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Guest Post: 3 tips to achieving a fully governed SharePoint platform

Following up on a great customer session a few weeks ago  presenting jointly with Microsoft at an Commercial Sector customer briefing with the guys at Automated Intelligence, it's great to be able to share with you Simon Cole, Automated Intelligence's Chief Technology Officer,  thoughts on Information Governance and 3 really valuable tips he is going to share with us for achieving a fully governed SharePoint platform through improved user productivity.

Simon has fifteen years of experience in the Enterprise Content Management Industry.  In 2010 he co-founded Automated Intelligence, a highly acclaimed software company which developed a new innovative approach for the information management market capitalising on cloud and hybrid delivery models.  The vision was to provide enterprise software solutions to cut data costs and improve data management, efficiencies and compliance.

I hope you enjoy what Simon has to share with us and check out the company and the great tools they have to offer:

3 tips to achieving a fully governed SharePoint platform through improved user productivity

Getting users on board with an information governance strategy is difficult. In fact, it is nearly impossible unless it somehow brings a tangible benefit to their daily activity. They work, they collaborate, they drive the organisation’s results, wouldn’t it be great if all of this could be done in a single, familiar environment that is fully governed? In reality, for any organisation aspiring to maximise efficiency and productivity there is no other option. The great news is that organisations can take a number of simple steps in order to gain a fully governed platform that by nature will steer their users towards maximum productivity within Microsoft SharePoint. 

Lead from a high level

It is important for information governance teams to ensure that they have stakeholder buy-in from the very top of the organisation right from the outset of a project. This involves aligning the vision of the project with the vision of the organisation. Aligning both, ensures that all compliance regulations across the business can be acknowledged, prioritised and met as appropriate. Involving key influencers from the outset can ensure the project gets the focus, resources and critical support throughout its duration. Governance is never the objective, but, should be part of a much wider strategy that underpins the corporate vision.

Understanding the users & how they work

While the information governance / records management policy is critical and will be the measure of the success of the platform, it is equally as important to gain buy-in from the users. All of the users. Those who are proficient in their use of technology right through to those who hold the mouse upside down because they thought the cord was representing its tail (AKA my mother-in-law). Garnering adoption and buy-in from across the user base will determine how successful the overall project will be. It is for this reason that the strategy must be tailored around the users, how they do their jobs, the platforms that they work in and the information that they require.  It is important to focus in terms of how people are going to interact with the system and making sure that it is not a burden. Information governance and records management must not be the responsibility of the user, but instead it must be a by-product that is automatically applied to the system that they are already using.

We have worked with many organisations who have a very good records management plan however due to the lack of user buy-in and adoption, the systems are completely unused. This highlights the importance of creating a system that is familiar to the user, requires little or no training and is intuitive to the point that any user can use the system. If we achieve this, we will have a platform where users can work, store and collaborate whilst abiding by the information governance strategy. There is an abundance of standards, guidance and best practice. In our experience, the management of the information and records is not the problem. The greatest challenge is making sure the information and records are in the right place to manage in the first place.

Ensuring the system is not the reason for its own existence

The system must be populated logically with the information that the users require. There is no value in providing your users with a SharePoint system that contains no information and expecting them to continue with business as usual on the new governed platform. In fact, this can be detrimental to the overall project as users will begin their use with a negative perception.

It is important therefore to ensure the migration strategy is in place and in-keeping with the information governance strategy. Users will go where their information is. Restricting access to legacy interfaces and platforms whilst ensuring the most relevant and current information is in the new SharePoint platform is key to driving adoption and better governance.

In conclusion, it is important that organisations put the right people in place and take time at the beginning of a new governance initiative to evaluate the current system. From that, they will be able to establish how and why their users work in a way that they do, making sure that the new system is an improvement on the old system.  Organisations must provide a solution that meets the overall information governance requirements while at the same time providing the users with a system focused on their needs and populated with the data that they require. To ensure implementation is successful for the organisation and the user, this data should be governed by the appropriate regulations i.e. security markings and permissions as well as meet the way in which the users work. By taking these steps it will not only provide a more compliant governed solution that is naturally adopted by the users but will in fact increase productivity and accelerate the success of the overall project. 

For more information on how to achieve a fully governed SharePoint platform and improved user productivity go to

One easy way to encourage user productivity is through email integration, find out for yourself by registering for a free trial of Automated Intelligence’s email integration tool for SharePoint.