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Coleman Camping

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SharePoint Governance = Business Governance

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a session on SharePoint governance at the SPTechCon conference in San Francisco.  The session was presented by Bill English, the CEO of MindSharp.  He’s a very impressive authority on the use of SharePoint to drive business process and is the organizer of the SharePoint Best Practices Conference in May.  I’d recommend him to anyone that is serious about employing SharePoint to drive business process
So, governance can be a pretty dry topic.  The typical SharePoint centric governance discussion is through the lens of an IT director; roles & responsibilities, site management limitations, quotas, communication plans, etc.  Most governance plans that I’ve seen seem more focused on dictating what you can’t do, rather than documenting how your SharePoint implementation can be a utilized.  They also typically lack the ‘why’; the context of the role that SharePoint plays within the organization.
English’s session is really about three things: Risk, Compliance, and Governance. Risk is described in the context of the business, i.e. ‘what is the risk to the business if certain actions are taken, or not taken?’ Compliance indicates which actions need to be taken to ensure that the Risk does not materialize. Finally, Governance refers to the processes and procedures that ensure Compliance. So in the SharePoint context, Governance can be viewed as an element of SharePoint management.
Another observation from the session is that SharePoint is very good at exposing business model gaps.  Information workers have the ability to manage business processes and script workflows in SharePoint with ease. When a flawed (or sometimes dysfunctional) business model is presented through SharePoint the issue may be perceived as a technology issue, not a business issue.

We’ve essentially run our business from our SharePoint platform since the SharePoint '07 release became available.  It's been an invaluable tool for us.  If you are using SharePoint as a platform to automate your business you'd be well served to review the syllabus for English's Governance class.  For more information on SharePoint please follow this link.

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