August 24, 2012 - 4:15 PM
Over the last six months or so, I have taken the time to learn about corporate governance through the reading of books, industry association articles and talking with others in public corporate ledership.
I've learned that what most within the SharePoint community call "governance" should rightly be called "management".
Putting together policies and enforcing them is not governance. It's management. Governance, properly understood, is tied to risk and compliance. If you don't have an identified risk that is mitigated by defined actions (compliance), then you don't have governance (the enforcement of compliance).
I've noticed that most of the information being pumped into the market today about governance is immature. The reality is the technical people who know the SharePoint platform well don't necessarily understand business and how it operates. I've come to see SharePoint as a business operations platform that consists of a cluster of technologies that support disparate, yet dependent processes. There is significant risk to the organization if SharePoint is implemented in a way that is inconsistent with the organization's model, culture, values, long-term vision and/or short-term vision. The problems implementing SharePoint are not about the technology - they are nearly uniformly about the business.
Dysfunction in the business model or culture will surface as a technical problem when SharePoint is implemented. It's interesting that the adoption groups within a company are usually following a pattern of the more technical groups adopting first, with the slowest-to-change groups adopting last. Age has something to do with adoption patterns too, but a poor implementation that is rejected at the adoption layer is nearly always due to a poor connection of the platform to a dysfunctional business climate.
Governance isn't going to solve this problem. Instead, the implementation of SharePoint governance will surface systemic problems in the business itself. It will be easy to blame the software rather than taking a hard look at one's own business to see where the dysfunction resides.
I'm saddened by all the governance hype. It's a profitable way for consulting companies and organizations to (unwittingly, perhaps) lead their customers astray. Governance, by itself, is not the answer. Fixing the business culture will fix most of the problems with SharePoint.
I honestly wish I had a day to explain all this. At the end of it, you would have the tools and roadmap necessary to achieve a great SharePoint implementation by working on the dysfunction in the business itself. It's not difficult to understand, but I'm finding it's pretty difficult to implement.
Ping me offline if youw want to learn more. Bill@mindsharp.com
Bill English, CEO
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