Digital Transformation at Warp Speed

Atle Skjekkeland


On an earning’s call a week ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that during April, driven by the need for organizations to quickly come up with a remote working and collaboration platform, the Teams platform added 31 million new daily users – in a single month.

To put the hockey stick nature of that number in perspective…

04/29/2020 — 75 million active daily users

03/18/2020 — 44 million active daily users

03/11/2020 — 32 million active daily users

11/19/2019 — 20 million active daily users

According to Business Insider:

On the call, Nadella highlighted that healthcare and educational institutions using Teams, saying in healthcare there were more than 34 million Teams meetings in the past month and that over 183,000 educational institutions are using the tool. He highlighted a few large customers who are using Teams including the NFL, which used it for its draft and Accenture which is the first organization to surpass 500,000 users on Teams.

Sometimes transformation happens at warp speed. That’s the good news.

But then what? As New York Yankees catcher once said (in the context of witnessing Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris repeatedly hitting back-to-back home runs in 1961), “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

And yes, we’ve seen this play before.

SharePoint exploded on the scene in the late 2000s, resetting the cost and functionality curve for content management. Deployments soared so quickly that the term “SharePoint sprawl” became a well-understood term in IT circles. According to TechRepublic in 2011:

It must be awkward for Microsoft, having a product out there that people use too much and too often; more awkward still, that this overuse is so ubiquitous that the IT industry has given it a name. Yet almost anyone who uses SharePoint will nod knowingly when they hear any mention of “SharePoint sprawl.”

And organizations spent tens of millions of dollars in the next decade trying to restore order to the chaos.

The Teams explosion is certainly being driven by a lot of same factors – incredible functionality that is included in a platform that most organizations already have. This explosion is even more dramatic than the original SharePoint growth because it is being amplified by the unprecedented remote working demands created by COVID-19.

While Teams adoption is being fueled by these factors, the history of SharePoint sprawl doesn’t need to repeat itself. Governance functionality that didn’t exist ten years ago is now inherent in the Teams product.

But many organizations at large scale don’t understand these governance capabilities, how to deploy them, how to optimize them, and how to put guardrails around the explosion of their Teams deployments. Delaying taking action will increase the effort and cost to eventually restore order. Once the current crisis fades, these organizations will be left with a pool of ungoverned documents, content, chats, and videos that will be rich in opportunity for retribution from the compliance gods (like GDPR).

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