fundamentals MS Teams Tips & Tricks

How much is Microsoft Teams sprawl costing you?

Valerie Sergienko January 17, 2023


Microsoft Teams sprawl is not an uncommon issue. Many organizations chose quick Teams installation and rollout in order to accommodate the transition to a hybrid workplace. They chose this fast adoption instead of delaying rollout in order to create an effective governance plan and policy implementation.

The natural result of a hasty Microsoft Teams deployment is Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sprawl. In one of our previous articles, we covered in detail what sprawl is, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

The 4 main consequences of a Microsoft Teams sprawl are:


4 main consequences of Microsoft Teams sprawl
The 4 main consequences of Microsoft Teams sprawl


There are many hard costs that come as a result of sprawl and Microsoft Teams cleanup.

Wasted time & resources

Proper Microsoft Teams governance policies are essential. Without them, time and resources will be wasted throughout the organization. This applies from the creation of a Team all the way to its retirement. Let’s see what our research shows. 

Time spent on creating Microsoft Teams

As with any new shiny toy, you are likely to see quite a bit of adoption of Microsoft Teams post-deployment.


End users creating Teams

Unless you provide each and every one of your staff with extensive Microsoft Teams app training before deploying the platform, there’s bound to be an initial period of trial and error when it comes to creating new Teams and Teams organization.

Our research shows that even more advanced users experienced using Microsoft apps features spend on average 45 minutes configuring each Team, including 3 channels, a SharePoint Online site, document templates, and setting up appropriate permissions.

This doesn’t even take to account if a user chooses the wrong tool for the wrong use case and then has to reconfigure what they have done.

Less advanced users can spend upwards of an hour and a half configuring a single Team.

On average, an organization with 1000 team members creates about 50 Teams monthly. This equates to nearly a full workweek of 37.5 hours spent creating Teams. This is based on a non-standard, non-templated Team or site.


End-users spend 37.5 hours every month on creating new Microsoft Teams
End-users spend 37.5 hours every month on creating new Microsoft Teams


End users wasting time looking for Teams

Once a number of Teams were created, team members will look for an existing team before creating a new one. This is to be expected.

Microsoft Teams has limited out-of-the-box functionality. Unless someone is a member of a team, their searches often return no results. This can lead to the creation of a duplicate Team. That said, it still takes time.

Research indicates that roughly 20% of users go through this process once per month, and it takes 5 minutes per search. The process should be completed before a new Team is created. If this is done, an organization with 1000 members will spend 5 hours per month on searches.


In a 1000-member organization, people spend 5 hours every month searching for existing SharePoint sites and MS Teams
In a 1000-member organization, people spend 5 hours every month searching for existing SharePoint sites and MS Teams

Time wasted on reporting & identifying redundant, abandoned and ownerless Teams

Admins can use the Microsoft Teams reports for valuable insights but may require more data to assess team productivity. It is important to monitor all Microsoft 365 Groups, Teams, members, and channels simultaneously in order to identify any issues that could affect performance. So your IT team will likely be required to research, create, run, and regularly update PowerShell scripts to provide the executive team with valuable and actionable insights. Based on our research, each script takes roughly 45 minutes per month to maintain.


Your IT team must regularly audit and report on the following metrics for Microsoft Teams sprawl:


  1. Microsoft Teams Activity
  2. Outdated content
  3. Lack of ownership
  4. Duplication of services/purpose
  5. Conspicuous names
  6. Teams that only have the General channel


Depending on how you plan to collect and process the data, you may need an individual script for each one of these metrics. The IT team will spend five hours each month maintaining scripts. This will enable them to produce meaningful reports on the usage of Microsoft Teams.


IT Teams spend 5 hours every month maintaining PowerShell scripts to be able to report on Microsoft Teams sprawl
IT Teams spend 5 hours every month maintaining PowerShell scripts to be able to produce reports on MS Teams usage and activity


Read our blog to learn more about performing Microsoft Teams audits.

Time wasted on Microsoft Teams and SharePoint cleanup

Your IT team will need to take action if Office 365 sees signs of sprawl. This includes merging, archiving, and deleting Teams and SharePoint organization. Additionally, content owners must participate in content management.

