The buildup to the release of SharePoint 2013 continues. One of the issues that was widely discussed around the 2010 release was governance and SharePoint environments. This time, with so much more data under the bridge -- and more and more people using SharePoint -- governance will be certainly be a hot topic once again.
Axceler, which has been working in the SharePoint space for just about forever, has been carrying out research to find out how exactly SharePoint is being used and what kind of governance policies, if any, enterprises have in place.
The result of that research, entitled "SharePoint Governance Maturity Benchmark", has just been published and shows that while many enterprises understand the real value of SharePoint as a business asset, many have no governance policies -- meaning many deployments are not aligned to business goals. This in turn has led to low user adoption and ultimately poor returns on SharePoint investments when compared to what they could be if a clear governance strategy had been put in place.
The study was carried out over the period of a year across 1000 SharePoint administrators and business professionals who are currently using SharePoint.
Generally speaking, although 67% said that SharePoint is extremely important to their business, only 26% said that they had a well-defined enterprise strategy, with 51% admitting that they had no governance strategy for SharePoint in place at the moment. If that wasn't bad enough, 42% were unsure as to how a governance plan could deliver value for the organization.
It may actually be that for small businesses a governance strategy may not be feasible as the cost of developing such a strategy may outweigh the benefits, but for large enterprises with a large number of SharePoint sites, or farms, not having a governance plan for SharePoint is like throwing money out the window.
That said, SharePoint, while not the only collaboration suite, is the most widely used. At the moment, Axceler says, there also appears to be considerable confusion in enterprises over who is responsible for the management of SharePoint.
SharePoint Pain Points
The management of SharePoint is clearly not easy – and this survey has certainly pointed to that -- showing where enterprises are having their greatest difficulties. Asked about their SharePoint pain spot, respondents answered:
- Security and Permissions (60.8%)
- Managing content and information storage (51.3%)
- Application management and time to manage (43.8 percent)
- No organization governance (46.8%)
On top of that, only one third (33.5%) of those that do actually have a governance plan in place said that there was a general awareness that such a plan exists.
SharePoint Governance Plans
When there is a governance plan in place, there are issues around their SharePoint plans and alignment with business goals. According to the research, only 33.8% said that their SharePoint plans are directly aligned with their business goals, with the other 60% saying that their SharePoint plans ranged from being neutral in terms of alignment to business goals to having no alignment to business goals at all.
User adoption strategies and governance around SharePoint have also been separated with many losing the opportunity to get involved and engage end users in the governance process. In fact, the research showed that only 30% of companies connected their governance plans with an end user adoption strategy
Of the findings Michael Alden, CEO and President of Axceler had this to say:
Enterprise collaboration suites like SharePoint are supposed to be enabling technologies…The goal of every SharePoint, Yammer or any other enterprise collaboration initiative is not to let the platform go stale, but to enable your organization to conduct more business, make quicker decisions and to do more with less resources. A governance strategy that automatically secures business data meets all compliance standards and is directly connected to business goals will result in a higher return on investment and a more efficient workforce.”
And there is the key. The use of SharePoint in the enterprise is supposed to help businesses achieve business goals. These are partially achieved by giving users access to data contained in the SharePoint environment, but they can only be given access like that when the environment is secured and governed properly."
From all this, Axceler recommends the following:
- Identify clear roles and accountability: It is important to clarify roles, especially around ownership and responsibly for collaboration and governance technologies.
- Governance definitions: There should be an enterprise-wide definition of governance and what it includes. Core users must be taken into the process of outlining the governance strategy to ensure it is applied on a daily basis.
- Governance and business alignment: Nearly half of respondents said that their governance plan did not include any indication as to where the business value of good SharePoint governance lies.
- Empower end-users: Enterprise collaboration suites are enabling technologies with only one third of enterprises correlating governance plans. By failing to align the two, enterprises are not getting the full value of their deployments.
- Business assets: Only a little over one third of enterprises surveyed (36%) said their governance plans was focused on compliance and retention of data. On top of that, 46% said they do not run audits on usage and security.