Governance, now so hip it hurts... two SharePoint experts and an innocent bystander

By Dave Martin posted 10-12-2011 16:29


I am a firm believer in the rule of 3, and after reading both Christian Buckley and Nick Inglis’s recent posts to The AIIM SharePoint blog I couldn’t help but chime in on this fascinating topic (praise or tease me as you will, but I do find this fascinating and yes, I do have a background in records management).  To re-iterate a bit from Nick and Christian’s posts, the whole reason for these commentaries was based on something Jeff Teper stated at the recent SharePoint Conference, which was as follows: Governance is not an issue in SharePoint 2010.

And as Nick’s jaw smacked off the floor on that fateful morning I simultaneously elbowed the ribs of a colleague sitting beside me.  I immediately turned to my colleague and asked enthusiastically, “Did you hear that!?!”  He did, while grabbing his side and looking at me with disdain, but oddly he wasn’t as excited as me.  Yes, I just said, excited. Not shocked or dumbfounded, really and authentically thrilled at what I had just heard. 

As soon as Jeff Teper uttered those words I thought, finally… FINALLY, governance has garnered such a high level of importance for SharePoint that Jeff Teper himself brought it up, at the SharePoint Conference, during the keynote no less!

From my humble perspective, Governance is indeed NOT an issue for SharePoint 2010, and no I am not sucking up to Jeff Teper, nor am I arguing with Nick or Christian.  I say so because of all of the partners at the conference that have followed Microsoft’s model and idealized SharePoint as a platform and built on-top of it and off of it.  With the right strategy and partner solutions in tow, SharePoint indeed has no issues with governance.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand more times: Microsoft SharePoint does a great job of managing the content “in” SharePoint. But as Christian Buckley said in his blog post I don’t believe in ‘SharePoint Governance’ (and I’ll paraphrase here) SharePoint governance is part of a broader information governance strategy, more so, SharePoint itself is but a part of any organization’s information infrastructure. Nick also outlined in his post that we need to think big picture here, that there are many aspects to SharePoint governance that organizations must consider, and that they should again align it to a holistic governance strategy.

Indeed we do have to think of how SharePoint exists within our information ecosystem.  We need to consider the numerous types of users involved, all of the various workflows and business requirements that must be supported and all the disparate and disconnected critical information systems that are already running.  We have to define a strategy that includes the people, the processes and the technology… and that is information governance.

The truth is, if you looked around the SharePoint Conference vendor expo hall you couldn’t help but notice that governance was the “it” word de jour.  It’s almost like Microsoft partners had a pre-screening of Mr. Teper’s now fabled words… oh wait… maybe it was the other way around?

I know that for the most part all I’ve done here is re-iterated on what created shock and awe to these two fine SharePoint experts, but if three guys who write on the same blog feel (more or less) the same way, and are declaring to those out there who use SharePoint that they need to look at the big picture, it isn’t so much to say that SharePoint Governance’s time has come, it’s to say it’s time you really started to think about SharePoint as part of your enterprise-wide information governance strategy, if (and God forbid you don’t) have or are currently defining one. 

And if you have any compassion do so before any other SharePoint experts, or their colleagues, get hurt.  

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