The best insider tips about managing SharePoint Online with ShareGate 

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If you’ve ever questioned, “Can I effectively manage SharePoint using ShareGate?” Well, my digital friend, you’ve come to the right place because the answer is a resounding yes! 

Whether you’re a SharePoint sorcerer or just left the cupboard under your uncle’s stairs, this article is your ticket to unlocking the full potential of your ShareGate subscription. Brace yourself for SharePoint management tips that’ll leave you grinning like a well-fed Cheshire cat.

I’ll unveil insider tips, including how ShareGate’s policies apply not only to Microsoft Teams teams but also to individual sites. Additionally, I’ll explore ShareGate Blueprints, an incredible feature for team site provisioning, allowing you to identify purpose-fit SharePoint sites as blueprints to embed in provisioning templates. Now, grab a bowl of microwaved baked beans (or whatever your brain food is), and let’s learn some stuff!


Understanding SharePoint Online and its structure

Before I cannonball into a big pool of ShareGate’s SharePoint management solutions, let’s take a moment to refresh our understanding of what SharePoint is exactly. 

SharePoint Online is the heart and soul of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. It’s a potent web-based application that enhances collaboration and facilitates information exchange throughout organizations. In simpler words, it’s the cloud iteration of SharePoint on-prem, providing users with the capability to store, share, and manage content seamlessly. 

Within SharePoint, you’ll encounter various characters, like team and communication sites, each wielding its unique superpower.

  • Team sites serve as digital hubs for department or project members to collaborate towards shared goals and foster teamwork. 
  • In contrast, communication sites function like a town crier, broadcasting important messages to the entire organization and ensuring everyone is informed.

Congratulations. You can now add “understanding SharePoint” to your resume. Let’s move on.


Think groups, not teams

Here’s where your brain food comes in. 

At the core of collaboration across the Microsoft 365 landscape lies Microsoft 365 Groups, the conductors orchestrating cooperation. You’re probably familiar with the concept of a group. It’s that thing that allows you to give people permissions access to your Microsoft 365 applications’ folders and files—like SharePoint. 

(If, at this point, you’re thinking, “Lee, I’m lost! Help me understand better the relationship between Microsoft 365 Groups, Teams, and SharePoint.” Then that’s okay. Because I’ve got you covered.

But here’s the showstopper: ShareGate, often recognized for its association with Microsoft Teams, extends its prowess to Groups, too. That’s right. ShareGate goes way beyond Teams. It also oversees SharePoint team and communication sites and soon OneDrive for Business!

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With ShareGate, users can effectively manage and optimize Microsoft 365 Groups that are not associated with a Teams team, promoting seamless collaboration. It simplifies resource management and permissions, ultimately enhancing productivity and security. 

PSST: Our governance policies extend to SharePoint sites too, which I’ll cover in a minute.


How to manage SharePoint with the ShareGate migration tool  

Stop what you’re doing and listen: cannonball! 

ShareGate’s signature migration tool is the cornerstone of its SharePoint management capabilities. It effortlessly copies, moves, and restores SharePoint content during data migrations. It’s your go-to companion for transitioning between different setups, whether migrating from on-prem to the cloud or shifting between SharePoint Online tenants. 

But that’s just the beginning. ShareGate is your SharePoint organizational guru, offering content management tools to keep your SharePoint platform as organized as a Marie Kondo-approved closet. It simplifies tasks like content relocation, editing, and restructuring, transforming SharePoint into an ultra-user-friendly and efficient space. 

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If that wasn’t enough to get that Cheshire grin I promised, ShareGate’s document management solution offers intuitive drag-and-drop functionality and bulk editing to save time while managing permissions, metadata, and file structures. 

In addition to migration and content management solutions, ShareGate offers something special—our Microsoft 365 maturity assessment tool. This assessment provides personalized insights and practical advice tailored to your organization’s needs. It’s all based on the information you share about your current environment.

The trick is to unlock the full potential of your Microsoft 365 investment; cool, huh? But let’s take it one step at a time and save that for another post.


Managing SharePoint with ShareGate’s governance policies 

Now, I know you know all about ShareGate’s governance policies for Microsoft Teams (if you don’t, now’s your chance). But did you know that they also extend to SharePoint team sites? Erh, yes, please! 

Implementing ShareGate’s governance policies is crucial for maintaining order in the dynamic Microsoft 365 environment, encompassing both SharePoint and Teams—promoting efficient collaboration and resource management. These include:

  • Inactivity detection: ShareGate allows you to set custom inactivity periods for SharePoint team sites and Teams, prompting owners to action when these remain inactive. This proactive approach ensures efficient resource management by encouraging owners to optimize their digital spaces.
  • Purpose tags: Identify the business purposes of SharePoint team sites and Teams using purpose tags. ShareGate automatically prompts owners to apply purpose tags, ensuring clarity in team objectives. This functionality is vital for both SharePoint team sites and Teams, as it keeps teams active and organized based on their specific roles and goals.
  • External sharing review: ShareGate simplifies external sharing management and enhances security by automating external sharing reviews. It identifies SharePoint team sites and Teams that require assessment based on predefined policies, notifying owners to manage their external sharing links and guest access. This feature enhances control over external collaboration and ensures that sensitive information doesn’t stay in the wrong hands.
  • Sensitivity tags:  Categorize SharePoint team sites and Teams by data sensitivity levels using sensitivity tags. ShareGate allows you to enforce sensitivity labeling for newly created sites and teams, providing IT with the ability to ensure data stays secure and gain a quick overview of the sensitivity levels of each group within their environment. Similar to the Purpose tags policy, owners of newly created groups are prompted to apply a sensitivity label when the policy is automated. Admins also have the option to manually request owners of specific groups to apply a sensitivity tag when the policy is not automated.

