AvePoint Survey on Managing and Governing SharePoint

AvePoint recently released the results of a survey about managing and governing SharePoint. Survey respondents were based in Europe.

According to the survey, commissioned by AvePoint, leader in governance and infrastructure management solutions for Microsoft SharePoint, the platform is deployed to support a number of key business needs, including end-user collaboration (93%), document management (88.25%), intranet portals (79.75%) and project management (58.7%). Nearly a third of respondents also use SharePoint to run extranet portals and company websites.

The survey found that 58.5% of respondents find managing end user permissions either “a little difficult” or “extremely difficult”. With 20% of respondents representing SharePoint deployments of more than 5,000 end users, it is vital that businesses develop a strong set of governance procedures to simplify this management process. While 30.7% of those surveyed were planning to improve governance policies, more than 45% of respondents had no such intentions.

While almost all SharePoint users saw document management as a key benefit, 47.4% claimed that some legacy data resided elsewhere, despite intentions to migrate it to SharePoint. In fact, 23% of respondents indicated that documents were stored in file systems and networked file shares outside of the SharePoint environment. Interestingly, with user collaboration also a top priority for SharePoint deployments, managing data both inside and outside of SharePoint presents a management challenge with out-of-the-box functionality, potentially limiting ROI and end-user adoption.

My Comments
1. Managing end user permissions in collaboration systems that provide access controlled spaces has always been a major issue – it quickly becomes a labyrinth. Hierarchically structured environments like SharePoint are no exception. Having good tools to make clear what is and isn’t available to someone is a good investment.

2. In SharePoint Roadmap (2009) and Collaboration Roadmap (2011) I dedicate a whole chapter to governance, including a governance structure, decision process, and various themes for collaboration environments. Of the two books, Collaboration Roadmap (2011) has the most information.

3. In light of how I approach governance in SharePoint Roadmap (2009) and Collaboration Roadmap (2011), I would but the following commentary on the press release for the survey: the Strategy & Steering Group needs to know the answer to the industry regulations issue, and decide how to address it. The SharePoint Technology group needs to assess the options for data protection, and make a recommendation to the Strategy & Steering Group. Ditto for the Storage approach. On the last issue, re infrastructure management, I’d like to see a discussion about what the organization will get from upgrading to SharePoint 2013 … and for that to be the focus of the discussion rather than “not getting two versions behind the most current version.”

4. Finally, my advocated position in Collaboration Roadmap (2011) is to not use the word governance for non-governing tasks. Governance is about “what should we do with the capabilities offered by SharePoint to improve our business?” (a business discussion), instead of “SharePoint is so wonderful; now what could we use it for?” (a technology discussion).

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