Site architecture ~ Escape the hierarchical abyss using Hub Sites

Sander Gunvaldjord


Once upon a time there were these huge businesses that were clashing and competing in every shape and form. As their businesses grew so did their data.

At one point the immense amount of data became unbearable. The board members in the companies started frustratingly asking each other questions around what they were supposed to do in order to keep control of all their information.

There was one thing all the businesses had in common – they were all using SharePoint for storing information. In the beginning storing data in a hierarchical structure using a Site Collection with numerous Sub sites worked well. Until their site architecture ended up consisting of numerous Sub sites nested endlessly. Think of the site architecture as an endless folder structure deeper than the Mariana Trench. Not only was it hard to navigate and manage, but as time went by customization grew more complex and guidelines for storing and finding information also became more and more important.

The hierarchical abyss

Companies had no longer any control over their information, and things started getting out of hand. They ended up having huge problems because they could not keep up with regulations and it became hard to find information in the hierarchical abyss they had created. There was suddenly a necessity to have even more department sites that were linked to each other with both restricted access and external access on specific department sites, just to mention one of their issues.

Their current solution could not cover all these requirements because of the way the site architecture was set up. The Sub sites could not be customized to have specific needs, the Sub sites could only inherit access and customization from its parent. Not only did Access Management become difficult and applying specific customization to Sub sites impossible. They ended up having to delete and restructure a ton of Sub sites and this was a demanding process to go through. The IT departments pulled out their hair in frustration while looking for a savior and Microsoft were well aware of their situation…

The knight in the shining armor

Now legend held that the knights at the round table sat down and discovered the key to their problems. Microsoft came up with an idea that would fulfill their needs. Microsoft summoned up one of their best available engineers to craft the solution and walked away from the classic hierarchical way of structuring sites.

They forged up a new structure and built it around a concept called a “Hub site.” Instead of having Sub sites they made a flat structure were all the sites were independent sites, but with a Hub site connecting them together.

Now you may be left thinking… Why was this “shining bright knight” called a Hub site a universal cure for all their site architecture problems you might ask?

The businesses were able to customize specific sites and implement incredible Access Management capabilities like never before. Structuring sites with Hub sites became beneficial when it came to Navigation, Access Management and storing information in a reasonable way that would benefit the companies. The possibility to have multiple Hubs connected and have Hubs inside another Hub was a door opener for new functionality. The fact that you could have independent sites that could inherit from an associated Hub yet have the option to customize each site individually changed everything.

Hub Sites – “this is the way”

The solution became revolutionary. The companies no longer had to worry about previous problems and could now continue focusing on competing on the market rather than worrying about site structure. There is a lot you can do in combination with Hub sites. A powerful functionality when used the right way. The purpose of this blog was to give you some insight and understanding as to why Hub sites were created and why they play a significant role when it comes to the modern way of structuring sites that we know today!

Please feel free to contact us if you need help with your structure and information management in Microsoft 365. You may also want to check out the blog post below that takes a deeper dive into the features and concept of Hub sites:

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