As we come to the conclusion of this five-part series on master data heroism, I would like to discuss management. Now that you have built your solution and are ready to deploy to the world-at-large you will need to manage it. Management or governance enables you to control the environment your solution is deployed to.
I do want to note here that I am a bit hesitant to use governance as a blanket term. I have often heard others use GOVERNANCE as a verb. I like to think of it as an adjective: it describes the unification and federation of Business and IT teams alike. It is an iterative process and it is a living, breathing entity. Therefore, I use the term management to describe immediate steps you can take without necessarily involving a committee. However, we will need to explore aspects of data governance to help shape our management outlook.
What We Will Cover
Since Winshuttle leverages the SharePoint platform, your solution will have a number of management options and controls. From roles and responsibilities to storage limits and audit tracking, you will have the necessary tools to properly devise a management model. We will cover these aspects referencing SharePoint best practices along with common data governance maturity models to help you think critically about your process.
Let’s focus on the SharePoint aspects of your solution. We will cover the following:
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Information Architecture
- Storage Limits
- Audit Tracking
- Site Lifecycle and Retirement
- Miscellaneous Tips
- Permissions Strategy
Roles and Responsibilities
It’s a good idea to define roles and responsibilities to reduce the chaos that can ensue on a SharePoint site when members rotate in or out of a team. Here are a few roles worth spelling out:
- Training: Basic navigation, search, and document management training can be very useful for people new to SharePoint and Winshuttle.
- Support: You might want a designated SharePoint expert on your team to troubleshoot problems and be a liaison to your IT department
- Compliance with legal or organizational guidelines: Sometimes this might be a matter of maintaining up-to-date links to the appropriate guidelines, but it’s good to have a person responsible.
Information architecture is like the table of contents for a book. To create an information architecture, you must analyze the information to be presented in the site. Here are some questions to help develop an information architecture:
- What kind of content will you have on the site? How will that translate into sub-sites, lists, libraries, and so on?
- How will information be presented in the site?
- How site users will navigate through the site?
- How will information be targeted at specific audiences?
- How will search will be configured and optimized?
- Part of your information architecture might include classification of information.
If the information you’re dealing with has high value to the company, requires special security, or is covered by regulatory compliance rules, you might want to set up a classification scheme to identify specific types of content that need to be managed carefully.
Your IT department might have limits on the amount of disc storage your group can use. You need to find out if there is a limit and, if so, decide how you will divvy up amongst your sites, pages, and libraries. (Most IT department can provide a regular report that shows how much space each of your SharePoint sites is using.) By default, SharePoint imposes a 50 MB limit on the size of a single document that can be uploaded into a document library (aspect of this changes in O365+SP). Also key defaults to be aware of are:
- Team site owners receive alerts when storage is at 90% of quota.
- SharePoint administrators can override storage quotas if necessary.
- After you know what your limits are, you can use features like version or audit tracking to ensure your site stays within them.
If you have a group of sensitive files, and it would be helpful to know how the documents were being used, you can define a policy that allows you to enable ‘Audit’ tracking of events, such as file changes, copies or deletion. Winshuttle too tracks workflow audit trails to know when a process and solution has been executed and how long it took.
Site Lifecycle and Retirement
Since SharePoint provides easy to create sites, there is a tendency to have these sites hang around after they are no longer useful. This can use up valuable storage space and muddying search results. It’s a good idea to set a schedule for reviewing sites and their contents (at least once a year) to see if they are worth keeping. (SharePoint has features, such as usage reports and information management policies, which can help with this task.)
It’s good to keep in mind, too, that your organization’s larger governance model might also be on the lookout for stale sites. For example, IT professionals at the Administrator level might automatically delete sites that have been untouched for 90 days. In most cases, as a site owner, you would receive an e-mail warning you this was going to happen.
Winshuttle and SharePoint provide powerful management tools for your environment. In the early stages of your design process it may be critical to control your script and data files in SharePoint. As you iterate through the design process, keeping track of file approval and movement is essential. The following tips allow for this discipline:
- Require document approval
- Track versions
- Permissions Strategy
The structure of the site that you start with to meet specific needs ends up being the default structure as your site grows and is required to meet other kinds of needs. This can result in permissions chaos, where everyone in the organization has full control over sites, or, every individual has to be granted permissions for every new site they need to use.
Tips for an effective permissions strategy:
- Keep these tips in mind to help create a simple, easy-to-maintain permissions strategy.
- The principle of least privilege
- Give people the lowest permission levels they need to perform their assigned tasks.
- Work with security groups
- When you give people access, add them to standard, default security groups (such as Members, Visitors, and Owners).
- Make most people members of the Members or Visitors groups.
- People in the Members group can add or remove items or documents, but they cannot change the site structure, site settings, or site appearance. People in the Visitors group have read-only access to the site, which means that they can see pages and items, and open items and documents, but cannot add or remove pages, items, or documents.
- Limit the number of people in the Owners group.
- Only people you trust to change the structure, settings, or appearance of the site should be in the Owners group.
- Organize your content to take advantage of permissions inheritance.
- Consider segmenting your content by security level – create a site or a library specifically for sensitive documents, rather than having them scattered in a larger library and protected by unique permissions.
As you can see there is a lot to consider for management and governance. For the most part, if your organization uses SharePoint today most of this has already been fleshed-out for you. However, it is still critical to think about this discipline as it pertains to the Winshuttle constituents. While you may work within SharePoint, your Winshuttle-centric data may require a more hardened approach than current standards.
As we conclude, let’s take a moment to reflect on our journey:
We started out by identifying Personas. These are the key individual contributors who help shape our solution and working environment.
Next, we explored the Persona Use Cases. Here we examined and dissected day-to-day problems of interacting with master data in SAP.
With the Design phase, we explored possible solutions to the Use Cases. By studying the requirements and back-end architecture we are able to design effective solutions.
In Usage, we were able to identify how to test our solution in a real-world scenario. Usage also helped to determine which environment our solution should reside prior to production-ready status.
Lastly, we explored our management options. Controlling policies, access and audit trails will add to the success of our solution management lifecycle.
I want to thank you for taking this journey with me. It may have been a long course but I trust you will find the information valuable as you begin your experience with the Winshuttle product line and beyond.
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