In this episode of What’s up ShareGate, members of our product team discussed ShareGate’s new provisioning features, how they can shape next-generation workspaces, the ShareGate end-user app, and what the team will focus on next.
Microsoft 365 is evolving. And with it, ShareGate as well. With a new suite of features in Microsoft 365 now at our doorstep that’s changing how we work, IT teams need the tools necessary to manage everything in one place.
Provisioning is a critical aspect of this management philosophy in Microsoft 365. It demands a balance between maintaining a secure environment and ensuring end users stay productive and face zero roadblocks while working.
This is why, at ShareGate, we’ve invested a lot of time and effort to ensure you feel empowered enough to stay on top of everything and that the tools you have in your digital workspace assist you and your users rather than create friction.
To create this next-generation workspace, we’ve added powerful new provisioning features to ShareGate. In this recap, we dive into the key takeaways from our webinar, featuring ShareGate’s VP of Product Benjamin Niaulin, and Product Managers Nathalie Jard and Ryan Hum.
Watch the full webinar or keep reading for a recap of the highlights.
- ShareGate today
- What’s new
- Next-gen workspace provisioning with ShareGate
- The ShareGate end-user app: How to empower your users
- The ShareGate roadmap
From helping you move to Microsoft 365 with our migration tool to managing security, permissions management, automating your governance, and much more, everything is to help you get the most out of your Microsoft 365 environment.
More importantly, it’s to provide the solutions you need to manage your environment in one place. This is what we aim to bring to the table, and what leads our innovation philosophy.
We’ve improved ShareGate a lot, making it easier to create and manage your workspaces. Here’s a look at all the improvements that have come to ShareGate so far:
September to December 2022
- Provisioning: We added provisioning to our product to empower users to do their best work the right way, with IT’s guardrails in place.
- Cloud Copy: We added cloud copy, which allows you to quickly copy directly from the web within your tenant. The idea behind this was to help you move things around much quicker. It’s also an underlying engine that comes in handy when you’re provisioning.
- ShareGate end-user app: We created an app to help people in your organization have an easy-to-use and accessible directory of teams, along with a lot of other handy features that are yet to come.
- 1:1 chats migration: We added a feature to help you migrate 1:1 chats as part of our migration tool.
- Communication sites: We added support for communication sites in the management app.
January to March 2023
- Increase limit to 20k groups: We increased the limit of how many groups you can manage in the management app from 10,000 groups and teams to 20,000 groups. Additionally, we’re working on expanding this limit as we speak.
- Planner standalone migration: We added the ability to specifically migrate Microsoft Planner plans between groups and teams, giving you more flexibility to move plans around.
- Chat migration in PowerShell: We added a feature to help you migrate private chats in PowerShell.
April to June 2023
- Modify team privacy during migration: We added a feature to help you modify team privacy during migration.
Next-gen workspace provisioning with ShareGate
We’re heavily invested in perfecting provisioning, a feature we believe will play a key role in shaping the digital workspace of tomorrow.
On that note, we invited ShareGate Product Manager Nathalie Jard to walk everyone through all the exciting innovations we’ve been making with provisioning, and how they help make everyone’s lives a little easier.
- Public Preview: We added public preview.
- Minimum owners: We added new governance policies in the form of setting minimum owners during provisioning.
- Privacy & Channels: We made some structural improvements to privacy and channels.
- ShareGate end-user app: We added an end-user application to enable collaboration between IT and end users.
October 2022 to March 2023
- Rules & Policies: We created better rules and policies to make provisioning more effective for admins.
- Purpose, External sharing, and Guest access: To more effectively administer access to sensitive information, we added purpose tags and updated external sharing and guest access monitoring capabilities.
- Naming convention prefix: We added prefix naming conventions to help you enforce security policies right from the beginning.
- Approval workflow: More recently, we launched approval workflow, which was the number one feature request our customers asked us to incorporate into ShareGate.
- Naming convention suffix: Shortly after launching the prefix naming convention, we also added the suffix naming convention.
- ShareGate Blueprints: This is one of the most exciting provisioning features we’ve added. It allows you to identify an existing SharePoint site that fits the purpose of your Teams template and embed it in your provisioning templates.
