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SharePoint Governance: Considerations for a Successful Deployment

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Scott Jamison explains how effective governance (which includes defining roles and responsibilities, policies, process, and technology) can help you to ensure the overall long-term success of your SharePoint environment.
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Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (aka MOSS) is a fantastic tool. I’ve seen businesses deploy MOSS to help employees find information more easily, improve productivity via easy collaboration, and manage company Internet sites. Managers are amazed that a single tool can add so much to the success of their business. End users can provision their own sites, customize their interface, and connect to enterprise data. With all of this power, however, comes the responsibility to manage and govern the SharePoint environment properly. What you need is SharePoint governance.

What is SharePoint governance? Broadly defined, SharePoint governance uses roles and responsibilities, policies, process, and technology to clarify ambiguity, manage company goals, and ensure overall long-term success of your SharePoint environment. In addition, a solid deployment strategy brings it all together. Let’s take a look at each of these areas.

Roles and Responsibilities

SharePoint roles and responsibilities define the people who will govern and manage the SharePoint environment, along with their various areas of responsibility. Documenting roles and responsibilities is a critical aspect of the governance framework for a SharePoint rollout. Here are some roles and responsibilities to consider:

  • Executive Sponsor. Provides executive-level sponsorship for SharePoint. The primary responsibility of the Executive Sponsor is strategic, positioning SharePoint as a critical mechanism for achieving business value and helping to communicate the value of the SharePoint environment to the management levels of the organization.
  • SharePoint Governance Board. Serves as a governing body with ultimate responsibility for meeting the firm’s goals with respect to SharePoint. This board typically comprises representatives of each of the major businesses represented in SharePoint.
  • SharePoint Business Sponsor. Manages the overall design and functionality integrity of SharePoint from a business perspective. The SharePoint Business Owner doesn’t have to be an IT expert, but the job function typically includes responsibility for internal communications, intranet portals, external communications, and external portals.
  • SharePoint Central Administrator. Manages the overall design and functionality integrity of the SharePoint farm from an IT perspective. Ensures the technical integrity of the solution. Makes regular backups of the portal and its content. Also may set up and maintain the security model, especially the components in Active Directory.
  • Site Collection Administrator. Serves as the centralized, primary role for ensuring that settings for the site collection are configured properly. The Site Collection Administrator needs deep training on SharePoint and must understand the business need for the site collection.
  • Site Administrator. Serves as the centralized, primary role for ensuring that content for a particular site is properly collected, reviewed, published, and maintained over time. The Site Administrator will likely need to learn about SharePoint, but his or her primary expertise is business-focused.
  • Users. Users use SharePoint to access and share information, as well as owning and maintaining the content that they publish on SharePoint. Users can play the role of Member (user with contribution permissions), Visitor (user with read permissions), or both, depending on the specific site within SharePoint.
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