Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: using Microsoft native tools to manage your Microsoft 365 environment has limitations and challenges, costing your IT team in the long run.
Your IT team is more than just a support beam; it’s a strategic partner to the business, driving transformative digital experiences and prioritizing end-user productivity and security. Especially if you’re using Microsoft 365, you’re working behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly.
But maintaining such a robust system rich in complexities is challenging. With a gargantuan cloud-based productivity platform like Microsoft 365, there’s a need for meticulous IT governance.
An IT team’s first line of defense? They often start with Microsoft’s built-in features and functionalities, such as PowerShell scripts and Microsoft Forms, to manage their Microsoft 365 environment.
Those tools may seem cost-effective upfront. But relying on them for the long haul eats into valuable IT time and hampers what your team and business users can achieve in Microsoft 365.
The costs of lost productivity and time impact everyone, as we’ll explore in this article. So, making the most of Microsoft 365 and managing it effectively means embracing modern practices that propel your IT team and organization forward.
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From old to new: Embracing modern IT
Gone are the days when IT teams were just cost centers. Nowadays, they’re integral to contributing to their organization’s bottom line by adopting forward-thinking strategies. This is especially true when we talk about moving from legacy IT to modern, cloud-based solutions like Microsoft 365.
Modern IT focuses on delivering digital experiences that boost the organization’s financial success. To make the magic happen, IT needs the space to collaborate with the organization at a higher level and time to innovate! And the key? Freeing them up from those time-consuming, low-value tasks.
That’s where modern IT solutions take the lead here, automating manual tasks and ditching outdated, makeshift solutions.
When it comes to managing Microsoft 365’s incredible ecosystem of integrated apps, tools, and services, it can be hands-down challenging. Instinctively, IT teams turn to the native tools that come with Microsoft 365 to build and maintain solutions, from routine administrative tasks to custom workflows and processes. These methods typically involve doing things manually.
So, although Microsoft native tools are good for filling short-term gaps, they fall short in managing the complexities of an ever-evolving environment. Let’s look at the reasons why.
Microsoft native tools aren’t free
Those late nights spent coding. The challenges conquered using tools like PowerShell and Microsoft Forms, and navigating the Microsoft 365 Admin Center maze to build your tech world. It’s easy to get attached to these tools when spending countless hours manually developing solutions tailored to your organization.
But let’s talk about the elephant in the room: familiarity with these tools can lead IT to overlook their limitations and challenges.
- They’re complex: Microsoft’s built-in tools don’t come out of the box. They’re inherently complex, requiring expertise and specialized skills not all IT admins have.
- They’re time-intensive: Building do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions with Microsoft tools can extend from weeks to months, impacting your team and taking away from the time they could otherwise spend on more valuable tasks. Additionally, using tools like PowerShell, while powerful, can demand frequent script adjustments to adapt to Microsoft updates and changes in your environment, making it a time-consuming process.
- Involves IT intervention and oversight: Microsoft tools often need constant attention to ensure everything is running smoothly. They aren’t designed to adapt to an organization’s evolving needs. For example, if you want to let your end users create and manage workspaces—not as easy as it sounds. And keeping up with Microsoft’s latest and greatest features? Get ready for constant script and tool updates.
- Not fully automated: Building and maintaining complex solutions using Microsoft tools only automates certain aspects, causing performance issues and limiting scalability, potentially adding to your costs.
The pitfalls of inefficient Microsoft 365 management
Consider how a lack of proper IT governance or an inefficiently managed environment from using native tools affects both your team and business users.
1. Impact on IT productivity
Responding to user tickets and incidents
An organization’s productivity can go out the window if IT support has to deal with a mountain of tickets. On average, it takes a helpdesk 57 minutes to resolve a ticket.
So, why does it take so long? When a user submits a request about a technical issue, IT support needs to tackle several steps to solve their problem:
- Get oriented on the issue at hand
- Connect with the employee to get more details about the request
- Research the resolution
- Take the steps to resolve the problem
- Check back with the employee to close the ticket
That process is time-consuming and resource-draining. Have you ever measured your cost per ticket? Depending on your amount of users, think about the hours and dollars sunk into supporting employee requests. What if you could optimize your environment and deliver time and money back to your business? Consider how many of those tickets could be mitigated with a fully automated governance solution that would reduce common user requests like:
- Can’t find workspace, content, or tools
- Merging duplicate teams or workspaces
- Workspace policy questions
- Workspace customization requests
- Issues from using the wrong workspace or tools
- Training on how to use workspaces optimally
- External sharing or guest access incidents
- Inappropriate sharing of company IP incidents
Manual maintenance and monitoring challenges
Native tools are complex when it comes to managing your Microsoft 365 environment. The manual labor required to handle routine tasks and maintain a platform’s stability is time-consuming and inefficient.
