Tag Archives: Information Architecture

SharePoint 2013 Management, Architecture and Design Course – Register Today

How many times have you been told the solution to your SharePoint 2013 needs require custom .NET development? Unfortunately, many consultants and consulting firms resort to custom .NET development because they are unfamiliar with how to truly architect solutions in SharePoint 2013. Granted, a certain amount of custom .NET development is required for most implementations; however, having a thorough understanding of how to architect your information to support business contextual needs, is the key to dramatically reducing those custom efforts and gaining more long-term value.

The truth is, most SharePoint Intranet, Document Management, Knowledge Management, Records Management and Collaboration solutions can be implemented with less than 10% custom development efforts. Implementing SharePoint 2013 using fundamental IA principals and techniques will reduce the need for custom development efforts, the cost of maintaining those efforts and the length of time you are tied to a consulting firm because of those efforts.

Start gaining the most value from Microsoft SharePoint 2013 today!

Join 5-year Microsoft SharePoint MVP, Bob Mixon, for a virtual hands-on 5-day, in-depth course and learn how to successfully apply Information Architecture techniques to SharePoint 2013. This course is geared to provide you with a thorough understand of Information Architecture and how to solve “real world” business problems on the SharePoint 2013 platform.

Register for our August 18, 2014 Class Today!

For complete course information and registration, see:

http://collectiveknowledgesolutions.com/sharepoint-2013-intranet-management-design-and-architecture-training/

We are now accepting Early Bird registration! Use the code CKS-SPMAD-2013-ID-JULY2014 before the end of July and receive a 10% discount!

10 Key Elements of Enterprise Information Architecture (#IA) – #3 Presentation

This article is the third in a series of ten that will help you better understand the 10 key elements of Enterprise Information Architecture.  To read the previous articles and the complete table of contents in this series, please click here.

Presenting Information
The manner in which information is presented can dramatically improve its value. Applying Information Architecture principals and techniques can afford us the ability to query and present information in many different formats thus supporting many different business contextual needs.

During the Subject Matter Expert (SME) interview process, used in the Understanding phase, formulate questions that inspire individuals to describe how they use and view information. Some information is best displayed as simple, linear lists. Other information is best displayed as charts, graphs in a dashboard and points of aggregation. During these same interviews and other assessment techniques, you can learn more about security requirements through the understanding of persona-based information access needs. Specific personas will have different visibility of information.

Note:
It has been my experience that applying techniques that simplify the storage and management of content be your initial focus. You can then aggregate that information, through specific queries, and present it in a manner that best suits the consumer persona and contextual needs.

Multiple presentation models to support varying contextual needs

  • Lists
  • Dashboards
  • Printed reports
  • Charts
  • Search
  • Content aggregation, Scoping and Faceted Filtering

Persona-based Presentation

  • Senior Management
  • Departmental, Line-of-Business Management, Business Unit Management
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Partners

05.03.03 - Presetation

As mentioned before, the interview process will provide you with a wealth of information about the consumers of information and the best manner in which to present it. Other techniques you can employ to understand presentation requirements include usability studies, wire-frame design diagrams, screen mockup’s and proof of concept or pilot projects.

Techniques for understanding how information is to be presented include:

  • Interview information SME’s and consumers
    • Understand how they use the information in their day-to-day business operations leads to the best approach for presenting information
  • “Day in the life of” scenarios
  • Usability studies
  • Wire-frame diagrams
  • Screen mockup’s
  • Proof of Concept’s (POC’s)

In SharePoint, information is stored and managed in sites, pages, lists and libraries. Other information can be incorporated using various tools, such as Business Connectivity Services (BCS), Excel Services, custom development, etc. To gain the most value presenting this information, you then need to first apply Information Architecture techniques; categorization, grouping, metadata, etc. Once you have architected your information, it simplifies the presentation of that information.

