There are quite a few blogs out there that cover the topic of Teams governance. There are also plenty of tools and applications addressing technical governance aspects. This blog is not about the technical side of this process (well, most of it is not). It is about my experience with implementing such technology and configuration to improve Teams governance within organisation.
I have recently worked with several clients to help develop governance strategies and I thought it would be useful to share some of the thoughts from those engagements.
What is Teams governance?
Let’s start from explaining what Teams governance is. Teams governance aims to establish a balance between users’ access to the powerful features Teams provide, keeping information protection risks to a minimum and ensuring access and the lifecycle of information is controlled and audited on an ongoing basis. Implementing Teams governance helps to prevent uncontrolled growth. It ensures there are processes in place to manage information stored in Teams in line with business, data security and compliance requirements.
Realising the risks.
The first step on the way to improve Teams governance is to realise the risks of maintaining the unstructured environment. The lack of clearly defined information architecture will only lead to further increase in the number of collaboration areas created by staff. Inconsistency in the way Teams are managed and how SharePoint sites are used may lead to bad document management practices. This will have an adverse effect on information findability . With no defined lifecycle for information stored in teams, data could be retained past the regulatory requirements. Records could be deleted where they should be preserved. Allowing unrestricted access for staff and guest to all teams without introducing additional controls (multi-factor authentication, conditional access policy, access review) may lead to internal-only information being shared with guests, downloaded to personal devices, and may result in data loss.
Get the right people on board.
Highlighting the risks to the right people, securing the sponsorship for the redesign future state and the redefined information architecture is vital to the success of this type of engagement. From my experience, it helps to bring someone with knowledge and experience in delivering similar projects. This could be either from within or from outside the organisation. Defining and implementing the rules for Teams typically requires involvement from Information Governance, IT and Corporate Communications teams.
Greenfield and brownfield environments.
Implementing governance processes for organisations where users enjoyed unrestricted access to Teams collaboration is much more difficult than implementing the same processes for greenfield environments. High number of existing Teams is typically linked to users not fully understanding the concept of Teams. Often, users create new Teams instead of creating channels, using group chat, or scheduling a meeting. Getting Teams back to a manageable state will require implementing technical processes to control creation of new Teams alongside with finding a way to work with the business to archive, consolidate, delete, or update existing Teams.
Support the users during the change.
Training and supporting users throughout the change are vital. Microsoft 365 includes several collaboration tools and apps; quite often those collaboration tools can provide similar functionality (e.g., OneDrive and Teams can both be used to store and share files). This can be confusing to users and very often they will start making the wrong choices. Defining common collaboration scenarios, communicating those scenarios in an easy to digest way, encouraging and promoting good data management examples and onboarding users into Teams are all good steps to help users to understand Teams better.
Every organisation is different and there is no one solution that will address all challenges. There are some quick wins that would improve Teams governance with minimal effort, but having a well-defined Governance strategy is the key to regaining control over Teams. This will also make sure the organisation is prepared for sustaining Teams grow in the future.
If you would like to discuss how risual can help you to improve Teams governance or have any questions about Microsoft 365 get in touch today.
Thanks for reading and I hope that has been useful for you!
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