These governance policies offer a comprehensive approach to managing SharePoint team sites and Teams. They tackle issues like inactivity, purpose tagging, external sharing, and data sensitivity head-on. 

But that’s not all; ShareGate also provides robust reporting capabilities. These give IT admins a centralized view of their environment, allowing them to monitor, make necessary adjustments, and effectively stay on top of the governance policies they’ve put in place. 

Plus, ShareGate’s automation capabilities make governance more manageable, ensuring all stakeholders are seamlessly integrated into this evolving strategy.

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As SharePoint sites multiply, ShareGate’s governance ensures data security, compliance, and a user-friendly experience throughout the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. 


Leveraging ShareGate Blueprints in SharePoint management 

SharePoint management has never been easier, thanks to ShareGate Blueprints—a game-changing feature that makes provisioning and managing SharePoint sites lemon squeezy (easy peasy).

Imagine each time you create a team from a template, Microsoft conjures up a SharePoint site to house all that team’s content. But here’s the kicker: In the past, these sites were just run-of-the-mill, generic ones. That’s where blueprint sites work their magic. 

With ShareGate Blueprints, you can handpick an existing SharePoint site that perfectly matches your Teams template’s purpose and weave it into your provisioning templates. So, when someone creates a team using that template, ShareGate’s mystical migration engine duplicates the blueprint site, complete with all its content types, lists, libraries, web parts, and magical components.  

The result? Your end users can create Teams sites tailor-made for their needs within minutes, all while IT ensures that the new content is secure and fully aligned with their mystical policies. It’s SharePoint sorcery at its finest. 

Don’t just take my word for it; check out this article my colleague Raf wrote on ShareGate Blueprints (he wears glasses, too, so you know it’s good stuff).

While I’ve got you here, let’s take a closer look: 

  • ShareGate Blueprints unveiled: ShareGate Blueprints is a revolutionary feature that allows you to attach an existing SharePoint site to a provisioning template. The magic happens when your colleagues create a new team using this template, resulting in a team with a SharePoint site identical to your blueprint site. 
  • Expanding beyond Teams: Although ShareGate Blueprints were initially designed for teams, their potential goes far beyond. Leveraging ShareGate’s robust migration engine, it seamlessly copies the structure and content from your blueprint site into every team created using the template. 
  • Streamlined governance: ShareGate Blueprints empower you to create perfectly tailored SharePoint sites in minutes, ensuring end-users enjoy an exceptional workspace experience. It’s a game-changer for IT, reducing sprawl, minimizing customization needs, and simplifying provisioning. 

As you can see, ShareGate Blueprints are here to sprinkle some much-needed love on your SharePoint ice cream.


Archiving SharePoint sites 

Managing your SharePoint content effectively is a must, and ShareGate simplifies this process with its site archiving feature. This handy tool helps you tidy up your SharePoint environment (again, think Marie Kondo) while preserving important historical data, resulting in a well-organized ecosystem. 

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SharePoint lifecycle management is all about efficiently handling data from creation to deletion. Ignoring it can lead to issues like user confusion, clutter, security risks, and loss of productivity. That’s why careful planning is vital. 

ShareGate’s Archive team content feature gives you an even more powerful SharePoint archiving solution. It covers everything from conversations and channel structures to tabs, apps, and related SharePoint content. It’s a game-changer, ensuring you can efficiently store and retrieve vital data while cleaning up inactive teams and groups. 

TIP:  To use this feature, you must set up an Azure storage account. 

Integrating ShareGate’s archiving capabilities into your governance strategy gives you a well-organized, secure, and compliant data management system within Microsoft 365. It empowers IT administrators and brings peace of mind to your entire organization. So, why not explore ShareGate’s Archive team content feature to streamline your SharePoint lifecycle management? 


Please stay seated until the end 

As we nod to each other, signaling the end of our trip down ShareGate’s scenic route of SharePoint management tips, remember: ShareGate is not only about getting to your destination (being able to manage SharePoint) but also enjoying the ride (making your job way simpler). 

We’re committed to continually improving our product to make your SharePoint adventure as smooth as a hot knife through butter (yes, another food reference. I skipped lunch). 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and I hope you do), is to create a digital haven that’s stable, efficient, and maybe even a tad bit magical. And guess what? We’re gonna be here every step of the way. 

So, why wait? Start implementing these insider tips now, and prepare to level up your SharePoint game. Here’s to SharePoint success, the ShareGate way!

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Hey! Lee here. If you liked how I put words into sentences, comment below—even if it’s a simple hello!

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