Create content scopes (result sources) to group information for aggregate presentation and ad-hoc search. You can then utilize the new faceted filtering (refinement) features of SharePoint 2013 to refine the scoped content and produce highly relevant set of results; to support various business contextual needs.

More on this in later articles!

SharePoint 2013 Intranet Management, Design and Architecture Training

These ten elements are defined, in detail, in my SharePoint 2013 Management, Design and Architecture Training Course.  For those of you who recall my Information Architecture (#IA) course for #SharePoint 2010, this new course expands on all the new features of both on-premise and Office 365 environments.

If you are interested in learning more about how to implement a #SharePoint 2013 Intranet solution, please register for our next class.

10 Key Elements of Enterprise Information Architecture (#IA) – #2 Understanding

This article is the second in a series of ten that will help you better understand the 10 key elements of Enterprise Information Architecture.  To read the first article and the complete table of contents in this series, please click here.

Understanding Information
Understanding information is the most important aspect of Information Architecture. Before we can create solutions around information, we must thoroughly understand how people use, think about and value it. This understanding of information can then drive solution implementation prioritization, trust in its accuracy/use and ability to aid with and improve day-to-day business operations.

Understanding information leads to:

  • How people think about and value information
  • How information is used by people and processes
  • How information is stored and managed
  • Identification of information ownership, responsibility and accountability
  • Standard naming conventions
  • Reduction in term ambiguity

05.03.02 - Contract Term
Most people use terms and names that have meaning to them. For example, when an employee in IT uses the term Contract, they could be referring specifically to a Service Level Agreement (SLA) Contract. As humans, we may be able to automatically derive the understanding of a topic by applying scope and context.

Using the previous example; I am talking to an IT employee about server down time, I understand the term Contract means SLA. If I am unclear, I ask!

Unfortunately, technology doesn’t have the ability to automatically derive this level of scope and context. For technology to support the various contextual needs, we must categorize and label information; i.e. the basis and need for Information Architecture.

As Information Architects, there are many techniques that can be used to better understand how information is used. Having a thorough understanding of how information is used in day to day business operations is critical to designing and building a SharePoint solution that ultimately adds value.

Unfortunately, we cannot be experts in all areas of business within our organization. As such, the best approach to understanding information is to ask the experts. You will gain a wealth of knowledge by interviewing business domain SME’s, users (consumers), vendors and customers.

Most individuals in an organization are busy and may not have ample time describing what they do and how they do it. In many cases, you can better prepare yourself for these conversations through self-education. A wealth of information and knowledge can be derived by inventorying existing file structures, file naming conventions and supporting systems.

If your organization has search tools, review and assess logs; many times this can provide you with insight in to what consumers are search for.

Techniques for understanding information include:

  • Interview domain subject matter experts (SME’s)
    • Business domain SME’s, Users, Vendors, Customers, etc.
  • “Day in the life of” scenarios
  • Card sorting sessions
  • Inventory content
    • Assess, audit, refine, prioritize, label and categorize
  • Often file structure hierarchies and existing website navigation taxonomies aid in understanding how users currently categorize and think about their content
  • Review search logs

Often, as IT personnel, we fall in to the “build it and they will follow” trap. This is a recipe for failure with these types of solutions. Remember, our user base has had free access to all their content when stored on file shares, local drives and other repositories. To simply pickup their content from those repositories and drop it in to SharePoint adds no business value at all. In fact, doing so makes managing their documents more complex. For our user base to see value in using a more complex approach to managing their documents, we must add business value. The only way to add business value is to understand their information and how it is used. Only then can we transform the way information is used and improve/streamline day-to-day business operations.

SharePoint 2013 Intranet Management, Design and Architecture Training

These ten elements are defined, in detail, in my SharePoint 2013 Management, Design and Architecture Training Course.  For those of you who recall my Information Architecture (#IA) course for #SharePoint 2010, this new course expands on all the new features of both on-premise and Office 365 environments.

If you are interested in learning more about how to implement a #SharePoint 2013 Intranet solution, please register for our next class.

