SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool

Mark Stockwell

SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool

How many of you have SharePoint installed within your enterprise?

How many of you are using it in some way to support your data governance efforts?

How are you using it?  What's working, what's not?

I am trying to gauge the success people are having using SharePoint prior to investing time in developing for our use.


Robert S Seiner

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

Several of my clients have used SharePoint as a DG tool (that is, at least temporarily). The issue with SharePoint is that many many organizations started using SharePoint in a very ungoverned way and the environment became the wild west. Other organizations use a content management system to manage their records and information. I will be glad to speak with you about my/their experiences if you are interested.




Robert S. Seiner

KIK Consulting & Educational Services

Phil Henderson

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

Good morning,

I worked with a client that tried to use it as a metadata platform (definitions, accountabilities, processes).  It worked all right, but I do not think it worked optimally.  There are better tools out there that are constructed for this use case.  

Anthony J Algmin

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

SharePoint's greatest strength is also it's greatest weakness: flexibility. It can be configured to do almost anything, so in theory it seems like a viable option for a highly-customized data governance solution. The challenge comes back to usability, access, security, and how much effort you are ready to put in to make it all work. More often than not I find that organizations that use SharePoint have a big, unwieldy mess on their hands--and somehow still in 2019 we can't get search to actually find what we need (assuming we have been given access, which we likely have not)!

So my bottom-line advice is sure, you can use SharePoint effectively if you are willing to put in the effort. Otherwise I'd recommend a tool that has a more limited feature-set but the appropriate focus for what you are looking to accomplish.

Best of luck!

Anthony J. Algmin
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Go Make an Impact!

Merrill Albert

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

I've used SharePoint numerous times, but I'd never call it a data governance tool.  It can be used as a repository for data governance meeting notes, the charter, policies, processes, standards, the organization diagram, etc.  It can be used to hold data definitions, data lineage, etc.  You can put security on things that are more private.  I've used it to develop workflow.  It really depends on what you need.  I like Robert's comment about the "wild west" because it's pretty easy to go that route.  Too many people think they can just implement a tool and start doing whatever they want with it.  You need to plan how to organize things.  I was at a company that had a great design and then decided to reconfigure everything in such a way that no one could find anything.  They supposedly copied everything over, but people wound up putting multiple copies out there, as well as saving copies on their laptops because they could never find things.  It was a disaster.  If it wasn't for the fact that it was an internal tool, we could have at least gone to Google to search for it.  Like any tool, if you take the time to plan, you'll have better luck using it for full benefit.

Phil Meredith

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

There are much better tools out there! You can only get so far using SharePoint. You will eventually want to perform deeper analysis such as impact analysis or dependency analysis and you simply cannot achieve this with a content management system approach.

If you take the SharePoint route, you will also need to create your own set of rules to prevent the data you collect from getting messy. Messy data means less data quality. Less quality means less value. As distrust in this data grows your efforts become wasted.

Good luck!


Phil Meredith | CEO 
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William McKnight

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

You should be able to establish a value proposition for a real data governance tool. My concern about using Sharepoint is that, beyond some simple things, it will not be able to deliver what is ultimately needed. It's like kicking the can down the road. Sometimes we have to do that, but you might want to keep a stake in the ground for a reevaluation of this idea.

Jeff Albro

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to William McKnight)

I've used SharePoint for a data dictionary, and I like it better than Excel for a variety of reasons, but I'd much rather shop for a real tool if the organizational budget and will is there.




RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Jeff Albro)

Ouch, SharePoint and Excel for governing metadata is like working on plumbing with a hammer.

Aaron Fuller

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

I agree with most of the comments above. SharePoint isn't a data governance tool, but as a collaboration platform you can use it for some data governance functions. I often work with clients to use their SharePoint implementation as the starting point for a new data governance program. However, I always encourage them to be looking towards more of a real data governance tool set over time, whether that is a vendor tool or in-house built functionality. It's a good place to start, using SharePoint to collaborate on various types of documents, but as someone else said, it can only take you so far. 

Aaron Fuller, CBIP

Founder & Principal Consultant

Superior Data Strategies 


Alissa Schneider

RE: SharePoint as a Data Governance Tool
(in response to Mark Stockwell)

Just going to throw something out there that wasn't mentioned on the previous comments. SharePoint of course is not the tool for any sort of real "data" management. However, it is extremely valuable to look at utilizing SharePoint in combination with Microsoft Groups/Teams to ensure that you have a well-functioning Data Governance Office. Microsoft Teams is powered by SharePoint (or OneDrive). It allows you to have Slack-like communication, with multiple channels. You could have channels on Policy, Data Quality, Metadata, etc. Teams is a content aggregator tool so it can display your SharePoint site and your doc library where your DGO may store working documents. If your team is using Planner or Trello to manage day-to-day tasks, that is integrated into Teams. The possibilities are endless! SharePoint is a great tool for department-level management of day-to-day work product. At the end of the day, your team is more likely to be successful in all of their efforts if they are a well-managed team and, in my opinion, SharePoint is a critical tool in that process. If your team is relying on email and file shares then they are at a disadvantage. We roled out these Microsoft features internally at Sense Corp within the past year and the amount of engagement and collaboration has been incredible.