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SharePoint communication sites: Considerations for government organizations

Vikram Pendse Aug 31, 2017

SharePoint communication sites Corporate governance

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SharePoint communication sites is one of the latest features introduced by Microsoft for Office 365 users. This feature was launched to help the organizations to build user friendly sites by adding dynamic and static content along with interactive images.
Another reason, Microsoft introduced SharePoint communication site to enable organization to create sites without being entirely dependent on the IT staff. It is an independent corporate communication platform which simplifies the usage of SharePoint from all aspects.

Definitely, this feature of SharePoint is of high value but here are few considerations especially for government organizations that are looking to implement SharePoint communication sites.
Everyone has a right to create communication sites: If an individual has an authority to create a team site, then he can also create a communication site leading to the duplication of both team sites and communication sites. Despite of being reliable, these sites have some non-reliable information that might perplex the users.

To avoid all these discrepancies, organizations will have to create separate protocol for communication sites and team sites. They will also need to have a clear communication with their employees in order to understand their purpose of creating new sites.

No provision for review is available in communication sites: The current communication sites do not have the review feature which can be a hurdle for all the corporate communication people. If a user has a permission to create a communication site then he can also author and publish the documents directly without anybody’s consent and without finishing the formal review cycle. This type of behaviour can cause the release of sensitive information online.

But in the case of a traditional SharePoint framework, there are various authorizations available in terms of publishing content such as reviews, submissions and the ability to approve and reject a page before it goes live.

Audience targeting feature is not available: If a user reads news on a particular communication site then the content will appear on their SharePoint homepage. However this is a great feature but can have few challenges as well-

  • Organizations won’t be able to mandate the news for the users because it will only appear if the user is following a certain communication site. Apart from that, users can easily unfollow the communication site which might lead to miss out on important news.
  • Organizations will not be able to specify who sees the news on their SharePoint homepage considering the way the homepage is been designed. This might not be a big issue for smaller organizations but can be difficult for bigger ones because they need to measure which type of audiences are viewing their news.
I am not recommending that government organizations should not consider SharePoint communication sites. All I am saying is that the above mentioned pointers can be a challenge for government organizations which must be seriously considered.

However, this is only the initial release of Microsoft’s SharePoint communication sites. I am confident Microsoft will add more features considering the future government organizations and SharePoint communication sites.

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