New in ShareGate: Ask owners, on demand, to clean up their inactive teams and groups

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In this product release, we’ve made it easy for you to collaborate, on demand, with owners of specific inactive teams and groups, to clean them up.

We know it’s hard to keep track of teams and groups that have been created, how and if they’re being used, and who has access to what— to better manage and secure Teams.

As users get more and more comfortable using Microsoft Teams, you’ll soon be (if you aren’t already!) faced with a growing number of idle resources, whether it be duplicate teams or teams and groups for projects that have run their course. And as time goes on, you’ll want a sustainable and quick way to clean up these inactive teams and groups, so that users can continue working efficiently in Teams.

You need to decide what action you’ll take to clean them up, and that shouldn’t take you too much time, right? Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

Related reading: How to find inactive Microsoft Teams and groups

If you’re not a member of a team or group, you likely won’t know what to do with them. You want to avoid accidentally deleting teams such as Marco’s “Marketing” team, which might have a good reason for being inactive, or accidentally keeping Alice’s “Summer BBQ 2019” team—because that will mean extra work for you if you need to rectify either decision. And rarely do you only have two inactive teams to deal with.

So now you have to do quite a bit of grunt work to simply get a view of which groups and teams are inactive – that typically means pulling Office 365 group reports to check for activity and cross-checking with Teams usage reports. Alternatively, you might be running PowerShell scripts to interpret and identify inactive teams.

Whether you pull reports or run scripts, you still need to:

  • Manually check-in with the inactive teams and groups’ respective owners to validate what to do
  • Hope for a response from owners, and
  • Manually update the information accordingly

You’re looking at a laborious, time-consuming, and unreliable process. There’s no way for you to easily and conveniently ask owners, on demand, to confirm what needs to be done with their team or group. That’s exactly the problem we’re tackling with our latest release.

Watch ShareGate’s “Ask owner(s)” feature in action


Introducing ‘Ask owners’ for inactive teams in ShareGate

At ShareGate, we want to help you find out what needs to be done with idle resources, directly from owners, at any time.

That’s why we’re excited to extend our ‘Ask owners’ capability to our inactive detection policy in ShareGate. This on-demand collaboration feature allows you to get hard-to-collect information about what to do with inactive teams and groups, directly from owners, with the help of our Microsoft Teams chatbot or via email.

Ask owners on demand to act on their inactive teams

You can now ask owners of specific teams to decide what they want to do with their inactive team, either via our Teams chatbot or via email, whenever you want. Since you don’t necessarily know why they’ve turned inactive and what’s to be done, simply ask those who know best: the team owners. That way, you can rest assured that the correct decision will be taken, and you’ll be one step closer to a cleaner environment.

Teams are flagged as inactive when no user-generated activity (in Teams, Outlook, and SharePoint) has been detected for a specific amount of time. It’s up to you to decide how long you want that inactivity threshold to be; you can set the default inactivity detection policy or customize your inactive policies based on each team’s purpose.

Let’s say you have 1,000 teams in your organization and based on our own customer data, at least 20% of them are probably inactive. That’s at least 200 teams. Without ShareGate, you’d have to run after at least 200 owners to figure out what they want to do with their inactive team to then manually implement their decisions. Instead, you can save time by asking ShareGate’s Teams chatbot to individually poke owners of specific inactive teams to choose what they want to do with it.

Let’s take Marco’s “Marketing” team that you didn’t want to accidentally delete. You ask Marco what he wants to do with his team, and he’ll receive a notification in Teams asking him whether it should be kept, deleted or archived. His decision will automatically be applied, and the information will be relayed back to you in ShareGate. It’s that simple!

If Marco decides to keep his team, it’ll no longer appear as inactive in ShareGate. On the other hand, if he decides to delete it, it’ll immediately be deleted alongside its files and folders. Whereas if he decides to archive the team, all the files and folders will be archived, accessible to you in case Marco needs to retrieve them, even after Microsoft’s 30-day soft delete period. Do note that if you want to offer the archive option, you need to set up an Azure storage.

How it works

From the Manage tab, you can easily filter your teams and groups to see the ones that have been flagged as inactive. All you have to do is click on the “Ask owner(s) button” next to the team you want the chatbot to reach. If there’s more than one team that you’d want to contact, select multiple teams, and do it in bulk.

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With our upcoming revamped Dashboard tab, you’ll be able to quickly monitor the progress of your request, and if no owner replies after 14 days, you simply ask the chatbot to “Ask owner(s)” again. New graphs will give you a visual of the overall progression of inactive teams in your tenant, and the percentage of owners who’ve chosen to keep, delete or archive.

Automatically ask all owners to clean up their inactive teams

If you’re all about making the process as seamless and simple as possible, you’ll be happy to hear that you can automate this capability. This means you can ask ShareGate to automatically contact owners of every inactive team to act once it’s been flagged as such.

How it works

To automate this process, you have two options:

  1. Click on the gear icon located on the “Inactive teams” filter on the Manage tab, or
  2. Go directly to the Policies section of the Settings tab

And simply toggle on “Ask owners automatically for the inactive policy”.

Ask Owners Inactive Settings 1

By automating this process, you can rest assured that the right decisions are taken about the unused resources within your Teams. It also makes it the owners’ responsibility to keep the environment clean, as it impacts their ability to navigate through Microsoft’s multiple apps.

As for users you don’t want to disturb, such as VPs or C-level executives, simply add these users’ information to the Do not disturb list in the General section of the Settings tab. That way, if the team for which they’re an owner turns inactive, they won’t automatically be notified. Instead, you might opt to manually get in touch with them or any of the other team owners.

By automating this process, you can easily identify and clean out specific inactive teams and groups, whenever you want, with the help of owners. Having to guess what needs to be done and chasing after owners are things of the past now that you can let ShareGate do the job, with a single click.

Coming soon: See how inactive teams have evolved over time with new graphs

We’re currently revamping our Dashboard tab so that you can easily see how your tenant has evolved over time, especially when talking about the activity status of your teams. We know that ShareGate can help you better manage idle resources, clean up inactive resources with the help of owners, and with time, reduce clutter. But don’t take our word for it—take a look at your new graphs once they’re available!

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