Information Governance. That term sounds big and boring, right? Something that requires writing a big, boring document and downing double shot espressos to stay awake whilst doing so.
I hear you yawning and asking, is this something we really need to consider for our Office 365 SharePoint deployment? Well, if you focus on keeping it simple, it can be a very handy tool to have.
Information Governance is basically a set of rules for your information. If you’re building a SharePoint platform, it is well worth putting together a living set of rules regarding it. To be useful, SharePoint Governance needs to be succinct enough that it forms a guide for employees on how to interact with information on their SharePoint site. This applies regardless of size and complexity.
The easiest way to keep it living is to build it right into SharePoint. A wiki site is a great way of establishing a living policy document.
Planning exercise #4:
Getting started with Governance
With a focus on providing guidance for users on “how to” and control for site administrators on “how should”, plan how you intend to manage and document:
- The site map – how will this be updated as it is built, will it include any “to be” components that may be slated on the roadmap?
- Site templates – what templates should exist for administrators to create new sites from?
- Taxonomy, navigation and search – what are the standardised terms that are used by the business; it is important to document how you label information particularly for training new employees.
(If your SharePoint site is part of Microsoft Office 365, the “underlying infrastructure” is Microsoft’s cloud service. For on-premise servers or private hosted solutions, you’d also want to document the nuts and bolts of the infrastructure as part of the technology section).
It’s important to assign roles and responsibilities. Key roles include:
- Steering committee or strategy team: who will be responsible for designing and documenting the roadmap and managing requests for change to ensure they are in line with the overall direction?
- Evangelists: How will they drive adoption in the organisation?
- Architects or site builders: who will be responsible for building the site? What guidelines or framework will be established regarding how it should be built?
- Administrators and site owners: who will be responsible for maintaining the site and sub-sites? What will be their framework?
- Business Analysis: who will be responsible for translating business needs into solutions?
- Users and contributors: who will be permitted to add content, to which areas of the site?
- Readers: will there be users restricted to read-only access?
- External parties: in what instances will SharePoint data be made available to people outside of the organisation?
- Governance: who will be responsible for documenting and keeping this up to date?
You also want to consider:
- Use policies and procedures – how should people use (and not use) SharePoint?
- How is social interaction fostered and managed?
- How is change and requests for change managed and communicated?
- How will training be conducted for new employees on how to use the system, as well as existing employees when new functionality is built?
- How are employees given support when they need help using SharePoint?
SharePoint has a lot to offer. Governance, when kept simple, helps to ensure that it delivers on its promise in a controlled, efficient, consistent and living manner.
This is Part 3 in our series on planning exercises for SharePoint Online. Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 if you’ve missed them. If you’d like more information or you’re keen to arrange a free consultation, visit our Microsoft Office 365 page or call 1300 766 554.
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