The Benefit of Site Owners to SharePoint

As I consult with many organizations who are implementing SharePoint they are starting fresh not knowing what awaits them on this journey many of us call SharePoint. It doesn’t matter which version you are going to install: WSS 3.0, MOSS 2007, Foundation 2010, SharePoint 2010.  All of them require the same amount of work to implement. Usually this implementation falls upon the IT department, who are usually pretty good at implementation, however when they have completed the project the business is left with questions: “What is it?”, “How can I use it?” “What are we going to do now?”.

Part of a good SharePoint implementation is the use of governance. Within the SharePoint governance stack are many different plans and policies that need to be addressed:

  • Physical SharePoint Architecture
  • Support & Maintenance
  • Training
  • Security
  • Information Architecture
  • Document and Content Management policies
  • Communication
  • Roles
For a moment let us focus in on the Roles within SharePoint. Roles help to define the types of users that will be working within the SharePoint environment. This role information will also help to determine Security, Training and Communication within the organization. It also will help with Document and Content Management planning.

Within this Role matrix you will find (these are some of the most common ones, within certain organizations you may find different roles to be accommodated):

Role Description Required Skills
Business Owner Executive sponsor from the Business group that represents SharePoint to the executive time. Understanding of internal business structure, strategies and processes.
SharePoint Governance Board Governing body with ultimate responsibility for meeting the firm’s goals in regards to SharePoint. They will factor in internal and external governance influences. Understanding of the internal and external Governance details.
SQL Administrator Primary role is SQL management, backups and restore. SQL administration, monitoring, and backup and recovery.
Server Administrator Responsible for installation and maintenance of hardware infrastructure or virtualization platform specifically for servers where SharePoint is installed. Microsoft Server knowledge, monitoring, backup and recovery.
Networking Administrator Responsible for management of LAN and WAN for an organization including security, installations, monitoring, licensing backups and restoring. Network specific knowledge around routers, DNS, etc.
Domain Administrator Responsible for ensuring the domain is administered properly based on internal security and governance. This includes Active Directory. Microsoft Active Directory knowledge.
SharePoint Farm Administrator This technical position should be involved with the implementation and configuration of the portal solution but is most integral to the ongoing operation of the portal.  They will monitor performance, administer security rights, ensure backup and recovery plans are set, will configure site indexing/searching, and may be involved with end-user support. Network Infrastructure, IIS, Active Directory experience, and monitoring systems that ties into SharePoint.
SharePoint Business Analyst Hybrid IT/Business position that understands the features and capabilities of SharePoint and how they can be leveraged within the business. Will need to gather business requirements and translate them into business solutions. Works with the Governance Board, IT, as well as the business units. Thorough understanding of SharePoint features and functionality. Good understanding of business goals wants and needs. Skilled at needs assessment.
SharePoint Site Collection Administrator Primary role for ensuring that settings for the site collection are configured properly. They will has control all permissions and site creation within the SharePoint site collection. This role will also work within the guidelines of the Governance plan. This person should be somebody from the IT department. They will need a thorough understanding of SharePoint features and functionality.
SharePoint Site Owner Primary role is for ensuring that content for a SharePoint site is properly managed over time. The primary focus is implementing business focused solutions. Site features and functionality excluding site creation and permissions. Will also need to understand the business objects and goals.
SharePoint Contributor This role creates, owns and maintains the content published within SharePoint. Business processes and documentation.
SharePoint Viewer This role consumes content that is found within SharePoint.

Each one of these roles is extremely important in the overall scheme of a SharePoint deployment. But I would like make the suggestion that without proper representation by the business within the role of the SharePoint Site Owner the SharePoint implementation will flounder.

Within companies who are embarking on this SharePoint journey there seems to be different stages of understanding that the organization will go through, kind of like the different stages of grieving. They all exhibit these stages. They will first start out with the probing questions about SharePoint Site Owners and their role.
  • How much time out of the day will they need to allocate for this position?
  • What are they going to be doing?
  • Can they learn this on their own time?
  • Are they an Administrator (network or IT administrator)?
They then start defending why they shouldn’t have restricted permissions (not assigning permissions or creating sites) or allocate more than 2 hours a week for the position:
  • This will stifle their creativity! (I almost choked when I heard that one)
  • They just do not have that much time in their day to administer SharePoint
Ultimately they will break down and understand that this is a vital role within the organization. So what can we do to foster this growth of the SharePoint Site Owner?

Make sure they get the proper training they need.
Many of these new SharePoint Site Owners have never touch an application like SharePoint. Now you expect that to want to play with it and learn just because somebody said so. Through training they will come to understand how it works and how they can manage the site within their work schedule.

Show how SharePoint can help their day-to-day activities.
But showing how SharePoint can increase productivity if correctly implement and structured these new Site Owners will be your biggest allies when getting buy in from the business.

Make sure to listen to their wants and needs.
By giving this group an outlet to talk to each other and share best practices within your SharePoint environment the benefits will be long-lasting. This is a great reason for having an internal SharePoint User Group.

Have governance in place before they take the helm.
It is very difficult to ask somebody to step out of a Ferrari after they have around the track. Have many of your governance ideas and principles in place before the Site Owner take over. They include them in the discussions about continued governance within SharePoint.

Ultimately this role could make or break your SharePoint implementation. Give them what they need to be successful and they will help your through your SharePoint implementation.

Good luck!


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