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Four components of a successful SharePoint governance plan

Many SharePoint implementations fail because of a lack of governance. Don't be a statistic and enable a smart Sharepoint governance strategy with these steps.

In recent years, Microsoft SharePoint has gained functionality. The new cloud-based subscription model in SharePoint...

Online has enabled Microsoft to reach even more constituencies that have previously avoided it because of upfront costs. As these groups come to consider SharePoint data as an asset, many have implemented a SharePoint governance plan to protect their data.

But in some cases, a SharePoint initiative fails because of a lack of adequate planning and policies. There are several considerations to review prior to rolling out or targeting a SharePoint implementation to address those issues. Having a solid SharePoint governance plan has never been more paramount.

There is no denying that many of today's organizations that avoided SharePoint in the past have reconsidered the platform as a result of the cloud-based model. The ease of use of the online platform has unfortunately caused some to deploy sites for their departments without adequate planning of how the system content should be managed. This undesired outcome is simply the result of a lack of an upfront SharePoint governance plan and can have a negative impact in the long run.

To ensure organizations have a higher success rate in implementing the cloud-based version of SharePoint, SharePoint Online or on-premises, an organization must first define a data governance plan. This would help ensure that as end users create new content, and interact with existing content, they are doing so in a standardized method that is aligned with their goals and policies as well. There are a number of core steps that must be taken:

  1. Define SharePoint data governance vision and policies. For solid SharePoint data governance, companies should create a governance committee. This is group should include different stakeholders including some management and leadership. Once a governance committee is developed, the group must initiate the development of the information management strategy through defining vision, policies and standards for SharePoint content.
  2. Define new or existing taxonomy needs. Depending on which users need SharePoint access and the company's industry, the group will likely need to consider term sets and taxonomy codes to help with content classification. For some verticals such as healthcare, legal and education, there are third-party vendors that resell these codes. This can help the group avoid recreating them and have the ability to immediately roll out the terms to help classify content. There are occasions where SharePoint administrators would create the codes based on what the team defines is needed.
  3. Put more emphasis on the human element. When it comes to successful SharePoint implementations, the user engagement aspect of it can be the deciding factor of a SharePoint outcome. For that reason, it becomes even more important for users to receive the appropriate training. Training can be in the form of interactive classes offered by IT or third-party consultants, it can also be through training videos. This will ensure that all SharePoint users are familiar with some of the existing policies around working with SharePoint content.
  4. Continuously update the SharePoint governance plan. As a company uses SharePoint more frequently, users are likely to confront new business requirements, over time. As a result, a company's SharePoint governance committee needs to address changes and determine any needed adjustments to the current SharePoint governance plan.

Ensuring upfront focus on the data governance process will help eliminate common pitfalls of SharePoint projects. The result of having the right people develop adequate governance planning will ensure the success of SharePoint as the enterprise content management for the group and empower users to continue to leverage the platform over a longer period of time without any serious problems in the data organization and structure.

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This was last published in July 2016

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