Thinking about a conversation I had back in Anaheim at the SharePoint conference, it reinforced my belief that companies (IT management) do not know how to construct and enforce a successful organizational model around SharePoint. Instead, they use legacy models such as those for Exchange, SAP and other centrally managed and administered applications. Soon the farms are out of control, administration inconsistent, information architecture and usability degrade, customizations destablize the environment, the infrastructure begins to fail due to capacity spikes, bad code leads to crashes and the navigation and search value degrades. People start to complain and point fingers.

How can you tell your organization isn’t structured properly?

  • Infighting is common
  • In consistency in management and administration
  • Poor service levels
  • Inconsistent view of who does what
  • No team work
  • Multiple points of view, conflict and or disagreement

Companies must realize that without an organizational model in place with the proper management structure, reporting, empowerment, clear descriptions of roles and demarcation points, the craziness (expenditures, turnover, service outages, in fighting, usability) will continue and most likely get worse.

So what do you do? Here are some steps and outcomes to manage to that will help you forward:

  • Establish a program (program manager) for SharePoint lead by someone with power and credibility in the business and IT.
  • The SharePoint teams report directly to the program manager.
  • The program manager reports directly to the CTO or very senior executive level manager with the power to align.
  • The program manager controls the budget and roadmap.
  • Establish a governance committee consisting of the key business (department leads such as marketing, purchasing etc…) an IT stakeholders (PMO, QA, Architecture, Operations, venders).
  • Service levels, roles and responsibilities, demarcation points are documented and communicated on a regular basis (Quarterly).
  • Tools are in place for communications for the purposes of alignment, education and reinforcement. Tools and reporting are in place to report on end user and system compliance with standards and administration policy.

To measure the success of these changes the following outcomes can be measured:

  • Service quality – availability and performance
  • The level of understanding regarding the service levels, roles and responsibilities and demarcation points
  • The # of grievance reports / non-performance incidents
  • Reduction in support costs
  • The level of administration and control settings and activity compliance
  • Improved collaboration amongst teams

As you go down this path expect a lot of resistance as you establish control, break down legacy islands of power and deal with corporate dysfunction. If you meet excessive resistance to change, escalate and if it continues its okay to admit defeat. Note that some companies are too much of a mess to help so don’t waste your time and or take it personally.