Voltaire said, "With great power comes great responsibility." He was talking about the responsibilities of aristocrats towards oppressed workers and peasants, but the same principle applies to IT teams implementing SharePoint within the Enterprise.
Ethan Maehl, Head of User Experience, talks about the importance of information governance with SharePoint.
SharePoint is a powerful tool for enabling collaboration, information management and integration of disparate business processes and systems, but as a recent Gartner Webinar points out, in order to generate a return on investment, that power must be managed responsibly.
The Webinar, Maximizing SharePoint ROI Through Better Information Governance, presented by Debra Logan, points out that many of the organizations that contact Gartner about SharePoint are looking to "...improve the governance and adoption of their Microsoft SharePoint deployments ...many mid-market organizations find that a weak governance plan, together with inadequate planning for the quality of enterprise content, results in poor user adoption, which in turn leads to low usage and ROI."
Like Gartner, at blue-infinity we've found that spending the time to develop robust information architecture and taxonomy at the beginning of the engagement is critical to success, as is defining the governance model for both content and SharePoint sites themselves. Identifying and developing re-usable templates for the most important content and document-types is another important up-front investment of time and resources.
Some key questions that should be answered from the start:
- Who will be responsible for creating (and eventually archiving) SharePoint sites within the organization?
- What workflows and roles will be required to create, review and publish files and other content?
- What policies will govern long-term retention and storage of content?
- What metadata is necessary to enable users to find the content they need?
If your organization doesnt have answers to these questions, you probably arent going to get the maximum value out of SharePoint.