Top Adoption Challenges with Microsoft Information Governance

Vivek Bhatt


The disruption created by Microsoft 365 is forcing a collision between two traditional markets. Traditional enterprise content management (ECM) vendors are rearchitecting their platforms to be cloud-native, while vendors with heritage in cloud enterprise file sync and share have pivoted to broader content repository services. According to Forrester, this market overlap has resulted in a new segment: cloud content services platforms.

Microsoft information governance and protection suite has blazed a trail, showing large enterprises and regulated industries that Microsoft cloud is a safe place for managing content in a secure and compliant manner. Microsoft 365 powered by Microsoft information governance provides a robust and comprehensive authoring, collaboration, and governance services that appeal to all industry verticals.

While highly regulated organizations are still evaluating and challenging Microsoft information governance for advanced requirements, Microsoft information governance offers cloud content services to meet the needs of many compliance use cases to meet regulatory requirements.

Microsoft Information governance in Microsoft 365 and beyond

Source: Forrester Cloud Content report 2019

According to the Forrester report in 2019, Customers want the flexibility to tailor their content apps with design and development tools. Cloud content platforms must also provide governance and security capabilities to protect information and serve as systems of record. Microsoft scores highly and has created a differentiated and disruptive proposition in the assessment and continue to create a gap in comparison to other leading market products. However, the user adoption of Microsoft 365 information governance capabilities are still underperforming compared to the market forecasts.

So, Why organizations are still reluctant to onboard Microsoft 365 as a complete platform?

The challenge is related to the breadth and depth of content and process capabilities in Microsoft 365 are confusing to users trying to figure out the best tool to use for communication, collaboration, and managing compliance. The user adoption and business change remain a single biggest challenge with Microsoft 365, and if you have been doing this for even a few years, you would agree that we hear a common term ‘ change fatigue’ frequently associated with Microsoft 365 adoption programs.

In my experience, these are the key reasons for adoption challenges:

  1. Technology leading the experience: A high number of programs often start with technology teams trying to push the latest tech out to the users. A recent example is many organizations rushing to roll out Microsoft Teams without any governance controls. This approach lacks user change journey and will always face an uphill challenge when customers/users are never part of the journey from the early stages

  2. Lack of in-depth product knowledge: Many Microsoft information governance features are very new to the market and hence the product skils are rare at present. This makes the best configuration and adoption a big challenge when product adoption is led by consultants with very limited hands-on implementation experience

  3. Single compliance mindset: Most users do not relate to the business case for change associated with information governance and compliance programs. The reason is that a single compliance mindset fails to relate to the value proposition for front line users

  4. Licensing chaos: Microsoft licensing is confusing not only to customers but consultants and even parts of Microsoft. This is single-handedly discouraging customers from making informed decisions about the right licensing tier and number of licenses required to cost-effectively introduce the advanced features only available in the higher tiers of licenses


Microsoft 365 information governance initiatives must go beyond protecting the organization as a business case and realize that organizations have digital knowledge and brand assets with a lifetime value that will inspire innovation to build a stronger culture and improve customer and employee experiences.

Microsoft information governance programs must put customer experience at the center of the implementation strategy. You must turn this around and convert your initiatives to 80% about people, 15% about processes, and 5% about the technology.

Finally, pick an A-team for implementation, partner with experts to set up your strategy and roadmap with access to experts to provide continuous guidance to your implementation teams throughout the process.

Based on our work with global and highly regulated companies adopting M365 for both collaboration and records management, we believe this is the only way to be successful and cost-effective with your Microsoft 365 implementations.

Feel free to contact us if you want to discuss how we are driving adoption initiatives for leading organizations and learn from the customer case studies.

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