What is ShareGate Blueprints?
ShareGate Blueprints is a simple point-and-click workflow that enables you to attach any workspace and bring that to your end users.
With our migration engine, you can create custom-fit sites (sites within your tenant that can be embedded in the provisioning template) for your teams when you provision new workspaces.
So when an end user triggers the creation from the template, our powerful migration engine will automatically copy and merge that site (the blueprint one) to the site that is associated with the new team.
As a result, everything that was in the site is included, and you leverage all the configuration from SharePoint, such as the list, the content, the libraries, the items, the columns, the management of data, and so on. Basically, everything is automatically included in the new workspace that is created from the template!
See ShareGate Blueprints in action!
Also, in addition to site blueprints, we revamped the dashboard inside ShareGate management to help you manage the whole lifecycle of teams, groups, from creation to sunset.
This is where you see the performance of your teams, the groups, which templates are being used, and how many teams are created with each template.
The ShareGate end-user app: How to empower your users
Next up, we were joined by ShareGate Product Manager Ryan Hum, who has over 13 years of experience working in UI and UX product development. Here, we dive into how the ShareGate end-user app can be used to empower end-users and how you can get self-serve on your side.
What it is
As Ryan puts it, the ShareGate end-user app is, at its core, a way to organize your work.
This happens in essentially two ways:
1. Helping admins collaborate with end users: Admins can delegate certain actions to their users, and effectively offload some of their manual tasks and responsibility from IT to end users.
- Implementing this kind of self-serve governance helps reduce the number of IT tickets and the need for IT to reach out directly to end users to get the answers that they need.
- Example: With the app, users can directly review external sharing review collaboration regularly without IT admins having to reach out to them.
2. Streamline work for end users: Users can directly organize and streamline their work processes, with tools that simplify them and work in more productive ways.
Example: With the app, you make it easier for users to find meeting recordings on their own, without IT admins getting this request and having to send it out.
- Public preview: We launched a public preview of our end-user app, in conjunction with our provisioning solution.
- Creating a team and Teams directory: To provide the best experience for users, we embedded our app into a Microsoft tool that people use daily: Microsoft Teams.
- On-demand external sharing reviews: Based on customer feedback, we added external sharing reviews to give users a more proactive way of managing external shares.
- Point of contact: In March, we added point of contact to help IT admins understand the primary contact for workspaces.
- Meeting recordings: We added the ability for meeting recordings which gives users a centralized view of meeting recordings that they may have missed or need to review.
More scoop on the new features
1. The ShareGate end-user app chatbot
So most of the time, when you have an inactive team or group, ShareGate automatically can detect and points out all inactivity for you. While you can schedule reminders to be informed about inactive groups or teams through chatbots or email, our data shows chatbots are the more effective way.
With chatbots, the owners will get a Teams chat message, and will be able to take direct action without any IT admin involvement required.
2. How to find the Teams you own
According to Ryan, one common question admins point out to us is that end users often can’t find the teams they own. So the Teams directories we added are an easy way for users to find the Teams they own themselves, and practice self-serve in the process.
3. Reviewing external sharing
The External sharing review feature in the ShareGate end-user app can now check external guests and external links on demand.
Users don’t need to wait for a scheduled email or a chatbot message, because they now have direct access should they need to remove a shared link immediately, without creating a ticket to do it.
So, users can self-serve by performing a review anytime they want, and as often as they want.
4. Point of contact
Ryan said: “…A customer I spoke to once said that in their tenants, they have teams with 10 or even 20 owners. And some owners are owners of all the teams because of their job title, but they’re not really active owners. Some people may have left the company already, but they’re still showing up as owners.”
We solve this issue by adding the point-of-contact label in the ShareGate end-user app. It helps immediately identify the point of contact and saves you the effort of being redirected to the right team owner, should you have a question for that team.
So, if team owners are using this point-of-contact label, it’s going to help provide some guidance to other people, and result in less chasing around to know who is really responsible for that team.
5. Meeting recordings
We’re really excited to share this new feature, and hopefully expand on it in the future to make it more useful and productive for end users. The problem that users often faced was finding a meeting recording link by tracing down which chat the meeting originated in.
