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April 23, 2014

3

Your SharePoint strategy & Business Drivers

by Anders B. Skjønaa (SharePointPeople.dk)

This article is a part of a series of three, published with the first edition of the “SharePoint Governance Guidebook” booklet, during the European SharePoint Conference 2014. The two other articles are entitled “The Managed Systems Catalogue” and “Policies & Controls”. These articles are describing essential parts of the implementation of a professional governance practice for Microsoft SharePoint, using the “SharePoint Governance Framework”.

A strategy is the foundation for any governance practice. It’s as simple as that. For SharePoint that is particularly true, as only a very few people is really able to clearly define what SharePoint is really about.

Building a strategy for SharePoint will force you to think about what role SharePoint is really playing in your business. For most organizations, SharePoint is becoming a big thing. Big in terms of investments put into building and maintaining it. Big in terms of the amount of users “touching” it every day. Big in terms of the data that lives inside it. And – you may not even be aware of how big – in terms of the risk that it exposes your company to, if you are not on top of things.

There is this thing called “SharePoint sprawl”. SharePoint has a tendency to spread all over the place. This is a well know issue and people have been trying to deal with it for years. The “easy” in SharePoint has become an issue for many organizations, and with new functionality; social, tagging, OneDrive, Sharing etc. – combined with multiple platforms in production at the same time; 2007, 2010, 2013 and SharePoint Online – is making the platform very complex. More and more resources are put into managing this thing, and what is left behind is all the good intentions to create real value for the business.

What the SharePoint Strategy will do for you, is to help you scope your SharePoint service to only consist of the things that are really making value. This is done by identifying what we call “Business Drivers”.

SharePoint Governance Framework 4.1 overview.

Business Drivers

A Business Driver is a description of an area, where SharePoint is supporting an important business goal. If your business is trying to engage closer with partners, SharePoint can perfectly support that goal, and a Business Driver for your SharePoint platform could be “Optimizing partner collaboration”. Now – having a business driver like that identified, makes it easy to identify relevant parties to work with on the business side. Who own partner relationships? This person will now suddenly be interested in SharePoint; taking ownership and responsibilities in designing and adopting services from you platform.

On the other hand; if you end up with a business driver that you cannot find an owner for; then that driver is probably not important for your business, and you should not support it with SharePoint. In that way the SharePoint strategy process is a great way to work out what the role of SharePoint should be in your organization.

 

So who owns the SharePoint strategy then? We like to have ownership at the senior IT level – preferably with the CIO. CIO’s are worried about risk, cost and value. All of these things are very relevant when talking about SharePoint. SharePoint is the de facto information management platform in thousands of companies, and the risk that you expose yourself to when not having that under control, is on the top of the agenda with the CIO., according to Gartner. Another reason why the CIO / Senior IT management level is good to have own this is, that these guys already own the overall It strategy, and a part strategy for SharePoint must obviously be aligned with that – and with the business strategy, to be ensured relevant.

Our model for implementing SharePoint based on a set of strategic Business Drivers, enable you to build solid governance practices on top of your strategy. One of the foundational principles in The SharePoint Governance Framework are not to implement any business application, managed process or platform service on SharePoint, unless it has a clear relationship to at least one of the Business Drivers.

Getting your SharePoint strategy in place is the first step of implementing SharePoint Governance and being successful doing it.

In the next article, I will talk about how you use the Business Driver from your SharePoint strategy work, to scope the functionality in you SharePoint platform, in something we call “The Managed System Catalogue.

You can expect three new articles, addressing different part of the SharePoint governance implementation process;

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