ownershioMost SharePoint environments have grown organically and as a result the ownership hasn’t been kept up to date with employees, moving, leaving and changing roles. Why be concerned? Keeping ownership up to date is critical to enforcing data and security  policy, communicating migration plans to the business areas and site users. Expect to find many out of date and requiring time and attention to update.

As discovered in Part 2, your Information Architecture for SharePoint whether it be SharePoint 201x and Office 365 or simply Office 365 is critical for several factors such as usability, scalability, compliance and begin touching on your data custodian policy (Site ownership). Focusing on this exercise to document your organizations taxonomy (organizational lingo) and incorporate data and security policy is best practice.

For Part 3, you’re tasked with updating and reporting on all the site collection owners and in some cases sub sites as well depending on how your organization has managed site ownership. In many cases the site collections are owned by a business area with two owners and an executive sponsor to satisfy security, billing and audit requirements. In some cases this ownership is fully up to date and passed audits (have reported on ownership for audits and its 100% up to date). In other cases the ownership has not been kept up to date and audits failed.

Where do you start? The steps for Part 3 include the following:

  • Generate a report on site collection ownership – this script can help if you don’t have tools in place https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/office/Get-collection-owners-for-13336f43 .
  • Have site archival process and policy ready as some site owners my ask you to delete the site collections rather than deal with the cleanup and preparation. Work with your records Management and or Compliance team.
  • Create and deploy a tool / process for updating site collection ownership. Some software venders offer tools for managing site lifecycle as opposed to developing your own which I have worked with. Here is a good blog on the topic http://community.aiim.org/blogs/mike-alsup/2011/01/31/sharepoint-information-lifecycle-governance. Here is an example of a toolset https://www.premierpointsolutions.com/products/user-request-automation-solution-for-sharepoint/ .
  • Create and deploy a communication plan to reach out to each site collection owners to 1) confirm ownership and 2) update ownership if it’s outdated. Corporate communication policy and process aside, here is an interesting script that might help http://sharepointjack.com/2013/powershell-to-build-a-mailing-list-of-every-site-owner-in-sharepoint/ . The communication must consist of a multifaceted approach for communicating as no one approach will reach the masses. Such as mangers speaking with staff, email, messages posted on corporate Intranet, lunch and learns and coffee talks.
  • Create and deploy an escalation process for situations where ownership cannot be confirmed or reassigned. Work with corporate communications and your SharePoint user group to carry out this step. It must include an executive sponsored process and policy for contacting business owners and or management to request and obtain updated owner information.
  • For those with corporate provisioning systems that are currently being used to provision sites and manage lifecycle, loop in the team that manages the system to provide you with support for your project. This support could be reporting on site ownership, archival status (Retire as opposed to migrate), updates to ownership to name a few.
  • Leverage your SharePoint user (consists of business users) group. It will help communicate site ownership updates, help you get direct business user feedback which is very important. Its surprising how many companies have not yet established an open line of communication with the business.

The team required to carry out this work consists of an executive sponsor, corporate communications officer, Corporate provisioning team, SharePoint Admin, Developer, coordinator and SharePoint Product Manager.

Simple to carry out? Well it depends on the size of your organization (1000 vs 100,000), its culture (traditional hierarchical vs. team and goal centric) and how out of date (10% vs 50%) the ownership is for site collections.

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