Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stopping the Constant Advice Insanity: How to Actually Do Governance Right

Written by Errin O'Connor. Published in SPTechReport on January 26, 2011.

I get a Google alert every day on the news articles posted about Microsoft SharePoint for that day, and without a doubt I will see three or four “Best Practices Governance” or “How to Accomplish Governance”-type articles pop up from many different sources and organizations. I have personally been involved in more than 160 SharePoint projects, and I can tell you that SharePoint governance is something your organization must be prepared to not only take on but also to enforce.

When you're implementing an enterprise Microsoft initiative, everything has a governance item related to it, and the more complex your organization, the more confusing this may become. There are, though, principles and core pillars that you can ingrain in your organization that will ensure SharePoint will be a long-lasting platform for content management and collaboration, and for your Intranet/extranet and workflow requirements.

A properly implemented enterprise SharePoint 2010 deployment can stand up to any solution from companies such as EMC with Documentum and eRoom, and OpenText with Livelink (and save a few million in my client's budget along the way). I am convinced these companies' sales team and mass-marketing campaigns regarding SharePoint and its lack of this or lack of that have concerned and possibly jaded some people regarding Microsoft SharePoint, but really, enough is enough.

It starts with governance, and governance is everything. This means governing your hardware (servers), data centers, content databases, backup and restore strategies, site collections/content database strategies, training, site hierarchy, branding, available templates, charge back models, permission strategies, auditing, and end-user agreements, and holding users and their managers accountable. In the government world of SharePoint, you can add items such as 508 compliance standards, level 1 or top-secret data, or the need for specific configurations to protect sensitive data. In the medical world, throw in HIPAA compliance, FDA Part 11, PHI data, possible integration with Cerner or Epic, and many other factors.

Start with a SharePoint health check and assessment prior to taking on a governance effort, as well to ensure (if you already have a SharePoint implementation prior to implementing a governance initiative) that you can identify and correct things prior to moving forward.
SharePoint customizations need governance, and that includes SharePoint Designer for light to medium development or customization (Tier 1 and Tier 2), and then moving on to true development in SharePoint with Visual Studio 2010 (Tier 3), and how best to manage that code and bring it properly into your organization's environment.

Governance is a bit of a sweet science, but I spend every day having the privilege to work with some of the largest private-sector and government institutions in the U.S. I can tell you it's not about developing a small governance checklist and starting small on one site collection and testing the waters. It's about getting buy-in from IT Management. The ROI for a truly governed Microsoft SharePoint 2010 environment—which can be your ECM/records management, intranet/extranet, or workflow/BPM solution—is something that will not only increase, but the productivity gains can also set your organization apart from your competitors.

SharePoint can not only compete with but replace all other ECM platforms available. It's just about implementing it right the first time.

Errin O'Connor is one of the leading SharePoint architects and evangelists in the United States. He is the founder of EPC Group, a leading SharePoint consulting firm, and is the author of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Inside Out (Microsoft Press) and SharePoint Foundation 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press / O'Reilly).

Monday, January 10, 2011

SharePoint TechCon 2011: San Francisco

Come join EPC Group, a Platinum Sponsor, at SharePoint TechCon 2011 in San Francisco from February 7-9, 2011! We will be at Booth 1001 to discuss all your SharePoint needs, goals, and questions.

Hear Errin O' Connor, our CEO & Chief SharePoint Architect, deliver two Technical Classes:

Technical Class 206: Bringing Ad Hoc SharePoint Deployments Under Control

The larger the organization or the greater buy-in and user adoption your organization has for SharePoint, the greater the possibility your organization's SharePoint implementation can become decentralized and possibly very "siloed" across different business units and departments. Whether you have 200 users, 5,000 users, or 50,000 users, this becomes a major issue for many different reasons. When you do not have a governance strategy in place to control SharePoint requests such as new sites, ad hoc development of solutions, business units finding an available server and just installing SharePoint Foundation, WSS 3.0, or even SharePoint Server 2010... your organization can become the "wild wild west" of SharePoint. This is something that can be avoided with proper strategies and guidance from the powers to be within your organization and I will discuss my experiences in this from organizations of all sizes as well as from different verticals.
AUDIENCE: Business Analyst, IT Admin

Technical Class 708: SharePoint Foundation 2010: From the Inside Out

From the author of Microsoft Press’s new book on SharePoint Foundation 2010, Errin O’Connor will take you into a deep dive of real-world, in-progress projects from companies of all sizes. Errin will discuss the differences between SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Foundation 2010, and he may leave you surprised to find out how “getting your feet wet” with SharePoint Foundation 2010 prior to upgrading your MOSS deployment to SharePoint Server 2010 may save your organization some serious time and provide you with a true ROI. SharePoint Foundation 2010 is 10 times more powerful than WSS 3.0, and with the BCS, SharePoint Designer, Office 2010, and some other governance and best practices tips thrown in, it will be a major player in the intranet, project-based, and application development platform space for many years to come.
AUDIENCE: Architect, IT Admin, Business User, Developer
SHAREPOINT VERSION: SharePoint Foundation 2010