Monday, 27 September 2010

SharePoint - Made for Sharing

The excellent security settings of SharePoint is one of its strengths, but some people take it too far. I have been struck twice lately by companies tying their SharePoint down so much the information is only accessible to a handful of people. This week I want to concentrate on explaining the advantages of using SharePoint to share information.

First though, an example of making things too secure from my weekend visit to a quaint country pub just outside of Wolverhampton. It was this Saturday afternoon and with the mighty Villa not playing until Sunday (when they were to beat neighbours Wolves 2-1 to keep their 30 year unbeaten run against the Wanderers going) it was the chance for me and my lady friend to grab a meal in the country. We found a nice looking pub with wooden beams in the ceiling and perused the menu full of delightful sounding dishes. It was nearly quarter to five and I had avoided the latest football scores on the radio with the idea to watch Match of the Day that night not knowing the scores especially the Arsenal verses Albion one. This hope was dashed when a rather loud local walked in singing at the top of his voice “three one to the Albion Boys, three one to the Albion”. At least I had the surprise that night of seeing that Arsenal actually pulled a late goal back.

Looking for a little romance after ordering two Hot Pots we found a quiet table away from the bar. We were then both quite excited to see a dart-board quite near us and I suggested a game of darts before our food arrived. My companion agreed and seemed quite excited by the prospect. So I asked the barman for the darts only to be told that they didn’t have any. So a dart-board and no darts, what is the point? Should we have bought our own darts or is this a new EU health and safety rule? This is when I thought about companies having a lovely SharePoint site but then restricting who can access it. At least we could see the dart-board many people cannot even see the information on their companies SharePoint because they have not even got ‘read-only’ access.

SharePoint is called SharePoint for a reason because it is aimed at ‘Sharing’ information. Yes, some information is confidential and needs to be hidden but I strongly believe that much of the information a company stores should be available to people who work there and who have accounts on the domain. Information that is held by the Marketing Department might be useful to the Sales or the Research Department staff. Also the more people know what is held by another department the less chance of duplication you have. Whenever I am working on SharePoint projects as a SharePoint Consultant for Office Talk and a customer starts restricting access to sites the question I always ask is “Why do you need to restrict it?” If they don’t have a reason I always advise that they let domain users have ‘read-only’ access. Communication is important to the success of every business and organisation and SharePoint giving them the chance to share information.

So always make your SharePoint available to people in your organisation that might benefit from the information.

Now, let me just end by moaning at the BBC. Why does the news just before Match of the Day always tell you the scores? In the old days they used to just put it on the screen and say look away now. These days they shout out the scores as well as having them on the screen. Please bring back Barry Took so I can write to ‘Points of View’.

Well done the Villa.

1 comment:

Ethan said...

Hi Andy,

This post really struck a chord with me. I can't believe how many companies I've worked with install SharePoint with visions of breaking down barriers and then restrict any kind of sharing with their security policies. It's unbelievable.