Information & Data Management News

SharePoint and Data Governance: An Unlikely Alliance?

Too often in data governance there appears to be disconnect in communication between the folks involved, whether they’re internal IT team members or business stakeholders. There can be plenty of reasons for this; whether it’s that individuals have their own methods and processes for performing work, or that there’s no universal method of communication for accepting work requests or handing off work to one other.

A recent Infoverity engagement with issues similar to these led us to ponder the question: is there an easy, cost-effective way to integrate the teams’ processes and track the flow of communication? Your first thought may be to implement a new workflow application; but this raises several questions:

  • Is the ROI worth the implementation?
  • Can it be easily integrated with the enterprise’s current applications?
  • Will the end-users adopt its use, or will the learning curve be so high they’ll simply go back to their own ways?

In exploring different options and trying to minimize the problems listed above, we decided upon what initially seemed like an unlikely solution: Microsoft SharePoint.

You’re probably wondering: how can SharePoint benefit a data governance initiative? If you’re like me, your experience with SharePoint has probably been little more than using it as a simple document repository; usually an unorganized mess of nested folders, from which you struggle to find the right document. It seems that with the exception of higher costs and a slicker interface, many enterprises’ use of SharePoint offers little more than what a shared network drive could – which raises an additional question: how can we add more value to our SharePoint investment?

Let’s answer both questions: SharePoint workflows.

No doubt other workflow applications may offer more specialized functionality; but why invest heavily into a workflow application when you can take advantage of something you’re already paying for? If SharePoint is your primary document repository and your users are familiar with its interface, then half the battle is already over! All that’s left to do is map out the processes across the data governance initiative and design the workflows using what’s already available – no large-scale application implementations required. If you’re interested in a detailed example of how this can be achieved, be sure to check out our whitepaper, “Utilizing SharePoint in Data Governance Initiatives”.

Given the options, if your organization is looking for a simple alternative, with quick roll-out, minimal learning curve, and easy integration to your current Microsoft applications, I’d contend that SharePoint workflows are a sound choice – there’s no need to buy something new if you haven’t tried what you have!

If you have questions or are interested in how your organization can re-purpose and utilize SharePoint to help increase its data governance efficiency, feel free to contact us—we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.  I’ll explore other practical applications of Sharepoint functionality in the pursuit of pervasive enterprise data governance – be sure to check back for future entries as we explore other areas in which it can be tailored to fit your data governance needs.


Justin Zaayer