Building a framework of best practices in Microsoft SharePoint Governance

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The 2020 pandemic led to a paradigm shift in the way businesses collaborated. With less of travel, absence of on-site meetings or gatherings, reduced face-to-face interactions or organization of corporate events etc., business continuity was threatened. There was no visible governance to define a framework of rules, policies, interfaces, protocols etc, for resources dispersed across diverse geographical locations. But as the technology platform stepped in to become the pervasive medium of collaboration, organizations and businesses embraced the online mode to connect and collaborate at every layer and level of systems, processes, teams, protocols, bolstered by security.

With technologies such as SharePoint ruling the roost in the business collaborative platform, Microsoft outlines the best governance practices in SharePoint which are critical to business performance and organization success. According to Microsoft, governance is a “set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams work together to achieve its goals”. All governance practices take off from a good governance plan for SharePoint, which ensure:

  • Security and Compliance of your organization’s systems
  • Smooth and streamlined deployment of products and technologies
  • Maximum ROI for your technology
  • Driving User adoption
What determines the best governance practices for SharePoint and why is it important? 

Following SharePoint governance practices ensure to render effective functioning, optimal productivity and transparent collaboration across business segments and IT teams. Each governance plan is customized, as per the enterprise requirements, the stakeholders involved and what is envisioned for the future of your business.

The best governance practices kickstart from a good governance plan, which encapsulate the following:

  • Identifying the initial goals and principles: Vision, scope, policies and standards as outlined should be monitored for compliance. These should also be measured for the tangible benefits; they deliver to your organization. For instance, a SharePoint deployment strategy should entail both the technical and business requirements for the service you will be using/providing.
  • Organizing your business information: If there is one thing that helps identify the different entities and their place in the organizational framework, it is classifying the information as per the existing taxonomy or by creating a custom taxonomy. From the classified information, you build the information architecture towing in the best IT services to support it.
  • Planning training for different user groups: The degree of user engagement with the technology interface determines the success or failure of a deployment, as it is the users who leverage the functional and technical scope of any new interface. So, it is imperative to identify the different user groups in an organization, their scope of functions, the level of training required for their adaption to the platform. The training helps business users to navigate the migration/transition smoothly and adopt the new technology with ease. From troubleshooting guides to documentation of critical/basic business processes, user-training on the books and in practice, helps drive user-adoption.
  • Establishing ongoing governance: Successful governance is the one which evolves constantly with the growing business requirements. Reviewing, re-evaluating and adjusting the different parameters of your governance plan and regular reporting, ensure compliance and accountability across different levels of your organization. It also helps to resolve conflicts among the different business divisions for IT resources.
  • Creating a governance team involving all stakeholders: A governance team will comprise representatives from the diverse business functions of your organization who play a vital role in developing, maintaining and upgrading governance policies, in tune with the evolving business requirements. The primary stakeholders include but not limited to: Executive Stakeholders, Business Division stakeholders, IT managers, Software Development leaders, Technical Specialists, Trainers, Information Architects, Compliance Officers.
  • IT Governance: Determining the SharePoint services that are offered along with the provisions in each service; the service-level agreements, the multiple layers of security, access rights, classifying different administration levels; come under the purview of IT Governance. Other areas in IT that need to be covered as part of the best practices in SharePoint governance include Data Protection, Security Infrastructure, Asset classification, Site Policies etc.
From a solid Governance Plan to a framework of best practices in SharePoint Governance

The best practices of governance in SharePoint entail the following: · Migration of data: Banking on the meta data becomes crucial when it comes to transitioning from one platform to another. Meta data helps to classify content as per relevance, popularity, team, age, which in turn helps to reduce sprawls and overheads, while users navigate through a migration.

  • Regular optimization: The ever-evolving business requirements and customer needs demand governance practices that are scalable and adaptable to the organization’s ecosystem. So, it is imperative to upgrade your governance policies on a regular basis.
  • Create Actionable based on feedback from users: It is users’ interfacing at all levels that determines the success of a new project as users are the quintessential drivers of every micro business process on the technology platform. So, feedback from users helps to streamline or tweak the existing practices to ensure optimization.
  • Creating internal user groups: Understanding of the system, its scope, the content and the workflows is drawn out from the users across the different business units in an organization. Creating internal user groups within SharePoint enables to get better insights about what sites exist, access rights, multi-layered admin roles, the content in storage, the lags and the gaps that stall optimal functioning.
  • Customization: The key to successful SharePoint governance is tailoring the system settings and limitations to align with your business needs. A customized governance plan will centre on policies which are adaptive, transparent and streamline with the organization’s change management process.
  • Governance mirroring your organization culture: The Modern workplace works within the tenets of technology networks which simulate the real-time environ. To drive better user adoption of the technical, functional elements of the SharePoint platform, governance practices should be representative of the cultural ethos of your organization. These could govern something as basic permission levels to unrestricted access for users to create their own sites.
  • Communication as a cornerstone practice : One of the most important aspects of any collaboration is communication and transparency across different networks, user-groups and business divisions. And, what identifies as one of the best practices in SharePoint governance is ensuring communication about strategies, upgrades, redesigns through different channels, so that all stakeholders/users are aware and can align with the outlined plan/strategy.

As substantiated above, the best practices of governance for SharePoint leverage the multitude of tools and technologies that work cohesively to give your business a wide platform for performance. This in turn enables and empowers your resources, to perform optimally, while streamlining and securing the processes which underlie every function, both at the micro and macro level.

Delving into the nuances and wider spectra of Microsoft SharePoint technologies, Quadrion delivers expertise that not only transforms your business potential into performance but also prepares it for the future. As a long-standing Microsoft partner, with a wealth of experience across varied industry-verticals, Quadrion adopts the best business practices and latest technology innovations to enable your business with the power of technology. Aligning these practices with a custom and robust governance framework, Quadrion offers your business the edge to perform consistently not just for today but for the future as well.