Sharepoint Assurance

I’m currently working on my November presentation for the CapArea Sharepoint group. My speech will be on PowerShell and how to use it with Sharepoint to help with governance. That’s right, I dropped the G word.

Sharepoint is taking off within organizations because it is easy to use, and offers an entryway to advanced capabilities such as BI, Enterprise Content Management, Records Management and more. However, as these portals gain popularity, the enterprise rushes to come up with a Sharepoint governance plan. This usually involves stopping any growth or development on the platform, and talking about your feelings around Sharepoint and forcing it into a process similar to all of your bespoke ASP.NET applications. At which point it loses the flexibility and agility that made it an attractive platform in the first place.

Every governance step for the end user, (contact help desk, security review, management review, change control) that is introduced around your portal is going to dissuade some users, which decreases the reach and the penetration of your platform. What does this mean for IT managers and architects, Do we have to keep our hands off and hope everything goes well on this platform?

Of course not, effective management is needed across IT and this is no different. This is where the idea of Sharepoint Assurance comes in, moving “governance” closer to the users. We can provide both a flexible platform for collaboration, and a well managed IT infrastructure. I like the roles and schedule listed here, but I want to highlight the role of the business unit. In my experience, this is where the majority of change, collaboration and value is generated. Unfortunately, they all have different views of the elephant. Therefore, asking them to have to interact with th “Enterprise Architecture” committee, will generally doom or slow any innovation.

The central IT management needs to form a few strict guidelines that cannot be broken. (lines between customization/custom app development, branding, security & auditing). Beyond these rules, business units should be free to customize as they see fit. Then administrators at the farm, application, site collection and web level need to have the tools for reporting, auditing and managing that gives insight and assurance to the Sharepoint infrastructure without burdening the environment with a onerous governance methodology.

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