Content Categorization – Common Categorization and Grouping Mistake

Staying in alignment with my 10 Key Elements of Enterprise Information Architecture, this article will describe a common categorization and grouping mistake I see on a regular basis.

With regards to content categorization and grouping, a common mistake I see is storing and managing all documents of similar type, across ownership boundaries, in to a single site or library. This type of content grouping considers the consumer only, not the content owners or contributors. For example, I often see a site with a single library to store and manage all corporate policy documents. Using this approach causes many issues; including:

  • All policy document content owners, across department boundaries, must navigate to the policy site/library to add, edit or delete their owned policy documents. Doing this requires them to leave their departmental content domain.
  • Because all policy documents are stored in a single location, typically custom development efforts must be applied to ensure a consistent security model. Meaning, policy document owners can add, edit and delete only their own policy documents. Such custom development efforts can be very time consuming, dip deep in to your implementation budget and require on-going maintenance.
  • Again, because all policy documents are stored in a single location, typically custom new document provisioning, document edit, document delete, review and approval workflow must be developed.

05.03.01.01 - Aggregation for Consumers
It is important to consider the consumer of content. However, long before this, you must consider the content owner and contributor. One of the top factors for implementing successful Intranets is to consider the storage and management of content first. If we don’t simplify the storage and management of content, adoption and use will be minimized.

Duplicating the approach above, now your users will need to navigate to many different locations to manage their content.  Often, I see these business owners need to maintain many bookmarks to all the various sites where they manage content. This can, and will, become difficult to manage and can reduce solution adoption.

An optional approach is to store and manage the content as close to the point of ownership as possible. In the example above, policy documents should be stored and managed in the owning departments site. This eliminates many of the issues related to a central point used to store all related documents. Storing content as close to the point of ownership as possible has the following benefits:

  • Content owners and contributors don’t need to remember where content is stored.
    • They simply go to their department site (or sub-site) and manage the policy documents they own.
    • Security can be configured such that all departmental content owners and contributors can manage the policy documents as needed. These departmental content owners and contributors cannot change any other departments policy documents; and vice versa.
  • No custom coding is necessary to support a complex item-level security model.
  • Others changing content they don’t own is greatly reduced.
  • Single source of truth is maintained.
  • Higher degree of confidence and adoption will be improved.
  • There is no need for complex review and approval workflows. Most of these can be created using out-of-box workflows or SharePoint Designer.
  • Maintenance is significantly lower.

05.03.01.01 - Storage for Contributors
I would imagine your next question will be; How do I create a aggregate view of all corporate policies for the consumers of our organization? That would be a great question and it involves simple Information Architecture techniques.

Create a Policy Document content type and assign it to each departmental document library named Policy Documents. The only type of document that can be stored in the Policy Documents library are those of Policy Document. Once complete, it is a simple process to aggregate all documents, of type Policy Document, to a consumer site or page. The consumer site or page doesn’t have any content stored at all, it’s simply a dashboard displaying an aggregate view of all policy documents.

Using the content search or search web parts, the consumer aggregate view can be grouped by department and faceted filtering can be applied.

Using this approach, considering the content owner and contributor, should be the first on your list. Implement your solution using sound Information Architecture techniques, such as the one described above, and you do so much more with your corporate content.

Consider hiring a solid Information Architect next time. I promise the overall implementation time and costs will be lower and the value of your information use improved…

SharePoint 2013 Intranet Management, Design and Architecture Training

These ten elements are defined, in detail, in my SharePoint 2013 Management, Design and Architecture Training Course.  For those of you who recall my Information Architecture course for SharePoint 2010, this new course expands on all the new features of both on-premise and Office 365 environments.

If you are interested in learning more about how to implement a SharePoint 2013 Intranet solution, please register for our next class.

 

10 Key Elements of Enterprise Information Architecture (#IA) – #1 Content Categorization

This article is the first in a series of ten that will help you better understand the 10 key elements of Enterprise Information Architecture (#IA).

