Conference Notes

Share2010 Session: Andrew Jolly from OBS on "Aligning SharePoint Governance with Your Business Processes"

Andrew is a consultant at OBS in Australia, based in Brisbane. Andrew is on the business and knowledge management side.

Key points from Andrew around governance and business processes:

  • What’s the problem? SharePoint on its own doesn’t do a thing. You have to put SharePoint to work on a particular issue or concern — eg, employee payroll portal, delivery scheduling, job candidate applications, etc. How do we manage abudance?
  • The rules have changed: scarcity (everything is forbidden unless permitted vs. everything is permitted unless it’s forbidden). Other changes – social model (“we know best” vs. “you know what’s best”), decision process (top down vs. bottom up), and organizational structure (command and control vs. devolved responsibility).
  • For governing SharePoint, keep it simple – but not simplistic.
  • What’s the solution? Create a business reference architecture – a representation of what your business is trying to achieve, and the domains where functionality is required? It avoids talking about features and functions. It’s an approach to providing a structure on how to govern. This is different from information architecture (“how is our information organized?”).
  • Craig Roth from the Burton Group (now Gartner), “Taking a business service approach to SharePoint governance yields better business-IT alignment and trust for future engagements.”
  • Don’t treat “SharePoint” as a “solution.” It’s a fabric on which you create solutions – eg., corporate intranet, business process centre, knowledge centre, project collaboration, event management, and personal site service.
  • Case study: Queensland Department of Transportation and Main Roads. Created some pilots to test the value of SharePoint – Boardworks, and Underground Rail Project. Then pushed into Project Collaboration service and Team Collaboration service. Defined these as two business services. Andrew used Issue Mapping to unpack the requirements and needs. Then worked to align new services to organizational goals.
  • Define business services – “a domain of control with a collection of goals and related tasks.” Why do this? Transforms technology services into business thinking. There are three parts – a business service (what an end user sees), a technical service, and a set of resources.

1. What’s the hardest thing when describing this to business people? Decision makers get the idea of a “business service” but technical people don’t get it so quickly. They are trying to interpret the new ideas within their current frame of reference.

2. Some business services exist across organizations? How do you define these? Is it more difficult? Not necessarily – the business service definition can be used at any level, including across organizational boundaries. Depends at what level you are talking.

3. At the service level description, do team and project collaboration sites look the same or different? At the start, they are the same. But when you start looking at them, the differences come to the front, eg, project collaboration allows cross-organizational access through the firewall. Over time, they will differ a lot – eg, project sites have templates, etc.