Microsoft 365’s collaboration tools drive the modern workplace. But with transformational tools like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, getting the right balance between governance and adoption can be a challenge.
Anyone who rapidly deployed Microsoft Teams during the pandemic likely found it to be a powerful tool for enabling remote work. However, many are now finding it is out of control within their organization or they’re struggling with adoption.
To ease your journey, I’m sharing some key aspects of our approach to Microsoft Teams governance and adoption.
I’ll also explain how Orchestry — a complete empowerment, adoption and standardization platform to make work simple in Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online — can help you increase adoption or get some control of Microsoft Teams.
Adoption and Governance — Striking the Right Balance
Over the past two years, we’ve worked with customers who have struggled with the ideas of governance and adoption. Often they see them as competing and conflicting concepts, thinking adoption will suffer if they put too few — or too many — controls on Teams. The reality is, either way, they are 100 percent correct.
If you have too many controls, people become frustrated because they encounter too many bottlenecks when requesting new teams, applications or features. Maybe they need to provision new teams to support immediate needs. Or, they want to use some Teams apps to better perform their work. Or perhaps they need some features enabled in Teams to improve their overall collaboration within groups. Either way, too many controls can stifle adoption.
Conversely, if you have too few controls, then people become frustrated for many different reasons: they can’t find the teams they need, they find duplicate teams, they find old or no-longer-used teams, they find duplicate files across different teams, or they find disorganized teams. On the app side, they may encounter apps that serve little to no purpose, aren’t being used at all or are being used improperly, have security or privacy vulnerabilities, and more. As a result, there has to be some element of control for adoption to thrive.
How to perform this “balancing act” between governance and adoption is one of the most common questions we get from our customers. The beauty of Orchestry is that it helps keep your organization balanced, implementing and enforcing the governance policies that are right for you and your organization.
The Role of Adoption and Change Management
Before we go any further, I must emphasize no matter how good your governance is, and no matter how much you automate when implementing controls over your Teams environment, you can’t forget the importance of a solid Adoption and Change Management (ACM) plan.
For success, and ever-increasing returns on your Microsoft 365 investments, you need to look beyond the technology supporting Teams, because the “people side” of change can be even more important (and difficult).
Technical Solutions for Implementing and Enforcing Governance to Increase Adoption
Governance is so important that we usually start Microsoft Teams projects with a “Governance Workshop.” The workshop provides a deep dive into the many controls that affect how Teams operates, functions and is secured. We also touch on a variety of processes and policies that organizations need to consider as they continue their Teams journey, as noted in our ebook “The Inside Track on Microsoft Teams.”
However, one area the ebook doesn’t cover in detail is the enforcement of governance processes and policies, especially those affecting the lifecycle of your organization’s teams. From the initial team requests to team provisioning and settings standardization (naming policies, site owner requirements and more), failure to control your teams’ lifecycles can lead to frustration.
In the past, we have helped some organizations implement their own “home-built” solutions to automate aspects of their teams’ lifecycles, but these solutions typically involved integrating several different technologies (e.g., Teams, SharePoint, PowerApps, Power Automate, Graph API, Azure automation, and so on). Such integrations rarely meet the customers’ full needs, and they are costly to maintain and update.
As a result, we now encourage our customers to consider Orchestry as their go-to solution for governance enforcement of Teams (and SharePoint) policies and processes, while simultaneously increasing Teams adoption across the entire organization.
What Can Orchestry Do?
Orchestry is an application that helps organizations solve several key Microsoft Teams and SharePoint challenges, including:
Helps users understand “what to use when” by providing Teams or SharePoint Sites Workspaces, preconfigured for specific organizational business needs. Orchestry’s simplified interface for Microsoft 365 lessens the need for training and drives adoption by making it easier for end-users to request and discover Workspaces.
Provides transparent governance that is invisible to the end-user but still provides all the power IT and the business need. Orchestry’s intuitive and scalable governance helps your build policies for groups, teams and SharePoint sites, providing controlled empowerment of end-users without setting up roadblocks or bottlenecks. Orchestry’s Governance capabilities include:
- Review and approval processes for provisioning teams and SharePoint sites based on business needs rather than IT-only needs.
- Naming policies enforcement that ensures all your teams and sites use common, standardized naming conventions while also enforcing restrictions on what terms you can or can’t use.
- Sensitivity label and compliance support to ensure you properly secure your teams.
- Custom metadata in Workspace requests, naming policies, and team/site directory services. These show, at a glance, all the teams and sites, along with their key information (e.g., metadata categories, privacy, membership, guest access, sensitivity labeling, and so on).
- Tracking of minimum owners and members, so you always know that your teams are managed and used, as well as any teams whose membership has dwindled. You can then decide whether to archive or delete them.
Allows administrators and power users to create complex solutions without writing a single line of code. Templates include:
- Teams templates, including tabs, files, folders, permissions, users and more
- SharePoint templates, including custom Web Parts, OneNote, Planner, lists and libraries
- Planner templates, including buckets and tasks
- Custom features from the PnP Framework to apply to teams or sites.
Lifecycle Management, including:
- Team/site provisioning:
- Workspace templates based on proven, pre-built teams/sites.
- Naming detection and rules that ensure your teams/sites follow standardized naming conventions and restricted terms, reducing user and admin frustration over uncontrolled team/site names.
- Approval processes to define template-specific review and approval processes, providing different processes for different types of templates. For example, you can send project-based teams requests to the Project Management Office director, IT team requests to the IT director, and HR teams to the HR director, thus speeding the creation of new teams.
- Custom metadata that empowers you to create your own organization-unique metadata that ensures proper naming conventions and categorization of teams. This provides easier team/site management and searchability across the entire organization.
- Support for MS Teams, SharePoint Online, Planner, and Lists, allowing you to provide different standard apps for different types of teams/sites.
- The ability to monitor and report on usage throughout a team’s lifetime. You can manage guests, renewal policies, archival policies and more for end-to-end team and site automation.
- Automated Workspace timeline reports and analytics for team/site owners as well as IT admins to ensure teams/sites are being used as expected, to focus adoption activities where appropriate, and to modify internal processes and team/site templates.
- Team/site provisioning:
Orchestry provides ever-increasing features and capabilities that you can’t find today in Microsoft 365, and they would be extremely costly to custom code. Simultaneously, Orchestry provides just the right amount of flexibility and controls for your organization. It supports all types of organizations, from those that need the most control to those who need the least and all points in between.
Orchestry can be the right solution for any size or type of company that is thinking about rolling out Teams or has had Teams in place for several years.
But an organization’s adoption and governance challenges won’t go away just by “turning on” Orchestry because needs differ and some will require more support than others, based on resources, time, budget, and comfort level in implementing a new tool.