Santa’s SharePoint Governance Strategy


That’s not a typo on the title. Yes, this post is about Santa Claus using SharePoint.

It all started this morning when I came across Corasworks’ press release about how Santa is improving his business operations with SharePoint and Corasworks products.That’s not a typo on the title. Yes, this post is about Santa Claus using SharePoint.

It all started this morning when I came across Corasworks’ press release about how Santa is improving his business operations with SharePoint and Corasworks products. Owen Allen, Microsoft SharePoint ISV Partner Manager, sent a tweet about it which I responded and asked: “What does Santa’s sharepoint governance + adoption plan look like?”

Which brings us to this blog post

We all know that SharePoint governance by definition is a set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes to guide, direct, and control how SharePoint is used to accomplish business goals. The problem with a lot of organizations today is that they forget the last three words of the definition. In a lot of SharePoint implementations, SharePoint governance is a Word document template that people download from MSDN (no offense Joel), they pass it around to be filled-in via email and then stamp it as their ‘official’ SharePoint Governance Plan. We all know what happens next.

Fortunately, Santa knows better. In fact, he is a strategic executive decision maker because prior to implementing SharePoint, he made sure that he understood what the platform meant to his organization and not make the mistake of deploying it haphazardly. Realizing that his enterprise will rely on SharePoint for the long haul, he engaged experts to help him identify key business pain points and prioritize which business needs to be addressed first. This is evident in the list of applications identified in the Corasworks press release.

Part of his governance challenge is the amount of organizational information that he has. Imagine being in business for a long period of time? During governance planning, key questions that came up:

– How much of your information is referential vs collaborative?
– Any legal compliance considerations?
– Who will be accessing the information?


Shaping the Governance Strategy

For example, how SharePoint will be utilized for document management and collaboration at Santa’s organization is defined by the following:

Tightly Controlled

Information in SharePoint that are tightly controlled includes formal documents like HR policy manual, archived naughty and nice lists, and letters from children around the world. The elves and raindeers might be able to see it, however, only Santa and his management team can create, change or update these formal corporate information.

Limited Control

Year round Santa has a lot of projects going on that all leads to being able to better deliver his presents during Christmas eve. He has a lot of project managers helping him in these initiatives. So for project related information, his PMs are empowered to leverage SharePoint by creating their own project specific sites with predefined project artifacts and templates. By allowing them to create sites and not having IT do this is a win-win for both the business and IT. So for these type of initiatives, controlling SharePoint is limited and users are empowered.

Btw,I heard that the PMs at North Pole thoroughly enjoyed “SharePoint for Project Management”; so make sure it’s on your Christmas wish list =)

User Controlled

To encourage collaboration in his organization, users (mostly elves) can leverage tools like meeting workspaces to effectively engage and share business relevant information regardless if it’s a formal initiative or ad-hoc. In fact, IT or higher level management does not have to be involved in providing these tools.

Let’s Not Forget the Technology

After the strategy is defined, then it’s appropriate to define technical governance around SharePoint. Site taxonomies, who can access what, record management policies, disaster recovery, etc.

Once it’s all said and done, Santa realized that SharePoint Governance is not one end of the pendulum (Draconian IT Control) or the other (Wild Wild West Chaos). He knew that it’s all about accomplishing business goals which requires key decision makers getting together and collaboratively defining how SharePoint is leveraged that will empower business users and most importantly, best serve all the kids anticipating their Christmas presents come December 24. Did I answer your question, Owen?

Have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

7 thoughts on “Santa’s SharePoint Governance Strategy

  1. Great stuff as usual Dux! Governance will always be an issue since we’re all typically lazy bums and want to get things done fast. Governance requires us to plan and take action. That’s no fun.

  2. Santa as a ‘business man’. hmmm

    His entirely not for profit organization spends 364 days a year building toys for children around the world (massive numbers in terms of resource costs and personnel) and then travels across the entire world extremely fast and delivers all of these toys IN ONE NIGHT.

    From a capability, and planning perspective to accomplish all that is extraordinarily impressive. So I have no doubt Santa has by far the single best project management, flawless execution/scheduling, and surely is using SharePoint to help coordinate, collaborate, and communicate with his staff (does MS give him free licensing?). So his SharePoint Governance Strategy really would be top notch.

    Then again…. in terms of a business strategy, I don’t know how good his business strategy really is since he can’t be making much profit and must be accruing massive cost/debt with the elves…

    Then again, he does get a lot of cookies, letters, and has amazing PR. Guess it depends on what his business goals are.

    Just some random thoughts,
    Richard Harbridge

    P.S – The reasoning outlined in this article is absolutely true, understanding and a clear strategy are necessary before effective technical governance can be possible.

  3. Luckily Santa has always been a very wise elf. One of his strongest skills has always been a disciplined approach to his work. Can you imagine getting around the world in just one night without a well laid out plan and solid processes?

    He also added to his Governance plan who would be able to build/modify apps and how many sites, lists, or items can be crawled and returned by any of the elf builders.

    This allows him to ensure that IT has control over operations while giving power into the hands of the elves that need it

    While this is not what many think of when they create a Governance plan, it allows Santa to maintain control so that his MOST important operation (delivering the toys) isn’t interrupted by some elf playing 🙂

  4. Santa ain’t no SharePoint slouch. Governance, tho often(read normally), overlooked is as important as the crust for the pecan pie. Leaving out or skipping a “key” ingredient will always result in an unsatisfactory results. Santa knows that deploying SharePoint without a governance plan is very naughty. I think lots of businesses might get a lump of coal in their stocking. This would be akin to moving furniture into your house before the roof and carpeting were in place. Remember, everything at it’s time and place for proper results. Merry Christmas to all and to all a Great Governance plan!!!

  5. Their Data Integration toolset allows you to build rich business applications and dashboards, without writing your own code, by surfacing data from any external data source on to your SharePoint platform.

  6. This allows him to ensure that IT has control over operations while giving power into the hands of the elves that need it While this is not what many think of when they create a Governance plan, it allows Santa to maintain control so that his MOST important operation (delivering the toys) isn’t interrupted by some elf playing 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s