The focus on governance issues around Microsoft 365, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Teams, and Power Platform is rising. Businesses agree that there is a heightened risk to data confidentiality and security with the shift to remote work.
Among the most significant threats are the uncontrolled sprawling of SharePoint sites, and Teams and Microsoft 365 groups.
There is a high possibility that the organizational systems, processes, and data could be compromised because of a lack of governance and control
While Microsoft Office 365 does have in-built controls, there are areas where there is scope for better management. Third-party tools have now entered the market to fill this need.
Governance needs are rising across Microsoft 365; it is required to manage and control the creation of SharePoint Sites, Teams, M365 Groups, Flows and apps. It is essential even for OneDrive as a security measure to thwart potential breach of access or permission.
In principle, customers are looking for governance solutions which provide consistency, reusability, and standardization in the organization, along with data security and control over processes.
SharePoint’s site creation is a core feature; however, without adequate governance and training, users can end up having multiple sites in the absence of control or tracking. Similarly, in Teams, the chances of multiple teams being created is very real. The duplication of teams and sites can obfuscate real work and hinder data quality and reliability.
Among the asks is the need for clear templates, layouts, and consistency in maintaining the brand image and ease of use while making systems unambiguous.
In the absence of templates, different departments may refer to the same data or process with other terms, resulting in confusion, duplication, and a waste of time and effort.
The solution lies in creating fixed templates that help collaboration and communication across departments without confusion over terms and names. Color themes and branding issues are also addressed through templates and establishing best practices that ensure consistent behavior across the organization.
Across businesses, processes generate data which they share – internally and externally. And this must be done safely and securely. So when processes are built with checks and controls, data is protected.
Permissions, authorizations, and tracking of activities are vital to creating a secure environment. This helps keep the site and team creation getting out of hand. With a rise in data sharing- internally and externally, with limited powers- permissions take on a critical role. It is essential to ensure data confidentiality and prevent data leaks or breaches of any kind- unintentional or otherwise.
Among the popular third-party tools in use are products from Powell, AvePoint, and Sharegate.
Let’s look at the offerings to identify the best fit for an organization to augment its Microsoft 365 with an additional governance tool.
Powell offers Powell 365, an Intranet, and Teams offering with an additional governance tool. The tool is a good solution with a user-friendly UI. Additionally, the Powell license provides the option to view third-party app data on the SharePoint site. It comes with a dashboard that provides a single glance insight into permissions, new site creation, and general management. Powell is user-friendly, has a great UI, allows provisioning and tagging.
Sharegate offers Apricot, a governance tool that comes free with it. While the basic version is free, the biggest drawback is that it doesn’t allow provisioning. Users cannot create new teams. The dashboard, however, is good and shows existing teams and essential information.
AvePoint’s Myhub is a popular governance tool. However, users have expressed hesitation over the steep learning curve required to use this tool effectively.
There are some obvious drawbacks to each of these solutions which a custom solution can overcome.
First and foremost is the cost involved. Neither Powell nor AvePoint comes cheap. The annual fees will set you back by 60k to 100KUSD per year. Sharegate Apricot, while offered free with the license, comes with certain limitations.
A customized solution can be yours at half the cost.
Any off-the-shelf solution cannot be perfect. Clients have certain specific requirements that these solutions cannot always meet. For instance, one business might want to accommodate ServiceNow tickets directly on SharePoint; another could want Zoom and Channel threads integrated onto their site.
Customized governance products can accommodate these requests while ensuring data remains safe. Organizations can share their requirements, and a customized solution can be built with all governance issues taken into account.
A major drawback with third-party tools is that all configurations remain with the third-party solution. This means that if a customer leaves or wants to switch providers, they lose all the configurations, such as tags and naming conventions. The teams live in the customer tenant but will no longer have access to the configuration
The most significant advantage when you get a custom-built solution is that you maintain complete control over all aspects of the solution.
A business can get all the features that standard tools offer and more, with a customized tool. What they can expect is a: