do it right?”

A lot of it also comes from mergers and acquisitions, especially if you’re coming from when a large enterprise is purchasing much smaller companies. Smaller companies have their compliance stuff nailed down. They have it implemented because there’re at a smaller scale. So then when a bigger company purchases those companies, you would think that it would be an easy transition. But they don’t have all the same security rules.

CB: In your experience, is compliance, governance, and successful change management really stronger at a regional or localized level?

SDS: Absolutely. Even though there are various migrations and different types of projects, you can more easily find the right people to properly sign off, get things into production, and go through the normal change management processes when working on a smaller scale. When it comes to the enterprise, it’s easier to incur missteps.

Do you see differences in employee knowledge and skill levels between large and small organizations?

SDS: Absolutely. And that goes back to what their focus is. If a smaller organization’s focus is on Power Platform, they’ll have some brilliant minds focused on that. At the same time, though, they may have shortcomings in other areas like security, compliance, change management, and so on. You know, they’ll be really strong in security but forget the other pieces to the puzzle. For instance, something near and dear to my heart is governance, and I’ll ask “Where’s your governance information?” and they’ll respond, “We don’t have it.”

CB: How do you define exceptions?

SDS: It’s a knowledge set. Certain small companies will focus on a certain area. The other areas they’re lacking in is where they’ll have to be able to gain knowledge.

How does governance and change management (or the lack thereof) impact a large organization vs. a small one?

SDS: Transparency around change management is so critical to the health and wellbeing of an organization.

CB: But is it becoming a more common discussion in your opinion?

SDS: It is. It’s much easier for smaller companies. For instance, I had a really small on-prem company come to me wanting to completely start over in Microsoft 365 after refusing to pay money to hackers following a ransomware attack.

CB: That’s a nice way to go about it, to just start from scratch.

SDS: Exactly. They’re a small enough company so they could do that. Bigger companies can’t move with the same agility that smaller companies can in that regard. Enterprises risk suffering a reputation hit and may have to spend serious money to both fix the breach and restore that reputation.

CB: A lot goes into proper governance. You have to tag things properly and clean up confusingly tagged items, implement security features like multifactor authentication, make sure content gets archived and deleted and not just abandoned during the reorg, and so on. The bigger the scale of the company, the more complex managing all of these elements can become.

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An Office Apps & Services MVP and Microsoft Regional Director, Christian Buckley is an internationally recognized author and speaker and runs the community-focused CollabTalk blog, podcast, and tweetjam series.

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