Still settling for Microsoft default site templates? You and your end users deserve better. Check out how our new feature leverages ShareGate’s powerful migration engine to provision next-generation workspaces.
Managing digital workspaces is a big challenge for IT. You know it; we know it. Dealing with the needs of end users, securing and cleaning up the tenant, ensuring people are using their tools the best way possible… and, on top of that, dedicating time to strategic projects. No easy feat, my friend.
Microsoft 365 is changing this reality, making it easier for users and IT to collaborate and be more efficient in the digital space. And if you add solutions like ShareGate to the mix, enabling you to create provisioning templates for employees in their self-serve environments, you can expect even better results.
Now we’re unveiling a new, unique feature that takes ShareGate provisioning to the next level, associating purposeful, easy-to-create SharePoint sites to your provisioned Teams. It’s ShareGate Blueprints, which brings together IT needs and the employee experience to make your templates more dynamic, purposeful, and relevant than ever.
Let’s see what ShareGate Blueprints is and how it can transform your digital workspace management strategy.
Table of contents
What is ShareGate Blueprints?
Each time we create a team from a template, Microsoft associates a SharePoint site to it to store this team’s content. Ok, you might already know that.
And suppose you’re used to Teams provisioning with ShareGate. In that case, you also know that whenever users created teams from the templates you provided, with your policies and guardrails in place, they were associated with generic, default SharePoint sites. Blueprints came to transform that.
With ShareGate Blueprints, you identify an existing SharePoint site that fits the purpose of your Teams template and embed it in your provisioning templates. So, when someone provisions a team with that template, ShareGate’s powerful migration engine copies the blueprint site with all its content, folders, web parts, and components. This way, end users can create perfectly purpose-fit Teams sites just minutes after the workspace’s creation, while IT ensures the new content will be fully secure and compliant with their policies.
A good part of the ShareGate Blueprints magic comes from our dynamic templates. With them, any changes you apply to the blueprint site will dynamically show in the provisioning template, ensuring it will be updated the next time employees use it to create a team and making it much easier for IT to maintain their templates.
Why do Blueprints matter to IT and end users?
ShareGate Blueprints takes provisioning to a whole different level. It repurposes over ten years of ShareGate’s unique migration engine into an incredibly powerful workspace provisioning solution. Our customers have been asking for this feature for a long time, and now that it’s here, we can’t help being in awe of what it can do for IT and end users!
Here are some use cases and scenarios in which ShareGate Blueprints comes to save your day:
You turn off self-service because you can’t do provisioning the way you want. Right after that, productivity suffers, and shadow IT is rising.
Self-service means more autonomy for end users. Without it, they might find it harder to collaborate and look for other tools to do their work. ShareGate already enabled you to build solid provisioning plans, a key element in any governance strategy. With ShareGate Blueprints, it’s even easier to toggle self-service back on and see users create and manage teams freely, securely, and with the best associated SharePoint sites possible.
Without an effective provisioning solution, sprawl is all over your tenant.
Sprawl is a serious productivity killer since it can confuse and misinform end users. It also increases costs (for storing inactive teams, for example) and increases security risks since IT can easily lose track of what lives in the tenant. With ShareGate Blueprints, you can deliver purpose-fit workspace solutions that exceed end-user expectations. Using your blueprints, people won’t be creating unnecessary teams, making it easier for you to keep the environment nice and clean.
You can’t modify Microsoft’s native team creation form, making it impossible to collect all needed information and control what you want.
There’s only so much you can do with Microsoft 365’s native solutions, such as creating a team exactly how you want. When you leverage ShareGate provisioning and ShareGate Blueprints, you can customize your template to the purpose of your workspace and the policies and guardrails of your organization’s governance plan. Once you do it, it is one-and-done for all your Teams workspaces.
Even with a provisioning process, you’d still need to tweak the team’s SharePoint site to give it the structure and content required to support its purpose.
Ok, so let’s say you must create a team for every project in your department or organization so people collaborate more efficiently. Creating each team can be time-consuming and frustrating because you could do a quick copy with ShareGate’s Migration Tool—but then you’d need to be an administrator. So, if you realize that specific team sites need the same structure and content, just identify an ideal site as your blueprint. This way, every time users have similar projects, they’ll create their teams using this blueprint, and the proper structure and content will be there, while for IT, the whole process will be less time-consuming, with less back-and-forth and fewer tickets to deal with.