Information Architecture consists of many techniques and principals that are required to ultimately add value to day-to-day business operations. When we look at everything involved with Information Architecture, it can be overwhelming and complex. For these reasons, I have broken down Information Architecture in to the following 10 Key Elements. These are by no means all inclusive but what can be considered the most important.

  1. Content Categorization (this article)
    Content Categorization – Common Categorization and Grouping Mistake
  2. Understanding
  3. Presentation
  4. Evolution
  5. Responsibility
  6. Process
  7. Metadata
  8. Search
  9. Security
  10. Governance

Content Categorization

In this first article, we will focus on Content Categorization.  It is the first of the 10 Key Elements of Enterprise Information Architecture and , surprisingly, the one that is most often overlooked.

If you currently have SharePoint installed in your environment and are encountering issues, such as little organization, users unable to find their content, low adoption rate, etc., then you have most likely implemented your solution with little to no Information Architecture.

Content Categorization and classification is the process by which we identify and group content.  One key success factor for all SharePoint implementations is to reduce, if not eliminate, the question “where do I store and manage my content”.  Content Categorization and classification aids with this by providing a specific location and manner by which users store and manage their content.

Content Categorization and classification is one of the primary ways we query content for improved search relevancy and aggregation.

Content Classification
Content Classification consists of labeling types of content using labels that precisely describe what the content is. For example instead of all documents being labeled as merely a Document type, we classify our documents with more precise labels; such as Policy Document, Client Contract Document, Vendor Contract Document, Project Plan Document, Medical Benefit Document, etc.

Content Classification in SharePoint is accomplished by using content types. A content type defines a single data type, such as Policy Document, and supports associating metadata, a template document, workflow and policies.

05.03.01 - Policy Document Content Type

Once your content has been classified, it becomes a relatively simple process to create search scopes (result sources) and points of aggregation. For example, it is quite easy to create a result source containing all documents of type Policy Document. We can then search all documents of type Policy Document and/or aggregate all Policy Documents to a policy book.

Content Grouping
Grouping consists of grouping content of similar type. For example a document library, in SharePoint, named Documents really doesn’t have much meaning and certainly doesn’t tell a user what is stored in it. However, a document library named Policy Documents or Benefit Documents clearly defines what is contained within.

05.03.01 - Policy Documents Library

Another example would be a Meeting Documents library, on a project site. The Meeting Documents library might contain meeting agenda, meeting minutes and meeting action items documents. In this example, the Meeting Documents is the document grouping principal and is a container for managing all documents related to project meetings.

Content Grouping isn’t limited to lists and libraries. Each container level in SharePoint can be used to apply grouping principals. Each of the following is a grouping container in SharePoint.

  • SharePoint Farm – The top-most grouping level in SharePoint.       A corporate solution will have 1 to many SharePoint farms.
    • Web Application – Each SharePoint farm will include 1 to many web applications.
      • Site Collection – Each web application will contain 1 to many site collections.
        • Top-level Site – Each site collection will have a single top-level site.
          • List – Each top-level site can have 0 to many lists.
          • Document Library – Each top-level site can have 0 to many document libraries.
            • Folder – Each library can have 0 to many folders. (See Note Below)
          • Sub-sites – Each top-level site can have 0 to many sub-sites.
            • List – Each sub-site will have 0 to many lists.
            • Document Library – Each sub-site can have 0 to many document libraries.
              • Folder – Each library can have 0 to many folders. (See Note Below)

 

As you can see there are many grouping levels that can be applied to your SharePoint implementation. Each of these grouping levels has a very specific purpose and is used for many different reasons.

The goal is to reduce the use of folders and expand them to document libraries instead. It is also very common to group similar information, by topic, by site. For example, you may wish to have a sub-site, below the top-level site for each department, titled Policies & Procedures. This site would contain many lists and libraries all related to human resources policies & procedures; i.e. policy documents, procedure documents, FAQ’s, glossary terms, etc.

