Governance Is Not An Issue In SharePoint / Not The Droids You Are Looking For

By Nick Inglis posted 10-07-2011 01:39

  

 

Jeff Teper at Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011“Governance is not an issue in SharePoint 2010... we have lots of customers doing it on a large scale.”

 

Thus declared Jeff Teper of Microsoft at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 Keynote Address this week. I could feel the pain of my jaw hitting the floor. I can only believe that Mr. Teper has quite a different definition of Governance than many of us who came to SharePoint from an ECM and ERM perspective.

 

Can SharePoint be managed and made manageable? Yes and many Microsoft customers are doing that on a large scale. The problem is that without proper planning and potentially major tweaks you're going to run into issues of content and retention governance… yes, Records Managers rejoice, there are SharePoint people who agree with you. SharePoint still has some shortcomings… or, as Microsoft calls them… areas where partners have room to develop.

 

The AIIM SharePoint Wiki has a whole page on the different aspects of SharePoint Governance. Let's discuss where SharePoint has strengths and… areas for partners.

 

Content Governance

 

"Content governance addresses how content is created, controlled, managed, and identified through metadata permissions and templates."

 

SharePoint makes creation of content easy for everyone which in turn makes the control and management much more difficult. Creation and control/management need to be kept in proper balance within the enterprise. SharePoint gives administrators the ability to control and manage through permissions, the managed metadata service and through the records center; it's not a simple task and there are many third parties that are working to improve upon SharePoint's limitations in this area.

 

Classification Governance

 

"Classification governance addresses the structure and organization of the content within the enterprise. Classification governance includes definitions of content types, use of, and the management of, taxonomies and terms."

 

SharePoint gives the ability to distribute classification governance across many players in the enterprise, not just administrators but also power users. Many organizations will feel the need to claw back some SharePoint functionality to retain some level of control over taxonomy. There have been many articles written in the AIIM communities that talk about taxonomies and SharePoint, so I won't rehash that territory here.

 

Functionality Governance

 

"Functionality governance addresses what kinds of features and capabilities users and administrators can use or configure. Functionality ranges from turning features on and off, creating sites and changing the user interface."

 

Functionality governance is where SharePoint shines in my opinion. SharePoint is full of switches and knobs to customize the functionality of any given implementation. SharePoint's history as a system of portals and design give SharePoint some competitive advantages in this arena as compared to legacy vendors.

 

Development Governance

 

"Development governance deals with the creation of new application functionality, including the ability to manipulate and implement code through Visual Studio, creating new web parts and new applications."

 

Just because not all organizations employ good development governance doesn't mean that SharePoint doesn't offer it. As a side note, one of my favorite quotes from the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 was from Dan Holme of AvePoint, "If you say, 'We don't have a test farm' I'll respond that you don't have a production farm!"

 

Security Governance

 

"Security governance is primarily concerned with the organization and assignment of users and groups to have specific permissions."

 

SharePoint can either handle security governance on it's own or allows you to have use your favorite enterprise authentication method. So, SharePoint's got this one in the bag.

 

Retention Governance

 

"Retention governance addresses the retention duration of documents/records that is achieved through consistently applied metadata, information management policies and record centers."

 

This is where Teper and I are probably going to disagree. Yes, SharePoint 2010 makes serious strides forward in the retention arena, but it is still lacking some serious functionality. In place records management is a brilliant concept but it needs to be more easily manageable. When search can't bring up content that exists in a prior version of a record, that presents a serious issue for e-discovery. When you have content that is diversified across thousands of sites, how can you have a consistent process for declaring records?

 

Your Thoughts?

 

After posting my shock at Teper's statement on Twitter, Daniel O'Leary (@danieloleary) responded with "These are not the droids you are looking for". At least I wasn't the only person sitting in shock. All this makes me wonder, does Teper honestly believe that SharePoint handles governance 100% completely or was this just a case of a company man towing the company line? 



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