You don’t like the provisioning options available, so you’re considering creating your own with Microsoft’s native apps.
Forget PowerShell and Power Apps. As knowledgeable and proactive as you may be, creating a provisioning solution from scratch would be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. And we’re sure your time is more valuable than that. With ShareGate Blueprints, you’ll get full-circle automated provisioning following best practices and distributing work across your organization within minutes of set up. Then, you can focus on more strategic work.
How can you leverage Blueprints for your organization?
You know how managers and business leaders love the idea of “doing more with less.” But what does it mean, exactly?
In our recent chat with Karuana Gatimu, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft, she mentioned how “doing more with less” means more than just ROI: it’s about ensuring users make the most of their time with the Microsoft 365 services they already have and generate impact.
This idea surely applies to ShareGate Blueprints. Now that you know the power of ShareGate provisioning, you can present it to your managers as a tool for boosting efficiency for IT and end users. After all, it’s included in the ShareGate subscription you already have (or planning to acquire), so your solution for building the next-generation workspace comes at no extra cost. Win-win!
Tackling change like a pro
ShareGate Blueprints is a critical element of ShareGate provisioning, but other features will help you manage your environment like never before. Let’s take a look at them.
We mentioned this above already, but we can’t stress it enough: dynamic templates play a significant role in making ShareGate Blueprints essential to your provisioning efficiency. After you change the blueprint, your templates update automatically, making this whole process a one-stop effort—and pivoting with end users’ changing needs becomes a breeze.
Monitoring workspace lifecycle
Because visibility is everything, ShareGate recently improved its visibility experience with a new single dashboard, replacing its previous four policy dashboards. In one stop, you see who created what, when and where, and with what template. It also provides rotating recommendations to help IT manage their environment, like archiving or deleting inactive teams or asking team owners to take action.
Managing approval workflows
This is another customer request we have been working on for some time. Now, ShareGate provides an approval process step in which, before a provisioned team is created, it can be submitted for approval by the admin. This process is enabled when IT creates the template, allowing them to determine which template the teams needing approval would be generated from. This makes it harder for users to create duplicate teams or name them inadequately, and it’s also ideal for highly confidential teams or those with external members.
Increasing end-user productivity (with peace of mind)
ShareGate Blueprints is also about empowering employees in their self-serve environments, giving them the freedom to create things securely and efficiently. And this amazing new feature wouldn’t be able to deliver on its promise without ShareGate’s end-user app, the ultimate tool for flexibility and autonomy. There, people create, manage, and take action on their purposeful workspaces while you rest easy knowing users are on the right course and your guardrails are in place.
To add even more to this element of productivity, ShareGate launched a meeting recordings feature in the end-user app. It provides people with a single space where they can go back and watch past meetings right from their app calendar. This feature also allows you to filter results in a custom date range, adding even more customization and granularity to what you’re looking for. So, no more jumping between teams or scrolling down channels looking for recordings.
With the end-user app, employees can also assign a point of contact, signaling to IT who among the team owners is a decision-maker and should be contacted in case of any issue. This comes in handy when, for example, your team has members and owners from different departments, and IT can’t make sense of who to ask to remove unwanted guests or add purpose or sensitivity tags.
What’s next in ShareGate provisioning
The provisioning space is constantly changing, just like the needs of end users, so that we couldn’t stop at ShareGate Blueprints. Here’s what’s cooking for ShareGate provisioning right now:
- Selecting an existing team as a blueprint (and not only a SharePoint site), with all the Planner plans, files, tabs, and apps already in place
- Associating a SharePoint site to a hub (when a SharePoint site links together sites and pages based on certain shared features)
- Adding multiple approvers for team creation—adding a manager, for example, in more sensitive projects or cases
- Sending Teams notifications automatically—when a user sends an approval request for team creation, for example
Shaping the next-generation workspace
As Jeff Teper, President of Collaborative Apps & Platforms at Microsoft, told us recently in a fireside chat, one of the main elements in the modern workspace is having employee experience tools that help people take their performance to the next level. This is when people can truly collaborate and do their best work.
And this is what ShareGate Blueprints is about. It’s a massive step for ShareGate, leveraging its migration tool and many years of expertise and dealing with customers to bring together IT needs and employee experience, helping shape the next-generation workspace.
We hope you join us on this journey! Try ShareGate Blueprints and provisioning, and share your feedback on our Product Board!