Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IT vs Business: SharePoint permissions strategy

Recently I have ensured again that the main challenge for SharePoint professional in an organisation is the business processes setting up. There is no problem to organise corporate information and to build information architecture. There is no problem to provide shared workplaces for the business teams. Even there is no problem to automate existing processes. The problem is to set up correct business process when there is nothing existing.

Lets take some common process of permissions management. IT guys would like to control everything and would like to manage each particular operation with sensitive data. And this approach may be useful, but not for collaboration. In SharePoint all contents is the collaborative asset. So, the main business value of that system is sharing and team work with the documents. The mandatory condition here is a read-write access to document for each team member. The real life systems, unfortunately, rarely meet this simple condition.

Commonly I met situation when all SharePoint permissions managing by IT Service Desk. This does mean that SharePoint system administrator receiving 50 tickets each day with sentences like “I need access to sales report for March of 2011”, “Why I unable to read the corporate financial statement” or “Could you please remove that party photo where I am dancing on a table”. And our system administrator have no idea where this files located. So, he or she have two options: find file and grant the access or ask a team leader whether the person should have the access. In the first scenario it is obvious that corporate security not working – each employee can have the access if asking. In the second scenario the ticket returning back to business representative for approvement.

We have more requests, more bureaucracy, more time, more routine work for IT, less value for the business, less satisfaction with IT department, less satisfaction with SharePoint. And the only reason for that is the total control for IT guys and misunderstanding of the base principles of collaborative environment.

Common SharePoint permissions strategy