Collaboration Tools Hampered by Governance Challenges

Nearly half the respondents to a survey on collaboration tools said governance is not very or not at all defined within their organizations.

While businesses are embracing collaboration suites such as Microsoft's SharePoint platform within their organizations, there is confusion over who owns the management, compliance and end-user success of these platforms, according to a survey of 1,000 SharePoint administrators and business professionals by enterprise collaboration governance, administration and migration solutions specialist Axceler.

Although 67.2 percent of respondents said SharePoint governance is extremely or very important to their business, only 26 percent admitted to having a very well-defined governance strategy, with 51 percent admitting their business has not implemented any form of governance strategy.

Nearly half the respondents (46.8 percent) said governance is not very or not at all defined within their organization. Of those with a governance plan in place, only about a third (33.5 percent) said there is a general awareness of the governance plan and ongoing strategy of how it will be managed.

"Enterprise collaboration suites like SharePoint are supposed to be enabling technologies," Axceler President and CEO Michael Alden said in a statement. "The goal of every SharePoint, Yammer or any other enterprise collaboration initiative is not to let the platform go stale, but to enable your organization to conduct more business, make quicker decisions and to do more with less resources. A governance strategy that automatically secures business data, meets all compliance standards and is directly connected to business goals will result in a higher return on investment and a more efficient work force."

The results also indicated organizations lose the opportunity to involve and engage end users in the governance process, with only 30 percent of companies connecting their governance plans with an end-user adoption strategy well or extremely well. Just 33.8 percent said their SharePoint plans directly connect with their business goals, with 60.5 percent stating their plans ranged from being neutral to not at all linked to business objectives.

When respondents were asked about the top challenges around managing SharePoint within their organization, managing security and permissions was named the No. 1 challenge (60.8 percent), followed by managing content and information storage (51.3 percent) and not having enough time to manage the application (43.8 percent).

Only 36 percent said their governance plans are extremely or very focused on retention and compliance requirements, and another 43.6 percent claimed they do not regularly run audits on usage, security, content or permissions. "With 37.7 percent of respondents stating governance is not very defined within their organization, it's critical to not ignore project management principals and involve core users in a process they understand to eliminate any confusion over the governance strategy," the report noted.