Microsoft MVPs at Ignite 2019: Governance, Teams, and everything in-between

Missed out on Microsoft Ignite 2019? We spoke to Microsoft MVPs to get the low-down on what's new, next, and best practice for Office 365 Governance, Microsoft Teams, and everything in-between.

Microsoft's annual Ignite conference is the company's flagship event for information technology professionals and developers—and the place to catch the latest and greatest announcements about the future of IT.

This year's event in Orlando, Florida attracted upwards of 25,000 tech enthusiasts, with the promise of 2,000+ sessions and 175 separate announcements (according to certain members of the media lucky enough to receive an 87-page document detailing them ahead of the event).

ShareGate caught up with some of the many Microsoft MVPs in attendance to get the low-down on the most important announcements at this year's event—as well as their tips, tricks, and best practices for anyone (and at this point, isn't it quickly become everyone?) who's interested in deploying Microsoft Teams.


Ignite announcements that will have the biggest impact in 2020

I think the biggest announcement is Project Cortex. I am really, really excited about that.

Susan Hanley (@susanhanley)

All of the AI capabilities they announced as part of Microsoft 365 are going to be amazing! Now you can do a voice-based search to say, 'Show me all of the emails from John with attachments from last week.'

Sarah Haase (@sarahhaase)

Project Cortex. And maybe people can start trusting data again as well. I think that's going to be pretty incredible.

Tracy Van der Schyff (@tracyvds)

The trainable classifier is the biggest thing that's gonna make the biggest impact. It tackles all of that big corporate dark data that's out there

Joanne C Klein (@joannecklein)Tweet this

Project Cortex is probably the biggest thing that I've head from Microsoft in a while.

Marc D Anderson (@sympcmarc)

You no longer need humans to take information inside of these knowledge repositories.

Alistair Pugin (@alistairpugin)

I am really excited about search customization. Now we can bring the things that we knew about classic search into the modern world, and we're going to be able to build some of those customizations with search.

Julie Turner (@jfj1997)

The trainable classifier is the biggest thing that's gonna make the biggest impact. It tackles all of that big corporate dark data that's out there. It's not going to rely on people to manually classify things. I think it's going to be a game changer.

Joanne C Klein (@joannecklein)

Yammer's gonna get a nice facelift. It's getting some nice integration into Teams as well. The people have been asking about that forever.

Mark Rackley (@mrackley)

Yeah, over the years, it's grown to be Azure Arc.

Jussi Roine (@jussiroine)

They are now finally putting a lot of effort into the next generation of content management. Awesome. That's amazing. I love it.

Maarten Eekels (@maarteneekels)

Governance tips and tricks to implement before deploying Microsoft Teams

For me, it's about making sure that your tenant is ready to utilize Teams before you flip the switch and say, 'Teams is available to everyone.'

Alistair Pugin (@alistairpugin)

Proper education is going to be key to making sure that you don't lose control of your Teams environment.

Mark Rackley (@mrackley)

Think about how you want to manage your Teams. Would you like expiration policies in place? Would you like information barriers? Would you like information management policies in place?

Maarten Eekels (@maarteneekels)

The number one trick is to let people use this stuff. You need to understand how your organization reacts, and you can't make those decisions unless you let them use it.

Marc D Anderson (@sympcmarc)Tweet this

A lot of times, we mitigate or minimize risk if people are more informed so they can make better decisions. So, if we can inform people better so that they can make better decisions, they understand what risk is.

Tracy Van der Schyff (@tracyvds)

The number one trick is to let people use this stuff. You need to understand how your organization reacts, and you can't make those decisions unless you let them use it.

Marc D Anderson (@sympcmarc)

Microsoft has published some pretty good consolidated questions to ask about Teams. I've extracted them into my, sort of, ongoing maintained set of governance questions. Have the conversation so that you understand what's happening, first. And that will at least give you some direction before you move forward.

Susan Hanley (@susanhanley)

I think you need to have your classification systems set up in advance.

Joanne C Klein (@joannecklein)

Office 365 Groups—a.k.a. Teams—do you want to allow them to grow organically? Do you want to allow your users to create them at will? Do you want to have a structured process?

Sarah Haase (@sarahhaase)

Biggest misconceptions about Microsoft Teams

I think a big misconception is that there's only one way to use a tool like Teams. The misconception is often that when you do something the way you've heard other people do it, you'll get the same result. And you won't. The success factors are not the technology. It's all about the people who are using the stuff, and how it will serve them, and how they can use those tools in order to be more successful.