Note About Library Folders

The regular use of folders in libraries is not considered a best practice. There are very specific cases when folders do make sense and are used; however, these cases are limited.

SharePoint 2013 Intranet Management, Design and Architecture Training

These ten elements are defined, in detail, in my SharePoint 2013 Management, Design and Architecture Training Course.  For those of you who recall my Information Architecture course for SharePoint 2010, this new course expands on all the new features of both on-premise and Office 365 environments.

If you are interested in learning more about how to implement a SharePoint 2013 Intranet solution, please register for our next class.

SMPDA - Records Management and SharePoint 2013 - Slide 1

SharePoint Saturday Sacramento 2014 – Slide Deck

The SharePoint Saturday Sacramento 2014 event was a great success this year.  I’m not sure what the final head-count was, but there were a lot of attendees, great sessions and vendors.

Thank you, again, to everyone who made this such a great event…

My session was on the topic of Records Management and SharePoint 2013.  Here is the deck I delivered.

SPMDA – Records Management and SharePoint 2013

SMPDA - Records Management and SharePoint 2013 - Slide 1

SharePoint Saturday Sacramento – May 31, 2014

 

spsevents250x250SHAREPOINT SATURDAY

May 31, 2014

Sacramento

 

The Northern California SharePoint Community is proud to host the 3rd SharePoint Saturday Sacramento

Join fellow SharePoint colleagues in attending over 25 sessions presented by MVPs, MCMs and other SharePoint leaders. Topics include:

  • SharePoint 2013/2010
  • Office 365 / SPO
  • Business Intelligence
  • Case Studies
  • Search
  • Social & Mobile with SharePoint Reporting
  • And more …

This event is FREE and open to the public. Network, learn and immerse yourself in tips, tricks and ideas from leading SharePoint Experts from around the country.

WHERE & WHEN
Patrick Hayes Learning Center
2700 Gateway Oaks Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833

Saturday, May 31, 2014
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PST)

REGISTRATION
Registration is required to attend.
http://spssac2014.eventbrite.com

Admission: Free

Continental breakfast, snacks and lunch are included. Parking is free, but space is limited.

Register now at http://spssac2014.eventbrite.com

arma

Northern California ARMA Seminar Panel Member

On March 6, 2014, I will be a panel member at the Northern California ARMA Seminar.  I am honored the Northern California ARMA would invite me to be a panel member and am looking forward to it.

At this seminar, we will be focusing on Records Management and I have been asked to attend and share my experiences with Records Management in SharePoint.

This should be very informative and I hope to see you there!

Register for this Event Here

Who is ARMA?
ARMA International is a not-for-profit professional association and the authority on governing information as a strategic asset.

The association was established in 1955. Its approximately 27,000+ members include information managers, information governance professionals, archivists, corporate librarians, imaging specialists, legal professionals, IT managers, consultants, and educators, all of whom work in a wide variety of industries, including government, legal, healthcare, financial services, and petroleum in the United States, Canada, and more than 30 other countries around the globe.
ARMA International offers invaluable resources such as: •Legislative and regulatory updates
•Standards and best practices
•Technology trends and applications
•Live and Web-based education
•Marketplace news and analysis
•Books & videos on managing records and information
•Global network of 27,000+ information management professionals and more than 10,000 professional members

ARMA International publishes Information Management magazine, the only professional journal specifically for professionals who manage information as part of their job description. The award-winning IM magazine is published bi-monthly and features articles on the hottest topics in information governance today, as well as marketplace news and analysis.

The association also develops and publishes standards and guidelines related to records management. It was a key contributor to the international records management standard, ISO-15489.

InformationArchitecture259x200

Factors that Drive the Success of Information Use

There are many factors that comprise the successful implementation of a SharePoint solution.  Regardless of what it is you are building, the following key success factors apply.

  1. Ease the Pains Associated with Storing and Managing Information
  2. Provide Meaningful and Accurate Information to Consumers
  3. Promote the Agile Evolution of Information Use
  4. Governance
  5. Education

Each of these Key Success Factors is described in more detail below.