A merger or acquisition could require quick action to clean up the Microsoft 365 tenant. This is an important event to consider.

Cleaning and content management is not rare event. It is an ongoing commitment. It requires the time and resources of your IT team regularly, at least once a month.


IT teams wasting time merging Teams

Our research indicates that 5% of all Teams and SharePoint site collections created by end-users are duplicated. This is in tenants that do not have a workspace provisioning automation or governance policies in place. It takes an average of 60 minutes for the IT team to merge a duplicated team.

50 new workspaces are created each month in a tenant.

2.5 of them are likely to be duplicated.

This means that the IT team will spend 2.5 hours each month merging Teams and SharePoint site content. This is low since there are multiple things that cannot be easily merged and would require a third-party tool.


IT teams spend 2.5 hours every month merging duplicate MS Teams every month
IT teams spend 2.5 hours every month merging duplicate MS Teams every month



IT wasting time contacting content owners complete Teams and SharePoint cleanup

IT teams need to determine or update the ownership of content and assess when it is ready for the recycling bins. To do this, they must contact Teams and SharePoint site owners and members.

Research indicates that roughly 10% of Teams or SharePoint sites will require manual outreach to be processed on an annual basis. Finding owners and members of a team takes an average of 15 minutes. After locating them, contact them to determine the best course of action for dealing with content.

In a tenant with 600 workspaces, manual communication will take 15 hours each year.


IT teams spend 15 hours per year contacting content Owners in an attempt to organize MS Teams
IT teams spend 15 hours per year contacting content Owners in an attempt to organize MS Teams



IT working on SharePoint organization and Teams cleanup

Administration and management of Teams and SharePoint sites takes time. Tasks such as manual archival and deletion of workspaces, and removing document versions take an average of 90 minutes per workspace. It is estimated that 50% of organizations’ Workspaces will require this process every year. In a tenant with 600 workspaces, the IT team will need to spend 450 hours tidying up the tenant annually.


IT Teams spend 450 hours every year cleaning up and organizing MS Teams and SharePoint sites
IT Teams spend 450 hours every year cleaning up and organizing MS Teams and SharePoint sites


Approximately 1077 hours will be spent by members of your organization.

This includes creating Teams and SharePoint sites, as well as identifying and cleaning up potentially harmful, duplicated, orphaned, or abandoned content.

These sites may be potentially duplicated, non-compliant, or not standardized.

To sum it up, this will be a significant amount of time and effort.

An organization with 600 workspaces and 1000 team members has an average hourly staff cost of $60. Without a pragmatic Microsoft 365 governance plan in place, they are looking at a direct cost of nearly $65,000 per year. This is in addition to the hefty M365 licenses they are already paying.


The cost of keeping up with Microsoft Teams sprawl is on average $65,000 per year in an organization with only 1000 members and 600 workspaces.
The cost of keeping up with Microsoft Teams sprawl is on average $65,000 per year in an organization with only 1000 members and 600 workspaces.

Compliance and security risks

Microsoft Teams sprawl or improper deployment without training or governance leads to end-user confusion and frustration. This is an inherent consequence of using the tool. People can become frustrated with a platform if they cannot find workspaces that serve their needs easily.

Similarly, if the workspaces they create take too much time to customize to meet their requirements, it can also cause frustration.

In addition, creating duplicates that eventually get archived can further exacerbate this frustration.


Frustration with technology is the breeding ground for Shadow IT.


In the modern hybrid workplace, end-users often deploy and implement cloud-based software that is not sanctioned or authorized by the IT department.

This is commonly referred to as Shadow IT.

End-users may choose this approach because they are familiar with the software or they believe it better meets their objectives. They may even choose to uninstall Microsoft Teams entirely.


Although it is difficult to quantify the exact costs associated with Shadow IT, you are likely to see significant increases, or the opposite – wastage in the 4 core categories:


  1.  Added costs of unsanctioned software
  2. Wastage of under-utilized sanctioned software
  3. Security and data breaches, non-compliance fines
  4. Inconsistencies in software usage and management


From a security and compliance angle, Shadow IT can have serious consequences for an organization.


