Site sprawl. Do you have it? Are you spreading it? Do you even know what it is?!

Well, here are the symptoms. If you’re constantly saying about your SharePoint, “I don’t know where to find things”, then you’re probably suffering from it. Other symptoms include an unwieldy number of irrelevant search results, and unusual confusion about where to collaborate. Site sprawl is the problem where the number of sites grow faster than the business reason to maintain them.  We see this manifest as a dramatic increase in sites and sub-sites, but with little increase in relevance or activity. It’s important to have a reason and purpose behind each site created in SharePoint, or the technology will grow into an unwieldy and irrelevant pile of information.

I get it: everyone wants a SharePoint site; especially those new fangled Team and Group sites!  However, creating a site just to store documents could cause things to proliferate into irrelevancy.  Over the years, we’ve been able to quantify the impact site sprawl has on your business. We take a number of measurements to get a insight on how you’re best leveraging the technology.  Here’s a visual example of how site sprawl inefficiencies are discovered.

SitesCreatedByMonth

The graph above presents a timeline of how many sites were created each month.  This visually indicates the growth patterns for this particular technology.  For intranets, they’re usually created based on organizational structure or by business function.  With careful vision planning, we can usually estimate the number of sites necessary to support the organization’s sharing requirements.  It’s important to note here, without a vision on how to use the technology (business reasons), any new site would be categorized as “site sprawl”.  Combine the number of sites created with the number of active sites (by usage) and we have a quantifiable number on how much of your technology is being used or wasted.

SiteActivityNumbers

For example, based on our measurements that Organization A has created 40 sites for their business.  They’re going to collaborate by function and have created 40 SharePoint sites for that purpose.  We know from the same measurements that after the sites have been created, only 35 of them show any activity.  After a few more months of measuring, it could be that only 30 sites show any form of activity or content. This is an indication of possible inefficiencies.  Perhaps a review of the business requirements for those sites is in order.  It’s to the benefit of the Organization to monitor their technology for these inefficiencies to enhance productivity and, in many cases, increase findability.