Information management and governance in SharePoint 2013


Applies to: SharePoint Server 2013

Topic Last Modified: 2018-01-27

Summary:Learn how to plan effective information architecture to ensure that your SharePoint 2013 solution meets your business needs.

How will you govern the information in your organization, such as documents, lists, websites, and webpages? How do you maximize the information’s usability and manageability? Who has access to what information? How are you making information available internally and externally, and to whom?


Foundation icon

This article is part of a set of articles about governance. The following articles describe other aspects of governance:

The What is governance? poster gives a summary of this content. Download the PDF version or Visio version.

Information architecture determines how the information in that site or solution—its webpages, documents, lists, and data—is organized and presented to the site’s users. Information architecture is often recorded as a hierarchical list of content, search keywords, data types, and other concepts.

Assess your organization’s information architecture to make it as efficient as possible: A comprehensive assessment of your organization's information architecture can help you identify efficiencies, such as the following:


Icon Ways to be efficient
Form icon

Use metadata to make it easier to search for and compare related data or content.

Documents icon

Manage versions and records to ensure that you can tell which is the authoritative version of a document.

Folder icon

Catalog and store information properly so decision-makers can find and rely on the right data.

Navigation icon

Design navigation and present information so that users can find important sites and information.

Search icon

Integrate your information architecture with your environment's search strategy, so your users can find the right information. Information architecture includes the wireframe and site map, search and navigation, managed metadata tags, and content types.

Writing icon

Define a publishing strategy: distribute authoring tasks and use cross-site publishing to control the design of the site and display of the content.

Good information architecture supports the following goals:

Three goals for information architecture
  • Manageable   Can the IT team effectively implement and manage the information?

  • Meets requirements   Does the information architecture meet regulatory requirements, privacy needs, and security goals?

  • Increases business effectiveness  Does the architecture add to your organization’s effectiveness?

Questions to ask when you design a site or solution:


Question More information

How will the site or solution be structured and divided into a set of site collections and sites?

Fundamental site planning in SharePoint 2013

How will data be presented?

Plan for business intelligence in SharePoint Server 2013

How will site users navigate?

Overview of site navigation in SharePoint 2013

How will search be configured and optimized?

Overview of search in SharePoint Server 2013

How can you organize content so that searches return useful results?

Best practices for organizing content for search in SharePoint Server 2013

What types of content will live on sites?

Plan content types and workflows in SharePoint 2013 and Plan for Internet, intranet, and extranet publishing sites in SharePoint Server 2013

How will content be tagged and how will metadata be managed?

Overview of managed metadata in SharePoint Server 2013

Does any of the content on the sites have unique security needs?

Permissions planning for sites and content in SharePoint 2013

What is the authoritative source for terms?

Plan terms and term sets in SharePoint Server 2013

How will information be targeted at specific audiences?

Audience and content targeting planning (SharePoint Server 2010)

Do you need to have language-specific or product-specific versions of your sites?

Variations overview in SharePoint Server 2013

Who will write content for the site and what method will you use to publish it?

Overview of publishing to Internet, intranet, and extranet sites in SharePoint Server 2013

Be sure to consider access to content when you design your solution and sites. This overlaps with IT governance as you consider your entire environment. Ask these questions:

Information management: permissions and audiences

Question More information

How do I structure permission in a site?

Overview of site permissions in SharePoint 2013

How do I target content to a specific audience?

Audience and content targeting planning (SharePoint Server 2010)

Should I use Information Rights Management (IRM) to protect content?

Plan Information Rights Management (SharePoint Server 2010)

IT governance: access

Question More information

How do I make this content available to external users?

SharePoint 2013 design samples: Corporate portal and extranet sites

How do I make sure that only people who need access have it?

Security and permissions (SharePoint 2013)

Govern your information by using tools for information management, including:


Tool More information

Use workflows and approvals for Document Centers and site pages—wherever official documentation is stored.

Plan content types and workflows in SharePoint 2013

Use approval for published websites to control pages.

Plan for Internet, intranet, and extranet publishing sites in SharePoint Server 2013 and Plan content types and workflows in SharePoint 2013

Use version history and version control to maintain a history and master document.

Plan document versioning, content approval, and check-out controls in SharePoint 2013

Use content types with auditing and expiration for document libraries to manage document life cycle.

Plan document management in SharePoint 2013

Manage libraries by using the Content Organizer.

Configure the Content Organizer to route documents

Use site policies to manage site collection life cycles.

Overview of site policies in SharePoint 2013

Use Information Rights Management and auditing to secure and audit important corporate assets and any sites that contain sensitive information.

Apply Information Rights Management to a list or library and Configure audit settings for a site collection

Determine the rules or policies that you need for the following types of items: pages, lists, documents, records, rich assets, blogs and wikis, feeds, anonymous comments, anonymous access, terms and term sets, and external data (Business Connectivity Services).

As a good information management practice, consider the balance among the following factors:

  • Availability   Content needs to be available when users need it and where they can get to it.

  • Access   Consider who has access to the content. If it should be secure, is it?

  • Redundancy   Shared copies reduce redundancy and provide one version of a document.

Optimize for availability, acces, or redundancy

Consider your priorities for different content by thinking through questions like these:

  • Which of these factors is the highest priority for each type of content?

  • Is availability more important than access?

  • Is access more important than redundancy?

  • What would make it so difficult for users that they would be tempted to use a different solution?

  • What trade-offs are possible or desirable?