In a 2019 survey conducted by Forbes Insights and IBM, it was found that 46% of IT leaders believe that the use of unsanctioned software can make it impossible to protect an organization’s data. Furthermore, the same survey found that more than 1 in 5 organizations have experienced a cyber event related to Shadow IT.

With the shift to remote work and the increasing use of cloud-based services, the risks associated with Shadow IT have become even greater.


Cloud applications are now a popular target for cybercriminals, accounting for 45% of breaches in IBM’s 2022 Cost of Breach report. A breach in the cloud can cost an organization an average of between $3.8 and $5.02 million, depending on the cloud implementation. These costs are driven by the fact that cloud breaches often take advantage of configuration errors and undetected vulnerabilities in unsanctioned applications.


An image demonstrating statistics around Shadow IT and the security risks it poses to the organization

Reduced efficiency and productivity

If your team members are struggling to keep up with Microsoft Teams sprawl, it can lead to decreased productivity and efficiency. The most common productivity issues we’ve seen are:


An image demonstrating the common productivity issues caused by end-user frustrations with Microsoft 365 tools

Increased costs & revenue losses

Increased training & support costs

If you’re choosing Microsoft Teams as your main tool for collaboration, it’s important to accept that everyone in your organization needs to be trained on it, even if it’s just the basics.

On top of that, it is recommended to implement a more advanced training program for future SharePoint and Teams owners.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that providing general training on Teams may not be sufficient for your organization’s particular requirements.

Therefore, it’s recommended to create a specialized training program that concentrates on how Teams is used in specific departments and for particular business purposes on the platform.

This approach will allow you to provide more tailored guidance to your employees on how to effectively use Teams to meet their specific needs.

When it comes to basic training, there are many open-source and free resources available that your organization can use. However, it’s important to note that your HR department or IT team will still need to invest time in researching and compiling these resources.

They’ll also need to make them easily accessible to staff, communicate the guidelines and deadlines for completing the training, and monitor and review the completion of the training. This may require some effort, but it’s crucial to ensure that everyone in the organization has the necessary training to use the tool effectively.

Depending on the size of your organization, this process can take weeks, and cost thousands of dollars in labor.

More advanced instructor-led training costs anywhere from $100-300 per person per session.

Once you’ve deployed Microsoft Teams, regardless of whether you offered training opportunities to your staff, your IT team will likely begin to get an onslaught of “What to use when” questions and requests from everyone within your organization. It is estimated that IT teams spend on average 3-5 hours per week responding to tech stack questions related to how to use specific software. Over the course of the year, that sums up to around 200 hours or $12,000 in labor.


Image demonstrating added costs of training and labor of IT team to support end users of Microsoft Teams

Decreased customer satisfaction & retention

In a hybrid workplace where Microsoft Teams takes the role of a primary collaboration and communication tool, the ability to use it effectively becomes the linchpin to customer satisfaction and retention. Miscommunications and misunderstandings, as well as general frustration with the tool, will inevitably bleed into your organization’s relationship with customers, and their satisfaction with the services or products you provide, and may result in decreased retention and even loss of revenue. 

Is there a way to cut these costs?

Make Microsoft Teams ridiculously easy for all team members

Advanced templates

Is there a simple solution that will help your organization:

  • Remove the need to provide comprehensive Microsoft Teams training
  • Reduce frustration with the tool
  • Reduce the risk of Shadow IT
  • Eliminate miscommunications and misunderstandings
  • Cut the amount of time end users spend on creating and configuring new Teams
  • Reduce the number of “what to use when” questions and additional burden on your IT team?

Microsoft Teams advanced templates are one of those simple solutions. You can pre-configure many aspects of advanced templates and customize them to meet the specific needs of different departments and business functions.


Read our blog to learn more about advanced templates in Microsoft Teams and how they can help you increase the adoption of the platform. 

Another solution is to deploy a Microsoft Teams adoption and governance app like Orchestry, which comes with a library of pre-built business-first templates that are 100% customizable. Orchestry’s Microsoft Teams templates come with fully pre-configured channels, tabs, apps, integrations, and web parts.


