SharePoint for Intranet Governance

by Toby Ward - I like SharePoint, for all that it offers, and its simplicity of use out-of-the-box. SharePoint is replete with functionality and applications, and is the most comprehensive intranet platform on the market. It is, unfortunately, expensive, and most of the feature set that we use, and that our clients use, fall short of expectations, and often below best-of-breed. SP2010 isn’t a niche product that is supposed to be superb at web content management, or social networking; it’s a broad solution, one that has something for everybody; a solution that can please many, but not all. However, SharePoint 2013 is much improved over its predecessor.

SharePoint is part enterprise content management (ECM) solution, part portal solution, part web development platform, part social media platform. It offers many, many solutions and functions – often too much for most organizations – but it is Microsoft’s hope that it will become everything to everybody including the de facto platform for the company intranet, website(s) and extranet(s). In sum total, it is an amazingly powerful solution, but often fails to live up to expectations.


SharePoint 2010 is a good solution, if you have an abundance of time, patience… and money. SharePoint 2013, is even better, but still requires a lot of care, and investment.

From a governance perspective, SharePoint 2013 is superb, when compared to other platforms, contrary to public opinion of my work (in fact, our intranet is SharePoint 2013; use the keyword search above to seek out the case study webinar replay). It is not perfect, but no solution is.

Like the content of your website or intranet, planning and governance is technology agnostic; whether it’s SharePoint or another portal or content management platform, the necessity for and the approach to governance is the same. In short, governance lives and dies with its owners, and the rules they put in place, regardless of the technology. Governance is largely applicable to any technology platform and as such is generic to start.

When building a governance model for SharePoint, the major components should include:

  • The umbrella ownership model – Centralized? Decentralized? Collaborative?

  • Defined ownership structure (names and titles)

  • Roles and responsibilities (jobs and duties)

  • Decision making process (who is responsible for what and when)

  • Authorization (who is responsible for what and when)

  • Policy (what is allowed, and what is not allowed)

    While governance is generic in nature, regardless of the software and hardware, there are some components of SharePoint that require specific consideration. Site Collections and Team Sites are so easy to deploy, and it is so easy for even the most neophyte web users to create a site (e.g. Team Sites, My Sites, Publishing Sites, etc.), SharePoint sites can easily grow at exponential rates and amount to tens-of-thousands in a short period of time. ‘Baking’ in rules and inheritance to site collections is critical to ensuring a consistent, uniform user experience.

    These issues and others are discussed in-depth including, SharePoint governance, and some of the specific, requisite steps and policies for implementing intranet and SharePoint Governance in our free white paper, and an accompanying special webinar replay

    Intranet and SharePoint Governance


    Also see:

    SharePoint 2013: Your Questions Answered


    SharePoint 2013: Pros & Cons


    Toby Ward

    , CEO and Founder of Prescient Digital Media, is a former journalist and an social business consultant, writer and speaker. Download a free copy of his white paper,

    SharePoint Governance

    or a full, printable version of the

    Social Intranet Infographic


    Related Material:

    Watch the related webinar video "Intranet and SharePoint Governance"

    Download the accompanying whitepaper "SharePoint Governance"