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Beware: SharePoint Governance and Compliance Awareness Similar to Y2k Scare

A recent report produced by AIIM suggest many companies using SharePoint do not have strategic plans and governance in place. I was horrified when I read this. Can you imagine a software system with out strategic plans and governance? How could this go on? <insert smirk and sarcastic smile here>

Many companies haven’t had governance and compliance features in place for there information systems for years. This has been true since I started working with software in the early 90’s. I would ask who cares! Sarbanes Oxley came and went. Sarbanes is still relevant as are other industry compliance standards however the weakest SharePoint deployment will get you past most audits. And if not, who cares? You’re allowed a strike. Simply spending the money on SharePoint Server shows you are trying to comply with most regulations.

Why should companies spend money on governance and acceptable use policies mentioned in the report? Remember in the 90’s when company internet sites were introduced and everyone was worried about acceptable use policy? Can you image in todays economic times spending money on consultants to draft this disclosure for you? In hindsight it turns out a couple paragraphs or pages and a link solves the issue. The same is true with SharePoint, schedule an afternoon with your legal department and the job is done.

Did I miss new legislation that could cost companies millions or billions of dollars if not compliant with <fill in the blank>? If not than why should they or we care? Legislation of content types? Really? In my opinion this is akin to riding my bike on the beach without a helmet. OMG we might have duplicated content types! What if our metadata is off? Our tags may not provide as much value! What will we do? Productivity would be off and ROI goes down the tube! Scary, scary. Give me a break please, this recent governance and compliance concern reminds me of the Y2k scare which bilked companies of billions of dollars in consulting fees.Gasp!

Last week an organization approached me because they just took a 40 million dollar hit due to cut backs in funding. A group within the organization wants to use technology to facilitate a new purchase process that will recoup 10-15 million a year. Every day that goes by this money slips away. Indulge me, how much time do you think we will spend chatting about adoption, governance and acceptable use before we move forward? User adoption is simple with this project. Make his work or we may have to lay people off because we just lost 40 million dollars.

In my opinion sophisticated governance plans, strategy documents and complex user adoption plans are like house cleaners in that they are nice to have if you can afford them. Many will tell you that SharePoint strategy and governance plans will pay for themselves with lower maintenance and higher productivity. Most CIO’s and managers I speak with are tired of hearing about soft dollar calculations and want hard dollar cost savings immediately, after all these are complex and challenging fiscal situations they are managing.

PS: If you end up with duplicate content types and unorganized metadata due to lack of governance please consider hiring your local college student for an internship. The intern will clean up the mess with little cost and will appreciate the job experience.


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