Some of Orchestry’s existing and soon-to-be-available Teams, SharePoint, and Communication site pre-built templates include:

  • Project Management
  • Department Intranet Site
  • Department Collaboration Team
  • Employee On and Off Boarding
  • Event Planning
  • Product launch
  • Work Group
  • Community of Practice
  • Incident Management


Image demonstrating Orchestry's Microsoft Teams and SharePoint templates
Orchestry’s Microsoft Teams and SharePoint templates


Read more about Orchestry’s Teams and SharePoint templates and available customizations and configurations in our blog.


Existing Teams and Site Directory

To cut down on the amount of time end users spend looking for existing Teams and SharePoint sites, and to significantly reduce potential duplication, you should look into providing your end users with access to a comprehensive library of all workspaces available.


Image demonstrating Orchestry's Microsoft Teams and SharePoint site directory
Orchestry’s M365 workspace directory


Unfortunately, there isn’t an out-of-the-box solution in Microsoft, however, Orchestry’s Workspace Directory can quickly put an end to the lack of transparency within your tenant.

Implement controlled self-service provisioning process

To avoid bottlenecks and potential risks of Shadow IT, you don’t want to strip your end users of the ability to create new workspaces when they need them. But you can incorporate some controls around the provisioning of new workspaces.

Read our blog that covers all workspace provisioning options within Microsoft 365.

Alternatively, you can use a solution like Orchestry which offers full control over the provisioning process from start to finish and proactively eliminates sprawl and its negative impacts of it.


Image demonstrating Orchestry's Microsoft Teams and SharePoint provisioning workflow for end users
Orchestry’s self-service Workspace Request Wizard


Read our blog to see what the provisioning process with Orchestry looks like in action from the IT perspective. 

Read what the end users’ new workspace request experience looks like with the help of Orchestry’s Workspace Request Wizard

Create a Microsoft Teams governance plan and establish policies

The culprit of Microsoft Teams sprawl and the additional costs and wastage that just keep stacking up is the lack of a proactive governance plan and policy enforcement. There is tremendous value in taking the time to develop a Microsoft 365 governance plan, even if it’s done retroactively, as it saves endless hours and dollars in the long run.

Some of the essential elements of a governance plan are:


  • Roles: Defining different roles for different use cases and responsibilities. For example, IT, End User, AAD Admin, Team Owner, or Team Member.
  • Responsibilities: Determining what each role can do and what they are responsible for. For example, the Team Owner is responsible for requesting Teams and making sure the correct owners are assigned.
  • Processes: Defining processes involved in creating, archiving, deleting, and managing workspaces in MS Teams.
  • Access and Ownership: Determining who can access the teams and channels and who owns collaboration assets, files, etc.
  • Policies: Defining policies for managing content or other attributes of a team in Microsoft Teams, such as taxonomy or labeling.


Read our blog to learn more about building a pragmatic governance plan today. 

Writing your governance plan and being optimistic that not only will everyone read it, but also adhere to the policies outlined within it is not realistic or sustainable.

A Microsoft 365 governance platform like Orchestry can help you put your Microsoft 365 governance and everyday IT tasks on autopilot. 

  • Define your own Provisioning & Lifecycle Management Policies, role & permission assignment for Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Team Sites, and Communication Sites specific to your organizational needs.  
  • Set up guardrails for the users by applying the right Policies and governance standards to the right Workspace templates and existing content.  
  • Govern the creation of Workspaces through a single interface. 
  • Sit back, relax, and watch Orchestry automatically engage content owners to clean up, organize and govern your tenant.  


Image showing Orchestry's Microsoft Teams Workspace Template governance configuration
Orchestry’s Microsoft Teams Workspace Template governance configuration


Read more about governance policy creation and enforcement using Orchestry in our blog.

Simplify getting insights about Microsoft Teams

Running meaningful reports on Microsoft Teams usage and adoption and keeping tabs on the Microsoft Teams sprawling out of control takes time and time = money.

Orchestry allows your IT team to forego the traditional admin center hopping, running, and maintaining endless PowerShell scripts. With Orchestry’s Actionable Workspace Insights, you’ll be able to:

  • Review SharePoint and MS Teams usage, activity, lifecycle status, and trends in a beautiful lightning-fast interface with Orchestry.  
  • Identify potential issues like sprawl, data leaks, and inactivity and take the right action, at the right time.
  • Gain specific details on a Workspace including historical metrics, guest access, sensitivity, applied Policies, and much more. 
  • Get direct access to all areas in a Workspace including SharePoint, Teams, Notebooks, Planner, Admin centers, and Azure AD. 


