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There are over a quarter billion active daily users of Microsoft Teams as of last year (which has likely increased even more since then, so we eagerly await the updated usage news from Microsoft).
Microsoft Teams is not exactly the most straightforward tool to use, especially for the more non-technical users, so with the widespread push towards digitization and hybrid work, many of the users were thrown into the deep end of the pool. It’s no surprise that while we were all learning to swim (and still are!) many organizations became victims of Microsoft Teams sprawl.
But what’s interesting, is that many organizations to date, don’t know whether they are indeed experiencing Microsoft Teams sprawl, or how to go about auditing their Microsoft 365 environment to identify the issues and spring into cleanup.
In this article, we will take you through a step-by-step process of performing a Microsoft Teams audit by accessing Microsoft Teams analytics and SharePoint analytics. But first, let’s see why you may want to perform an audit.
To perform an audit of Microsoft Teams, you will need to have the necessary permissions. As a minimum, you will need to be a global administrator or have the appropriate permissions in the Microsoft 365 admin center.
Go through the list of Microsoft Teams and audit each one by reviewing the following information:
As you go through the audit process, document your findings in a spreadsheet or other document. Microsoft Teams admin center usage analytics and reports, as well as SharePoint site usage reports, can be downloaded as an Excel or CSV file, so you can make This will help you track any issues or concerns that you identify and help you develop a plan for addressing them.
By following these steps, you should be able to perform a comprehensive audit of all the Microsoft Teams in your tenant. This will help you identify any issues or concerns and take steps to address them, ensuring that your organization is using Microsoft Teams effectively and efficiently.
Sounds easy enough, right? But what exactly are you looking for, when reviewing your findings, to identify if a Microsoft Team may be outdated, abandoned, or no longer needed?
If a Microsoft Team has not been used in a long time, it may be abandoned or no longer needed. You can check the activity levels of a Microsoft Team by reviewing the usage data and user activity in the Microsoft Teams Admin Center or by reviewing the activity within the team itself.
As a Microsoft 365 administrator, you can use the following methods to find Microsoft Teams usage data:
If a Microsoft Team contains outdated or irrelevant content, it may be a sign that the team is no longer needed or that it is not being used effectively.
There are several ways that you can determine if content in Microsoft Teams is outdated:
Microsoft Teams has a failsafe in place to prevent ownerless Teams. When an Owner is trying to leave a Team, they will be prompted to assign a new Owner. But that of course doesn’t protect against “quiet quitting” where a member of the Team is listed as an owner but doesn’t actually manage the team any longer. Nor does it protect against Teams having owners who are no longer part of the organization.
If a Microsoft Team does not have a clear owner or if the owner is no longer active in the team, it may be a sign that the team is abandoned or no longer needed.
To see who the owner of a Microsoft Team is or to change the owner, you can follow these steps:
If you are looking to find all ownerless Teams in bulk, you can follow these steps:
If you find that multiple Microsoft Teams are providing similar services or serving similar purposes, it may be a sign that some of these teams are redundant or no longer needed.
To understand which Microsoft Teams may be redundant, you should look closely at the Team names and descriptions.
To do so, go to the Microsoft Teams Admin Center by logging in to the Microsoft 365 admin center and clicking on the Teams icon in the left-hand menu. View the list of Microsoft Teams by going to Teams > Manage Teams. This will display a list of all the Microsoft Teams in your tenant. Go through the list of Microsoft Teams and review the team names and descriptions.
You should also consult with the team owners and members to determine whether some Teams may be redundant by presenting them with the Team you’ve flagged as a potential duplicate.
While reviewing your Microsoft Teams names, you may find that a lot of Teams have conspicuous names, like “Test”, “Pants”, or even “I’ve made a mistake” (believe us, we’ve actually seen tenants with Teams names like these!). With a name like “Test,” it is fairly safe to assume that the Team is no longer in use, or maybe ripe for archival or deletion. But how do you find these Teams in bulk without having to go through the entire list of Teams one by one?
If a Team only had the General channel, it is likely that it is either being underutilized, needs improvement, or does not support effective communication, so it could easily be consolidated with another Team or archived/deleted altogether.
Is there a way to find all Teams with only the General channel in bulk? There sure is! Follow these simple steps:
By reviewing these indicators and using the information gathered from your audit, you should be able to identify which Microsoft Teams may be outdated, abandoned, or no longer needed. You can then take steps to begin Microsoft Teams cleanup and general Teams organization.
All of these steps sound like a lot of work. Depending on the size of your organization, how many Teams are being created and decommissioned on a regular basis, who can create new Teams, and whether you have any Teams lifecycle management, or governance policies in place which enforce Teams creation, naming, structure, archival and renewal, you may need to complete these steps on a monthly basis to keep your tenant clean and organized.
So, naturally, you may ask if there is an easier way.
Apart from using Microsoft Graph API and building custom scripts or applications that will help you automate the audit process, or using Power BI to create custom dashboards and reports, which will require a lot of people hours, there is a simple way to not only identify Teams that are ready to be decommissioned, but also automatically engage content owners to backup content, request renewal of a team and, eventually, schedule Microsoft Teams archiving or deletion.
What’s more, you can leverage powerful Teams and SharePoint governance controls to avoid sprawl from ever occurring in the future.
So what is this magical way?
Orchestry is a powerful Microsoft 365 governance and adoption platform, which goes into action from the moment you install it in your tenant (did we mention installation takes only 10 minutes?).
Within hours of installation, you will see compelling information about Teams and SharePoint sites within your tenant.
This includes information like:
You can then take a deep dive into the SharePoint sites and Teams details to see which ones are active and inactive, and see the exact number of days of inactivity.
By using powerful filters, you can quickly access lists of public or private SharePoint team and Communication sites and Microsoft Teams that are active, inactive, archived, renewed, or pending approval, have specific members or owners, and more (for example if you are trying to find all Teams who are owned by a member of the organization who will soon be retiring).
Once you’ve identified Teams and sites that are ripe for archival, you can being Teams and SharePoint cleanup. Start by easily creating archival and renewal policies and applying them to workspaces in bulk. These policies will automatically engage Teams and SharePoint Online site owners by notifying them of the looming archival and offering them the option to either request renewal of the workspace or prompt them to back up the content, as the workspace will soon be deleted or archived.
With these powerful features, Orchestry users clean up on average 75% of their unused Teams in the first 14 days of using the app.
We’ve put together a comprehensive blog that shows how you can not only clean up your Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sprawl but also prevent future sprawl. If you’ve performed a Microsoft Teams audit in the past and are concerned that your tenant may be suffering from a sprawl, have a read to see how Orchestry can save you endless hours on future audits, cleanups, and day-to-day administration and governance of your environment.
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