Ease the Pains Associated with Storing and Managing Information

First and foremost, your information must be stored in a manner that is consistent, easy to understand and easy to maintain.  Without information, you wouldn’t have the need for a content management solution and without easing the pains associated with storing and managing this information, Contributors will be less likely to use the solution.

There are specific techniques that can be used when implementing SharePoint that can simplify the contribution and maintenance of information.

Content Categorization – We use content categorization to understand the types of content being stored which aids with:

  • Reducing the question “where do I store and manage this content”,
  • Provides a means to preset metadata with default values; reducing the metadata values that must be manually entered by a user, and
  • Search scoping, information aggregation and metadata filtering.

Without adding some level of structure to your content, you will accomplish little.  Storing and managing your content using the same approach as what was found on file shares adds zero value.  You will eventually end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of sites.  Many of those sites will have document libraries with many folders and sub-folders.  Users will quickly be uncertain to where content should be stored.  Managing unstructured content without any level of categorization will always lead to diminishing adoption, frustration and distrust in the technology.

Take the time to categorize your content, apply grouping principals and governing rules for appropriate use and you will be working towards a solution users adopt and become more efficient executing day to day business operations.

Understanding – The implementation team must have a thorough understanding of the content to be managed; thus implementing a solution that is consistent and eliminates ambiguity.

For example, the term Contract can have many definitions in an organization; Employee Contract, Customer Contract, Vendor Contract, etc.  These contract examples have entirely different meanings, uses and associated processes.  By thoroughly understanding the information, a solution can be appropriately architected to eliminate this type of ambiguity.

Responsibility – The responsibility of information belongs in the hands of the information owners.  When we implement solutions that aid in the ownership and responsibility of managing information, that information is more likely to be fresh, up to date and accurate.

Process – Information only has real value when it is used in actions and to facilitate decisions:

  • Improved decision-making
  • Simplify work and information flows
  • Achieving action plans and change initiatives
  • Developing information value chains
  • Maximizing use of information

Making process an integral part of architecture is a great way of adding value to your business.

Metadata – Metadata allows you to store and manage instance specific information for your content.  For example, having the ability to store the date of a meeting with the meeting minutes document will allow you to quickly locate that meeting document by meeting date.  And, storing the value of a contract with each customer contract document would allow you to filter all customers that have executed a contract greater than $100,000; which might aid with a marketing effort.

Many fear the use of metadata as there is a belief it is too much work for the user when uploading a new document or adding a new item to a list.  Various techniques can be utilized to overcome these fears.  These techniques include (but are not limited to):

  • Using appropriate information architecture, categorization and grouping principals, will allow you to configure default metadata values.  This eliminates the need for a user to input the metadata value but allows it to be present for search, faceted filtering, aggregation, workflow decision and triggers, etc.

An example of this would be a Project Number metadata column associated with a project document.  If you have all documents, associated with a specific project, managed in a site, you already know the project number and can configure a default value; i.e. the Project Number.

  • User education is also a very important technique.  The more your users understand the value of metadata, the more likely they will be to ensure metadata values are accurate.

Demonstrate the value of metadata to your users by setting up a POC and show them search results with and without the use of metadata.  Demonstrate faceted filtering and advanced search with and without the use of metadata.  It is a powerful message.

Metadata is also the primary means by which users can filter aggregate views of content; this is known as faceted filtering.

Provide Meaningful and Accurate Information to Consumers

Virtually all employees in your organization will consume information to support their specific day to day business needs.

The consumption of information will be determined by a specific contextual need.  For example, an employee may wish to search your Intranet for the latest parking policy or a project team member may wish to find notes for a meeting that occurred two months ago.

When considering the consumption of information, we also must consider how it will be presented to those consumers; search results and aggregate views are but only a few that will be required.  Other means of presenting information will include dashboards, printed reports, charts, etc.