Image demonstrating Orchestry's intelligent Microsoft Teams and SharePoint analytics dashboard
Orchestry’s Intelligent Reporting dashboard


Read more about Orchestry’s Actionable Insights.

How much money could a tool like Orchestry save you?

Once deployed and configured in your tenant, Orchestry begins to bring immediate returns on investment, while also maximizing your return on the investment in Microsoft 365 licenses and the business value the platform brings.

With Orchestry, your end users and IT teams will spend 92% less time creating, configuring, managing, archiving, merging, deleting, and reporting on the performance of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sites.

For an organization with 1000 members, 50 new teams being created each month, 10 PowerShell scripts to maintain, and 10 compliance requests per month, that is an average saving of nearly $82,000 annually in just labor costs alone.

The embedded adoption tools that make Microsoft Teams painlessly easy to use for both, IT admins and end users alike, eliminate or significantly reduce training costs.

With improved collaboration, communication, and increased adoption, the frustration with the tool is significantly reduced, as well as the risks of Shadow IT and misunderstandings.


Image demonstrating the annual savings it yields to an organization with 1000 employees


Want to see Orchestry in action?

Orchestry offers a free full-experience trial for 28 days.

  • Trusted by thousands of IT admins, and leading Microsoft 365 partners worldwide
  • Fully secure application attested by SOC2 Security certification
  • Full features, zero commitment
  • No credit card required
  • Orchestry apps installation takes less than 15 minutes
  • No obligation – if Orchestry is not your cup of tea, simply delete the apps at the end of the trial and all the content you created using Orchestry will remain

Book your demo today to chat with one of our Microsoft 365 experts about the opportunities you can unlock with Orchestry and see it in action.


About the Author

Valerie Sergienko Image

Valerie Sergienko

Director, Product Marketing

An accomplished marketing strategist, Valerie brings over a decade of experience in digital marketing and has a profound love and appreciation for agile, purpose-driven, and results-oriented growth.

In her free time, you can find Valerie exploring local amusement parks, playgrounds, cafes, and movie theatres with her daughter, reading a new science book, or working up a sweat at the gym.


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Clear Gifs (Web Beacons/Web Bugs)

We employ a software technology called clear gifs (a.k.a. Web Beacons/Web Bugs), that help us better manage the Website by informing us what content is effective. Clear gifs are tiny graphics with a unique identifier, similar in function to cookies, and are used to track the online movements of Web users.  In contrast to cookies, which are stored on a user’s computer hard drive, clear gifs are embedded invisibly on Web pages or in emails and are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. We use clear gifs in our HTML-based emails to let us know which emails have been opened by recipients.  This allows us to gauge the effectiveness of certain communications and the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. We tie the information gathered by clear gifs in emails to our customers’ Personal Information. If you would like to opt-out of these emails, please see “Opting Out and Unsubscribing”.


We partner with a third-party ad network to either display advertising on our Web site or to manage our advertising on other sites. Our ad network partner uses cookies and Web beacons to collect non-personal information about your activities on this and other Web sites to provide you targeted advertising based upon your interests.  If you wish to not have this information used for the purpose of serving you targeted ads, you may opt-out by clicking here: (or if located in the European Union, by clicking here: Please note this does not opt you out of being served advertising.  You will continue to receive generic ads.

Unsubscribe from Communications

You may unsubscribe from our marketing communications by clicking on the “unsubscribe” link located on the bottom of our e-mails, or by sending us email us at or by mail to Orchestry Software Inc., 422 Richards St, Suite 170, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2Z4, Attn: Privacy.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or our treatment of the information you provide us, please write to us by email at or by mail to Orchestry Software Inc., 422 Richards St, Suite 170, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2Z4, Attn: Privacy.


We may amend this Privacy Policy from time to time. When there are changes to this Privacy Policy, we will update this page. The date on the bottom will always indicate when we last made changes.
Last Updated: July 28, 2020

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