For example, IT often wastes significant time navigating Microsoft 365 admin centers to manually adjust settings, policies, and permissions, especially at the object level. They may also get into lengthy back-and-forth conversations while collaborating with end users to resolve issues from lifecycle management, external sharing, or inactive resources.
While IT can leverage ad-hoc scripts and forms to fill urgent needs, these are short-term solutions. Building and maintaining custom workflows isn’t sustainable since they’ll need to be updated regularly as your organization changes. It’s time-consuming to scale these native tool solutions as an organization’s needs grow and, worse still, could create urgent issues that take IT’s eye off more valuable projects that could contribute to an organization’s bottom line.
In such an environment, what happens is that workloads increase, workflow becomes inconsistent, and mistakes happen more frequently.
2. Impact on business users
It’s not just IT feeling the pinch. When there’s a lack of effective governance and inefficiency in cloud-based collaboration tools like Microsoft 365, it also impacts regular users. Their focus, motivation, and productivity take a hit.
Without a good governance plan, the staggering amount of data produced daily and the graveyard of unstructured and unused data in Microsoft 365 lead to sprawl. This data includes a bunch of abandoned or rarely used workspaces or teams with empty channels and (potentially sensitive) data spread across them. Sprawl includes:
- Users creating workspaces and content at will
- Duplicate workspaces and content
- Inactive workspaces and content due to lack of lifecycle management or duplication of assets
- Orphaned users and workspaces
If data sprawl goes unchecked and unprotected, sensitive company information is put at risk.
Content search and findability
Finding what you need in an unorganized Microsoft 365 environment becomes a struggle. While the more experienced employees have the right tools and expertise to find content more quickly, it’s not as easy for the average end user, which causes frustration and lowers productivity. Beyond the time spent, employees struggle to access the resources they need because they don’t understand how to find information within their systems.
This all leads to a disengaged workforce, often resulting in frustration or confusion when employees face obstacles hindering their work.
Disengaged employees cost time and money. According to Gallup research, an actively disengaged employee can cost an organization $3,400 for every $10,000 salary, or 34%. Imagine if almost 20% of your workforce isn’t happy at work. That’s what disengagement looks like.
Employees are more likely to be productive when they feel supported and empowered. Gallup’s engagement survey shows the 12 basic needs to improve employee productivity. A good IT governance strategy can directly impact three of these needs:
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- My associates and fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
The need for automated governance solutions
Instead of going deeper into this IT maze, there’s an opportunity to automate and simplify the management and governance of Microsoft 365.
By leveraging a fully automated solution, IT teams can focus their efforts in the right places, knowing that the automation implemented handles Microsoft 365 management according to best practices. This automation not only saves on costs but also enables IT teams to redirect their efforts towards more strategic and valuable tasks, ultimately boosting productivity and contributing to the bottom line.
Here are just a few ways an out-of-the-box Microsoft 365 management solution like ShareGate can help you reach your IT goals easier and faster:
- Centralized, actionable pre-built reports that give you visibility and allow you to course-correct before things go wrong.
- Modernize your SharePoint architecture in a few clicks, organizing end users’ content to reflect the way they actually work.
- Stay on top of external sharing and guest access (hands-free!)—so end users can collaborate on Teams with all security.
- Automate the process of detecting your inactive or orphaned teams and sites to clean up your environment.
- Automate end-user collaboration to resolve issues around inactive teams, sensitivity, purpose, external users, etc.
- Automate the creation of new SharePoint sites and Microsoft Teams based on predefined, customizable templates.
Matthew Carter, Cloud Engineer III at IDEMIA, estimates ShareGate saves him at least six hours for every 20 tickets he resolves.
Calculate your costs
What’s it costing you to manage your Microsoft 365 environment using Microsoft native tools like PowerShell?
TIP: Use our cost calculator to discover untapped opportunities and savings customized to your business reality. It combines metrics specific to your business with industry benchmarks, such as the ones discussed in this article, to estimate how much ad-hoc management might be costing your IT team and your organization.
Remember, the real cost isn’t just the dollars and time spent on fixing issues and maintenance; it’s the missed opportunity to turn Microsoft 365 into the collaborative and secure tool it should be, and boost your organization’s profitability.
Propel your business forward, not merely keeping pace but surging ahead with ShareGate, a true out-of-the-box management solution for Microsoft 365.