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At this point, every organization that can support a remote workforce has moved, or is swiftly moving to, a near-universal work from home policy.
Thankfully, Microsoft has stepped up and is offering Microsoft Teams for free.
The hub for teamwork, and the entire Microsoft 365 platform, will help organizations keep their employees engaged and productive.
I know that first-hand as Microsoft Teams and Office 365 have been essential in helping our colleagues in Asia stay productive and work collaboratively with global teams.
As is the case with any collaboration platform, there are tremendous benefits that come from strong adoption and high usage—but they come with challenges that need to be mitigated as well.
In this blog post, I’ll lay out the challenges we are seeing from the remote work boom and how they can be solved. I’ll also announce what AvePoint is giving away to get #WFHready.
More Remote Workers Means More Microsoft Teams Usage
The surge in remote work creates both more Teams users and a higher level of usage from each user.
There is a rapidly growing number of Teams users as:
- Slow adopters within organizations have no choice but to adopt
- Teams pilots at organizations get accelerated
- Any previously raised security concerns are being reassessed in light of operational necessities
The overall usage of Teams is spiking too as offline collaboration becomes online collaboration.
- That daily standup meeting? That’s now a video call in Teams with a OneNote.
- Those times you pop your head out and say, “Hey colleague, what ever happened to…?” That’s now a Teams chat.
- Because all of these conversations are happening in Teams, more files are being shared there as opposed to email (which is still a useful tool for external communication).
All of these are reasons why Microsoft recently witnessed a 40 percent surge in Teams usage. Again, this is great; Teams is the perfect tool for online collaboration. However, the result of this can be…
More Microsoft Teams Usage Means More Teams (and Private Channels)
Depending on their level of adoption, organizational culture, and governance controls in place, the number of virtual workspaces (SharePoint sites, Teams teams, Groups) in Office 365 can vary from company to company.
When we built our Office 365 Automated Governance ROI Calculator, we made the very conservative assumption that the average number of workspaces an organization has is about 12 percent of its overall userbase. So if you have 10,000 users you likely have 1,200 workspaces.
Now that being said, we’ve run into organizations that have twice as many Teams as they have users. One of our customers had 1,500 users and 2,000 Teams!
Now that work is moving online, the number of Teams and virtual workspaces is exponentially increasing.
An AvePoint customer experienced a 20 percent increase in total Teams they support within one week of working from home. Another organization asked their 60,000 users to work from home and found three days later they had 10,000 new Teams.
More Teams Means More Sprawl
Make no mistake: this usage is absolutely a positive development and attribute to the extensibility of Teams, but it also presents challenges. Ask yourself, would you:
- Have a firm grasp on why all these Teams are being created?
- Be confident that the content being stored and shared within them is appropriate for the entire membership of that Team?
- Be satisfied that settings across departments are correctly maintained so a guest doesn’t have access to something they shouldn’t?
- Know what type of information is being stored in them (and if it’s backed up)?
- Still need all these Teams a year from now?
The organization I mentioned previously found themselves with 10,000 Teams, a sudden 16 percent increase, but I’m confident their IT team didn’t scale their personnel at the same rate.
This means either digital workplaces are becoming cluttered quickly and sensitive content may not be appropriately classified and handled, OR IT teams are struggling mightily to keep up with demand while still unintentionally serving as a bottleneck to productivity.
Automation is the Answer
Earlier I mentioned our Automated Office 365 Governance ROI Calculator.
What that does is make an estimate of the number of workspaces your organization has to manage in Office 365 and then makes conservative estimates of how many minutes per year, per each workspace in an environment, IT spends maintaining and managing settings and services for user productivity and service delivery.
Then, using actual customer examples and real-world experience, we can accurately estimate how much time can be saved per task through automation using our Cloud Governance tool.
Once the time savings is quantified, we can convert this to monetary savings by estimating the amount of salary per minute spent on each task. The salary assumptions are conservatively based on national averages for different types of workers. You can check our math.
For that organization of 60,000 users, we projected they would save $7.5 million over three years by leveraging Cloud Governance. With the spike of 10,000 workspaces that savings projection can easily be doubled.
And What About Backup?
Office 365 has a lot of native tools to protect your data, but if a document has been deleted for more than 93 days or a workspace Owner has deleted a Team (and the information within it) for more than 30 days, it can’t be restored without a third-party backup solution.
Is your Teams data backed up? Does your third-party solution backup all the elements that really make a Team a Team or does it just backup files and mailboxes? If it’s the second case, you’re not backing up a Team–you’re backing up a Group.
Backing up your Office 365 data is important whether you’re working in the office or from home. But working from home means less access to IT, and more Teams usage means more opportunities for users to find ways to lose data.
You can boost access and scale IT by providing users an easy option for self-service restores (like a Teams chatbot) can dramatically help scale IT teams and keep users productive.
Increased usage of Office 365 also means there will be broader usage across different tools like Planner. The only way to backup and restore Planner tasks is with AvePoint Cloud Backup.
We’re Giving Away Tools To Get #WFHready
While you are evaluating how our governance and backup solutions can help, we have created a new selection of free products and consultation services that you can access right away.
- GroupHub: If your users are getting buried in the number of Teams, SharePoint sites, or other Office 365 workspaces they have joined in the last few weeks, GroupHub is a powerful tool to help them organize their digital workspace. Users can find, search through, and access their virtual workspaces and public workspaces in just two clicks. You can even group workspaces by function (group your Groups!). Now all of your department or management workspaces can be accessed from a central hub whether it is a Team, site, or Group.
- AVA: When Office 365 users accidentally delete—or can’t locate—files, documents, or emails, they won’t need to call IT. Instead, they can chat directly with our Teams bot in Microsoft Teams. She will automatically perform a search based on the user’s permissions in Exchange, Outlook, and OneDrive’s recycle bin to restore the requested item (even if it’s out of place). She’s even more powerful when connected to Cloud Backup.
- WFH Consultation Sessions: Office 365 and Microsoft Teams experts from AvePoint will be freely available for a consultation to recommend how you can best move to, configure, or manage Office 365 to support remote work for your organization. Sign up for a collaboration, sensitive information, growth and/or employee experience assessment.
You must be an Office 365 administrator or IT professional to be eligible for this offer as some components require administrator permissions. Visit our #GetWFHready page for additional details.