A collaborative platform such as SharePoint is all about sharing, but that sharing must be regulated, lest it decline into disarray.
Business needs governance—governance over business processes and policies, and governance over the use of technology and environments like SharePoint. Business processes can be inherently complex, and a collaborative platform such as SharePoint that’s used by employees from across all business functions requires some modicum of regulation to be most effective.
As authors Steve Wright and Corey Erkes point out in their recently released book, “Pro SharePoint 2012 Governance” (Apress, 2012), the issue of governance becomes a factor simply by virtue of having a handful of users collaborating with SharePoint. Should you choose not to apply any rules and guidelines to govern document sharing and storage, you’ve still made a governance decision: “Anarchy isn’t a default, it’s a choice.”
Of course, this is likely the least desirable of governance decisions you could make in terms of how to regulate SharePoint in your business. However, you don’t want to swing too far in the other direction, either. Wright and Erkes liken SharePoint governance to the Goldilocks effect—not too much and not too little.
Finding that proper level of governance in your organization—to best support your business goals and business processes, and to best match your IT infrastructure and the policies and processes by which you run IT—is a delicate balance indeed. And one you’ll likely continue to revisit and revise as your business evolves, and as your IT infrastructure evolves to support the business.
Governance can be a complex issue, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep in mind the business goals, and listen to the needs of your user community. Matching the proper levels of governance to best support your business properties will then be a natural evolution.
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