Microsoft SharePoint is part of Microsoft Office 365 and is a great way for your employees to collaborate. However, if your organisation decides to work with SharePoint, it is important to think in advance about how you want to deal with the proliferation of sites. In our opinion, it is important to strike a healthy balance between a permissive and restrictive approach.

Digital chaos or shadow IT?

If you allow the number of sites to increase without any kind of monitoring, you will quickly find yourself in digital chaos. If you restrict the work of your users too much, they will find their own ways and will start working with tools and resources that are not part of the official IT policy. Before you know it, you will have important documents in Dropbox and your people will be having meetings with LinkedIn. This seems harmless enough, but it can pose a major threat from a security and privacy point of view. In the field, we basically encounter the following two approaches.

Retrospective monitoring

Some companies allow everyone to create their own sites without any form of approval. This is then monitored afterwards. The monitoring can be set up completely automatically according specific requirements. For example, if nothing seems to happen on a site for two, three or six months, an email can be sent to the site’s owner asking whether the site is still needed. If there is no response, an email will be sent to the IT department asking to check what needs to be done with the site. Even the removal of the site can be completely automatic, although most companies still like to have some form of human intervention in that regard. Of course, there may be a reason why the site owner is not responding. The site owner may not understand SharePoint, even though the line manager or colleague does.

Advance approval

Some organisations allow their employees to request a site on a specifically designed landing page. The employee visits the page and enters the site title, the site type – for example a department site, a project site or another type of site with specific functionalities – and the team members to be invited to the site. The request is then sent to the IT department. An IT member of staff checks whether the request is valid, which is mostly the case. The site is then created based on the predefined specifications, the link is sent to the requester and the team can get to work. If the request is not valid, the requester will receive an email stating why the site cannot be created. Of course, it is also important to still continue to monitor the sites afterwards. If nothing happens on a site for a long time, this is probably a sign that it is best relegated to the dust bin.

Want to find out more?

Curious about how your organisation can make optimal use of Office 365 and SharePoint Online? How can you provide one digital workplace that effortlessly combines all business applications? Please contact us for more information.