The only means by which we can query information and produce accurate search results, faceted filtering, aggregate views, dashboards, printed reports, charts, etc. is by first architecting the information; so we know what it is we are querying.  Without this, none of this will be possible!

Promote the Agile Evolution of Information Use

There are many factors that drive the adoption and evolution of information use.  Of these, the most critical include:

Managing the Change of Information – Information is changing on a regular basis; project documents change and evolve, employee handbook and corporate policies are in a constant state of evolution.  Architecting your content management solution to facilitate the evolution of information is critical.

Work-in-Progress versus Published Information – During the process of information creation and collaboration, the state of that information is considered work-in-progress.  The solution must provide the means to determine work-in-progress versus published.  In some cases this is delivered using content versioning or security.  In other cases it requires a more complex means of disseminating the information.

Keeping Information Fresh and Up to Date – It is the responsibility of information owners to keep information fresh and up to date.  If the information in your content management solution is allowed to become stagnant and out of date, consumers are less likely to visit your Intranet and information consumption.

Versioning – An advanced content management solution provides the ability to version your content, view and roll-back to previous versions.  The lifecycle of content management requires this functionality.

Archival and Destruction – When information has reached the end of its lifecycle, often it is archived and/or destroyed.  This applies to all information in your environment, not just corporate records.  Thoroughly understanding the lifecycle (creation, evolution and eventual destruction) of information is a critical element of information architecture.

Governance

Governance of your information management solution comes in many forms; policies, procedures, processes, guidelines and education.  Without governance all of your hard work architecting a solid solution will eventually crumble.  The negative consequences are too many to list in this article.

The primary elements of information and solution governance falls in the following categories:

Infrastructure Governance – In most organizations, there is sufficient infrastructure governance; server builds, patches and update schedules, SLA’s and so on.  The infrastructure to support your SharePoint installation will mostly fall within this existing governance.

Solution Configuration and Customization Governance – Configuration and customization governance is equally important as the infrastructure governance.  Implementing processes and controls to appropriately manage change, meeting up-time SLA’s, is critical.

Solution Use Governance – It is here where most implementation teams fall short.  Governing the use of your SharePoint implementation is a means to keep configuration consistent.

Often I hear a department director or manager demand they have administrative rights to their department site.  In most cases, giving a non-technical user administrative rights to anything in SharePoint, is a huge mistake.  There are so many things that can, and will, go wrong in this scenario.  Here are a couple examples:

  • Because the non-technical user doesn’t understand the security model, they inadvertently give access to the wrong users.  I have see employee salary information exposed in this exact situation.
  • Consider a non-technical user creating a new document library and not using the data types (content types) your implementation team configured.  Now that same non-technical user uploads policy documents to this new library.  These policy document won’t be aggregated to your corporate policy book nor could they be searched (and filtered) as other corporate policy documents are.

These are but a couple examples of insufficient use governance; there are many more negative consequences.

My recommendation is to lock your implementation down tight as can be; only allowing the implementation team to make modifications at first.  Implement a federated use governance model as you educate users with the appropriate skills to make modifications that meet your best practices, policies, procedures and guidelines.

Without governing the implementation, customization and use of your information management solution, it will evolve in an inconsistent and out of control manner and quick become of little use to the business.

Education

Education at all levels is of paramount importance.  In most business environments your users have been driven to use file shares, local drives, email systems, etc. to store and manage their information.  Moving your culture from “the way we have always done it” to a completely new environment is a very large chasm to cross.  Users must be appropriately educated to trust and use the new system.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many factors that contribute to the successful implementation, adoption and use of a SharePoint content management solution.  Installing SharePoint, configuring a few sites and throwing the keys to the kingdom over the wall will fail every time.  On the other hand, implement sound information architecture techniques, governance and education will lead you down a path of success!

If you are in need of help with your SharePoint implementation, Information Architecture, education or training, please don’t hesitate to contact me; this is what I specialize in!