Marc D Anderson (@sympcmarc)

What people don't get—and you only get when you start using it successfully—is that Teams is the thing that brings everything together. Teams is the glue that sticks Planner, and OneNote, and SharePoint, and eventually Outlook, and my tasks—everything together.

Tracy Van der Schyff (@tracyvds)

The biggest misconception that people have about Microsoft Teams is that it alone is going to be the silver bullet that's going to fix all of the problems.

Sarah Haase (@sarahhaase)

What I hear a lot is: 'Oh, Teams, another tool. Another platform where I have to keep track of notifications. And I already have my email and Yammer and WhatsApp and all the different things. And now I've got another one.'

Maarten Eekels (@maarteneekels)

I think the biggest misconception people have about Microsoft Teams is that it is separate from SharePoint.

Susan Hanley (@susanhanley)Tweet this

This misconception that, you know, it's just going to cause sprawl and chaos—and we can't have that. So we have to shut everything down and stop people from using it because we don't want to lose control.

Mark Rackley (@mrackley)

It's not just going to switch on and people start using it. You need a proper change management and user adoption strategy when it comes to using Teams.

Alistair Pugin (@alistairpugin)

I think the biggest misconception people have about Microsoft Teams is that it is separate from SharePoint. When you create a Team, you also get a team site. And all those documents that you see in Teams really live in your team site, which is in SharePoint.

Susan Hanley (@susanhanley)

In other words, they don't understand the architecture behind it. And end users really shouldn't have to. But those that work on the backend security and compliance need to understand that.

Joanne C Klein (@joannecklein)

I don't think a lot of people understand that if you build a customization for SharePoint using the SharePoint framework, that that exact customization can also be deployed into Teams as a tab.

Julie Turner (@jfj1997)

High-impact best practices to keep all of your Teams work safe and secure

The single best practice that helps keep your Teams content safe and secure? We have to make sure that we're having authentic conversations with our users about data security, data policy, and how we go about managing the permissions for our data.

Sarah Haase (@sarahhaase)

There are so many attack vectors—so many different ways it's possible, in theory, to have someone come in and get your stuff. The number one thing you can do from a technology standpoint is to monitor how permissions are set. That's the same as SharePoint. The tools are there to protect the jewels—but you have to make sure you use them.

Marc D Anderson (@sympcmarc)

I think it's making sure that your users understand what's going on, what they're doing.

Susan Hanley (@susanhanley)

When you enable guest access on a tenant-level, that guest access—by default—is enabled for all the teams that you already have in your environment. When you start to use guest access in your tenant, make sure that you look at all your existing teams and disable it on a team-level where it's unnecessary. For example, an HR team or a legal team.

Maarten Eekels (@maarteneekels)

The first thing that we can do to protect the content we work with is make sure that the people that create and work with that content understand the impact of their actions. As technology advances, as we add more apps and things, it's the gift that keeps on giving. If we put that skill back in them, then the little tweaks we do will make sense to them and they'll adopt it. They'll work with content more safely.

Tracy Van der Schyff (@tracyvds)

We have to make sure that we're having authentic conversations with our users about data security, data policy, and how we go about managing the permissions for our data.

Sarah Haase (@sarahhaase)Tweet this

Having a good external sharing strategy if you allow external sharing.

Joanne C Klein (@joannecklein)

They've created groupings for policies. So you can actually create a policy that you can apply to multiple groups, it's not every team you have to hit the slider full of policies that you want to do. You can now group policies and apply them.

Alistair Pugin (@alistairpugin)

Planning for good governance

End user education, strategies for external sharing, and managing the permissions for our data—the MVPs we talked to at this year's Ignite seem to agree that a forward-looking governance strategy is the key to a healthy and secure Office 365 environment.

But even the best governance plan is difficult to scale if you're enforcing it manually. As Joanne Klein explained in her recent webinar, you need to leverage AI and automation to address security at scale—and a third-party governance tool could be just the thing to help you out.

However you choose to design and implement governance in your organization, remember that you'll be most successful if you think about it before deploying new apps like Microsoft Teams.


Get the visibility you need to keep apps like Microsoft Teams on track. ShareGate Apricot monitors your tenant and automatically highlights ways to make it healthier based on the policies you've set.

Get the visibility you need to keep Teams on track.

You might also like