Is SharePoint governance more than a buzz word?

May 30, 2013

Last week I was speaking at SharePoint Conference Ukraine in Kiev. The conference content owners had picked SharePoint governance from my suggested list of topics, and I tried to put together several examples to highlight what governance is and what it is not.

What struck me as I was preparing was the idea that the term itself (“SharePoint governance”) is somewhat unique across all Microsoft applications. Have you ever heard about Exchange Server governance? Or Dynamics CRM governance? Even with SharePoint, the term appeared in late 2007 – early 2008 and was quickly picked up by the community. Thanks to internet search technologies, we can see the relative frequency of use for terms “SharePoint governance” and “Exchange governance” in the IT related sources over time:


You cannot really see ANY mention of Exchange governance – why is this so? Do users share less sensitive content over email? Are there fewer business risks associated with email compared to SharePoint? Less need in protecting personal information, controlling exponential growth, complying with content retention requirements?

Obviously, no. Companies have to govern all of the IT infrastructure to adequately address the business needs and maintain controllable and predictable costs. For whatever reason the term resonated so well only with the SharePoint community.

Does this mean SharePoint governance is only a buzz word that various Microsoft partners are glad to use to sell their services and tools? What do you think?

P.S. In my conference talk I tried to give examples why it might be a good idea to start thinking about SharePoint governance. Here’re the slides (in Russian).

P.P.S. Once again, many thanks to the entire SharePoint Conference Ukraine team and personally to Anton Vityaz. Hope to see you in Kiev next spring!


3 Responses to “Is SharePoint governance more than a buzz word?”

  1. Hi Ilia, this a very interesting and thought provoking subject. I would love to read more about your work on it.

    “SharePoint Governance”
    Is it a buzz word used and misused by partners? – Yes. Is it only a buzz word? – No.

    I would think governance has always been around and is crucial for any (not just IT) initiative. It is also something which is not a one-size-fits-all. We have to ensure that we have the right amount of flexibility for our needs.

    SharePoint and Cloud are the biggest things to happen after internet became ubiquitous. Any trend in them is widely written about and is all over the social sphere quite quickly. In the hey days of exchange, policies were used for governance but the search volumes would have been lot lesser in those days. Today email, and as a consequence exchange, are commodities with an established governance pattern. It is no longer on people’s To Do list. SharePoint on the other hand is something that people are still trying to get their arms around and still has a lot of potential. Many terms are rediscovered and they resonate better with SharePoint as it really is a platform capable of many things.

    Another example would be “SharePoint Adoption” there were very few people that used the term before 2011 now everyone talks about it. Adoption was on the cards in the MOSS days but very few people called it that and even fewer searched about it or wrote about it.
    It is only in the last year and half that it has caught up.

    • Pradeep – thank you for the historical perspective! I totally agree, as strong as the Exchange community had always been, the whole world of communications and social media changed a lot since those days. This definitely contributes to the rise of new buzz words!

  2. […] A thought provoking blog by Ilia Sotnikov. It has an interesting graph from google trends on the term “SharePoint Governance”. Is SharePoint governance more than a buzz word?. […]

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