So users had to scroll through the chat messages to find the meeting recording link. But now, with the ShareGate end-user app, meeting recordings that you have access to are all shown in a single pane of glass. This makes it much easier to find meeting recording without going through the hassle of trying to find them in chats.
The ShareGate roadmap
Let’s look ahead and explore what’s coming.
Provisioning remains a core focus for us, and where we’ll be expanding our resources to make it easier for you to manage everything.
- Rules and policies: We’re currently adding multiple approvers and notifications to make it easier for you to be notified when you have something to approve. We’re also developing hub site association so that you can benefit from the top-level navigation and look and feel.
- ShareGate Blueprints: We’ll be improving this feature so you can start the template right from an existing object, such as SharePoint sites or a Team. And when selecting a Team as a template, we can also bring the Planner plans, add a default app, add default tabs, and so much more.
Workspace provisioning: We’re also going to be expanding our provisioning solution to SharePoint and communication sites.
The ShareGate end-user app
A lot of improvements are coming to the ShareGate end-user app. These include:
- Meeting recordings improvements: We’ll enhance meeting recordings for everyone inside the app. This includes making it easier to handle expiring meetings and tools to help you find and organize your meeting recordings.
- SharePoint sites: We’re also releasing SharePoint sites directory very soon. It’s built around the same concept as our existing Teams directory, but made for SharePoint sites. Our hope is that this will help users easily see all the SharePoint sites that they own or are a member of.
- Dashboard homepage: Finally, we have a dashboard view coming, where we want to help give users a quick overview of data from different parts of their M365 environments, but in the context of the ShareGate app.
Our provisioning feature and the ShareGate end-user app might hold the spotlight here, but we’re also expanding on our migration solution. A couple of powerful new features we’re adding include:
- Migration of mailboxes: We’re currently working on supporting mailboxes during your migration, so you can also bring over your mailboxes from tenant to tenant.
- Migration of non-Microsoft products: We’re also looking at supporting non-Microsoft products to migrate them into Microsoft 365. Currently, we do support Google Drives and Box migrations via PowerShell.
- Improve existing use cases: We’re continuing to invest in migration. In fact, we’re doubling down here. We’ll support more of the products you want us to support.
Helping you manage permissions will remain a core focus for us. We’re expanding our existing solution by adding the following improvements:
- Support external sharing in OneDrive: We know our users love our Permissions Matrix Report, and want to explore more ways to use it. So, we’ll expand in that direction by improving support for external sharing in OneDrive.
- Report on internal sharing: To make it easier to see what’s going on within your organization, we’re looking at adding automated reports informing you of internal sharing within your Microsoft 365 environment.
Archive & Restore
The lifecycle management feature is heavily used by our customers, especially in helping you detect inactivity in your Microsoft 365 environment. This is why we’re adding the option to archive team conversations and retention policies.
Does a blueprint site include its document sets and metadata?
Yes, since ShareGate Blueprints leverages our powerful migration engine, this means that when you add a blueprint site to a template, we can make sure that all of its metadata, list items, folders and document sets are included.
What about supporting organizations with over 20,000 teams/groups?
Currently, our management tool supports organizations with up to 20,000 teams/groups. We’re working on optimizing the way in which we can increase this limit, but there is no plan nor timeline in place for now.
Do I need special access to use ShareGate’s provisioning solution?
Nope! Once a global administrator has consented to ShareGate, any global admin, SharePoint admin, or groups admin can log in to ShareGate Management with their Microsoft 365 account and use our provisioning solution.
What’s included in the subscription?
Many of the questions we got during the webinar’s Q&A were about licensing and subscription. ShareGate operates on a single license model, which means that what you pay includes all features and capabilities. Yes, that means that our end-user app is also included!
To provisioning and beyond: How your ideas shape the SharGate of tomorrow!
The reason we’ve been able to improve ShareGate and make lives easier for admins and end-users all around the world is because of you.
Most of the suggestions you forward help us understand where we need to improve, and we can help you. In fact, many of our features like ShareGate blueprints for provisioning are born based on customer feedback.
Become a part of the future of work, and help us understand how to make ShareGate better by sharing your ideas/request on our Product Board here. You can also book a call with our Product Manager if you want to discuss a specific feature.