Improve M365 governance AND reduce costs

Atle Skjekkeland


The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the revenues of many companies, which has required them to reduce costs. It will require resources to establish M365 governance to improve how information in M365 is classified and protected, but the benefits may outweigh the costs. Many people look at information governance (IG) as a risk mitigation effort, but the benefits of improved information management may include:

  • Add value by enabling a more efficient workforce by better connecting people, information, and knowledge. This means staff can easier find the information they need in M365 based on business unit, country, process, etc, but also trust the information they find.

  • Reduce costs by only storing information that has value, but also replace legacy systems with M365. Some of our clients are now also implementing auto-deletion of information that has no value (e.g. non-records that have not been updated in 3 years are auto-deleted), which significantly reduces eDiscovery costs and storage requirements.

  • Minimize risks by ensuring we meet business standards and regulations. This means important information is locked, protected, and retained as long as required.

  • Identify new opportunities by using master data as metadata for content to connect unstructured and structured information. This means that content can provide context for the data, e.g. what’s the data means for predicting customer behaviour.

The reality is still that most IG projects are about reducing risks, but there are also opportunities for reducing costs. Some of the above examples of benefits are soft-savings (e.g. more efficient workplace), while others are hard-savings (e.g. reduced eDiscovery costs). A business case for IG should cover both, but hard-savings are usually the most important ones.

How to identify possible cost savings from M365 governance:

  1. Get the facts from the business. Are they able to find and trust the information they need in and beyond M365? Have there been incidents where lack of information created risks or costs for the business? Surveys and maturity assessments are techniques that can be used.

  2. Get the facts from Compliance. Do they see the risks of non-compliance with different regulations in M365 and beyond, e.g. GDPR? Are there other companies like us that have already been fined for non-compliance? And if we failed an audit, what would this mean for our reputation and stock price?

  3. Get the facts from Legal. What are their annual eDiscovery costs, and what could be saved by reducing the time and money spent on review of non-relevant information? And have they ever experienced that contracts and agreements could not be found? If so, what are the potential cost implications of this?

  4. Get the facts from IT. Are there legacy systems that can be replaced with M365? As an example, a client paid more per year for an ECM system for 1500 users than the cost of the E5 Information Protection and Governance add-on license for 30,000 users. Proof-of-concepts also found the Microsoft solution offering more integrated controls and a better user experience.

Establish then IG goals and a business case that addresses the real problems and provide value. IG will not be successful if it only focuses on risks. Get help to think outside the box to achieve this. This is what we do at Infotechtion.

One of our large global clients is now doing the following with a positive return of investment reducing their annual operating costs:

  • Implement M365 Information Governance to improve search and control

  • Migrate SharePoint on-premise to M365 SharePoint Online

  • Replace two legacy ECM systems with M365 SharePoint Online

Most people expect such a journey to take years, but there are now ways to fast-track the transition. Here are some options with links for more information:

Some blog posts that may be of interest:

Feel free to contact us if you want to discuss any of this in more detail.

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