Governance and provisioning in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams is a hot topic these days, with more than 75 million active users leveraging Microsoft Teams every day.
Given this, we spoke to Orchestry’s CEO, Michal Pisarek, and Extranet User Manager’s President, Peter Carson, to uncover their insights on governance and provisioning for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.
How can Microsoft Teams be Used Effectively Within an Organization?
Peter Carson: This year, a number of organizations have rapidly deployed Microsoft Teams to allow their employees to collaborate effectively whilst working from home. Now the dust has settled, it’s time to really look at how to use Teams and Channels effectively in your organization.
As an organization, you need to decide what are your core business objectives and how Teams and Channels can be structured effectively to support this. For example, you could structure your teams by department, project, initiative, event or partners.
The great thing about having conversations in Channels is that it provides a space for ‘working out loud’. Even if team members in the channel aren’t directly involved in the conversation, they can still follow along with the decision making processes, keeping them in the loop as choices are made.
Michal Pisarek: We have just been through this process ourselves at Orchestry. Our Microsoft Teams structure is based on having a number of internal Teams that are broken down by department. For example, we have different Teams for sales, product design and marketing. Within each of these teams, there are different Channels.
On top of these internal Teams, we also have an External Team for partners. We could have approached this in a couple of different ways. For example, we could have had one core Team for partners, and then an individual private channel for each partner. However, this approach has scalability issues as you are only allowed a certain number of private Channels per Team.
Instead, we decided that each Partner would have its own Team. This means that within each Partner Team we can have different Channels for marketing, sales and product conversations. The other thing that we implemented was a way to ensure every Partner had a central source of core documents. So, we created a read-only Team and invited all partners as a way of sharing all the required information.
Is Out-Of-The-Box Self Provisioning a Good Idea?
Peter Carson: In my opinion, it’s not a good idea. You should really think about how you want to roll teams out in your organization from an Information Architecture perspective. It’s not a good idea to just let people create new Teams on an ad-hoc basis as it’ll become increasingly difficult to control. It’s important to get ahead of this or you’ll end up with an extensive graveyard of unused teams that’ll make it confusing for your end-users to find information and communicate effectively.
Michal Pisarek: From our experience, it doesn’t work just putting Microsoft Teams out there and letting end-users figure it out for themselves. Even if you provide your end-users with training, Microsoft Teams isn’t a simple product as it relies so heavily on the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. This means it presents a lot of questions about what to use and when
How Can You Implement Effective Governance in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365?
Peter Carson: Governance doesn’t mean locking down and not letting anyone do anything. Users will be much less resistant to following guidelines if they are still able to do things themselves but following easy to use templates and suggestions that prevent Microsoft Teams or other Microsoft 365 applications from becoming sprawling, unorganized and difficult to use.
Michal Pisarek: Users just want a solution to their problems in the easiest way possible. Governance is all about providing users with best practices and templates to make it as easy as possible for them to use Microsoft Teams. Templating is equally important in SharePoint and across other Microsoft 365 applications.
What's the Best Way to Approach Approvals in Microsoft Teams & Microsoft 365?
Peter Carson: When it comes to approvals, everyone has different opinions. Some people believe there shouldn’t be any approvals anywhere, others believe that everything should require approval. I sit somewhere in the middle of the two!
We use Power Automate or Logic Apps as workflow tools to build sophisticated, automated approvals and make the process as easy as possible for users.
Michal Pisarek: I think one of the reasons many people have issues with approvals as often they just take way too long to go through. For example, if someone needs a new SharePoint site urgently, and it takes 5 days for approval, they are likely to find a workaround and go about things a different way which is definitely not what you want. As long as approvals are done in a timely manner, people don’t really mind.
Why Are Naming Conventions Important for Microsoft Teams Governance?
Peter Carson: Naming conventions are a great way to provide structure within Microsoft Teams. When approaching naming conventions, it’s important to pre-define what people can and can’t use when naming new Teams. For example, not anyone should be able to create a team titled ‘human resources’ – that should be reserved for your HR team.
Michal Pisarek: Naming conventions are really important. It’s the only out-of-the-box way to add any form of metadata to Teams which can be helpful as Microsoft Teams has such a flat structure. So, using a suffix at the start of your names in Microsoft Teams can be a clear way of immediately showing what a team is about. But, the out-of-the-box naming restrictions in Microsoft Teams in terms of group naming doesn’t provide many options so it will need to be done on a more granular basis.
How Can You Protect External Users Data in Microsoft Teams Meetings?
Peter Carson: Microsoft Teams was built as an internal collaboration tool. Therefore, there are a number of complications when bringing external users into Microsoft Teams.
For example, if you use a Microsoft Teams meeting to host a live event or webinar, everyone’s personal information will be visible to everyone attending the event therefore there is no privacy. On the other hand, if you used a Microsoft Teams Live Event setup you lose some of the personal interaction elements as it’s much more intended for large scale events. This is something that Microsoft really needs to work on improving, so stay tuned for updates in the future!
Work Smarter in Microsoft Teams & Microsoft 365 with Orchestry
We hope you enjoyed this governance and provisioning Q&A with Michal Pisarek and Peter Carson. Governance and provisioning are extremely important to maintaining an effective and organized collaborative environment within Microsoft Teams and across Microsoft 365 applications.
At Orchestry, our mission is to make work simple in Office 365, MS SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, by empowering IT Administrators and employees to define a winning Microsoft 365 adoption and change management strategy that provides a roadmap of what to use when, for what purpose. Orchestry increases usage and adoption while empowering through governance and simplifies through intelligent provisioning in Microsoft 365, organization-wide at a fraction of the cost, on a subscription basis.