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January 17, 2023

How much is Microsoft Teams sprawl costing you?

Microsoft Teams sprawl is more common than you realize. 

Most organizations just don't have the capacity to deal with it. 

Many organizations chose quick Teams installation in order to accommodate a hybrid workplace. They chose this fast adoption instead of delaying rollout to create an effective governance plan and policy implementation.

Grab your free MS Teams Governance planning eBook!

The natural result of a hasty Microsoft Teams deployment is Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sprawl. In a previous article, 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:

  1. Wasted time & resources
  2. Security & compliance risks. 
  3. Reduced efficiency & productivity
  4. Increased costs
4 main consequences of Microsoft Teams sprawl
Image: The consequences of Microsoft Teams sprawl.

1. Wasted time & resources

Proper Microsoft Teams governance policies are essential. Without them, time and resources will be wasted throughout the organization, from the creation of a Team all the way to its retirement (or archival). Our research shows that in many organizations, resources are wasted on the following: 

End users creating Teams

(Grab our guide on the 'Basics of MS Teams' to share with your end users!)

Unless you provide each staff member with 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.

Consider the following:

  • Even advanced users of Microsoft apps spend on average 45 minutes configuring each Team. 
  • On average, an organization with 1,000 team members creates about 50 Teams monthly. 
This equates to nearly a full workweek, or 37.5 hours spent (based on a  non-templated Team or Site).
End-users spend 37.5 hours every month on creating new Microsoft Teams
Image: End-users spend 37.5 hours every month on creating new Microsoft Teams.

End users looking for Teams

Once Teams are created, team members will generally look for an existing team before creating a new one. 

However, Microsoft Teams has limited out-of-the-box functionality, so unless someone is a member of a team, their searches often return no results. 

Consider the following:

  • Research indicates that roughly 20% of users go through this process once per month.
  • It takes 5 minutes per search.
Meaning an organization with 1,000 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
Image: People spend 5 hours/month searching for existing SharePoint sites & MS Teams.

Reporting on redundant & abandoned Teams

Your IT team will likely be required to research, create, run, and regularly update PowerShell scripts to identify issues and provide insights. Based on our research, each script takes roughly 45 minutes/month to maintain.

For Microsoft Teams Sprawl, your IT team must regularly audit and report on the following:

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

Depending on how you collect and process the data, you may need an individual script for each metric, meaning IT teams will spend five hours each month maintaining scripts for reporting. 

IT Teams spend 5 hours every month maintaining PowerShell scripts to be able to report on Microsoft Teams sprawl
Image: IT Teams spend 5 hours/month maintaining scripts to produce reports on MS Teams usage & activity.

Time wasted on Teams & SharePoint cleanup

Cleaning and content management is not rare event. It is an ongoing commitment. It requires the time and resources of your IT team regularly. 

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

A merger or acquisition could also require quick action to clean up the Microsoft 365 tenant. 

IT teams wasting time merging Teams

Our research indicates that 5% of all Teams and SharePoint site collections created by end-users are duplicated for tenants that do not have a workspace provisioning automation or governance policies in place.

Consider the following:

  • It takes an average of 60 minutes for the IT team to merge a duplicated team.
  • 50 new workspaces are created/per 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
Image: IT teams spend 2.5 hours every month merging duplicate MS Teams every month

Time contacting content owners

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.

Consider the following:

  • 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. 

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

SharePoint organization & Teams cleanup

Administration and management of Teams and SharePoint sites takes time.

Consider the following:

  • 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 annually.
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
Image: IT Teams spend 450 hours/year cleaning up and organizing MS Teams and SharePoint sites

Total Hours

Approximately 1,065 hours will be spent by members of your organization.

An organization with 600 workspaces and 1,000 team members has an average hourly staff cost of $60, this is a cost of nearly $65,000 per year!

(Not including the hefty M365 licenses)!

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.
Image: The cost of keeping up with Microsoft Teams sprawl is on average $65,000 annually!

2. Compliance & Security Risks

When end-users don't understand or cannot find workspaces that serve their needs they often turn to Shadow IT.

Shadow IT is usually a cloud-based software that end-users employ but is not authorized. They may choose this approach because they are familiar with the software or believe it better meets their objectives. 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.

A breach in the cloud can cost an organization of between $3.8 and $5.02 million. 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


3. Reduced Efficiency & Productivity

If team members are struggling 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

              The most common productivity issues from MS Teams Sprawl.

4. Increased Costs & Revenue Losses

Increased Training & Support Costs

If you’re using Microsoft Teams, everyone in your organization needs to be trained on it, even if it’s just the basics.

When it comes to basic training, there are many free resources available (such as our Teams 101 Guide). However, your HR department or IT team will still need to invest time researching and compiling these resources.

But general training may not be sufficient for your organization and you may need to create a specialized training program. Depending on the size of your organization, these processes can take weeks, and cost thousands in labor. More advanced instructor-led training costs anywhere from $100-300 per person per session.

And yet, your IT team will still get “What to use when” questions from everyone.

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

Image: Over the course of the year, that sums up to around 200 hours or $12,000 in labor.

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 will inevitably bleed into relationships with customers, and their satisfaction. Unfortunately, this will also lead to decreased retention and even loss of revenue! 

Is There a Way to Cut the Costs?

Yes - Just make Teams easy for team members, using the following solutions

1. Advanced Templates

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

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

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

2. Existing Teams & Site Directory

To cut down on the amount of time end users spend looking for existing Teams and SharePoint sites, provide your end users with access to a comprehensive library of all workspaces available.

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.

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

3. Controlled Self-Service Provisioning Process

To avoid bottlenecks and Shadow IT, you don’t want to strip users of their ability to create new workspaces when needed. But you can incorporate controls around the provisioning of new workspaces.

Orchestry offers full control over the provisioning process from start to finish and proactively eliminates sprawl.

See what the provisioning process with Orchestry looks like in action from the  IT perspective, or learn about the Workspace Request Wizard to learn what the end user's new workspace request experience looks like!

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

4. Create a Microsoft Teams Governance Plan

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.

A Microsoft 365 governance platform like Orchestry can help you put your Microsoft 365 governance and everyday IT tasks on autopilot such as provisioning, lifecycle management, and more!

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

5. Simplify Insights & Reporting

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

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 trend. 
  • Identify potential issues like sprawl, data leaks, and inactivity.
  • 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
Image: Orchestry’s Intelligent Reporting dashboard

How much could Orchestry save you?

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 1,000 members, there are likely:

  • 50 new teams are created each month.
  • 10 PowerShell scripts to maintain.
  • 10 compliance requests per month.
With a 92% reduction in time, that could account for nearly $82,000 annually in just labor costs alone!

Unleash the Full Power of Micrsoft365 with Orchestry

Most organizations are not using Microsoft 365 to its full potential.

Orchestry makes Microsoft 365 simple for all users.

Orchestry is an adoption and governance platform that allows End Users, Workspace Owners, IT admins, and organizations to take full advantage of Microsoft 365.

To see Orchestry in action, request a demo!

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