Why Manage Microsoft Teams Chats?


Emails have been a primary medium of communication/correspondence for a long time. Many organizations are working towards developing the policies or capabilities to manage governance in emails to meet their compliance and records management commitments.

We are subject to 10 times more emails per day compared to 5 years ago. Whatever the number is, it’s time to rethink the appropriate role of email in our work related collaboration.

Read: Top 5 reasons to govern email communication

In general, most Microsoft 365 enterprise customers have indicated having policies to manage email effectively, important business information should be discussed or filed outside of user mailboxes.

The introduction of Microsoft Teams is already helping information and record managers build the case for transitioning to Teams conversations to better manage organizational knowledge and apply consistent governance behaviors.

Are you Using the Teams Opportunity?

While Microsoft Teams adoption has opened up opportunities to move users away from email, but lack of governance and guidance to users risks making the situation worse. When we look at the unprecedented rise of Microsoft Teams in the last 12 months, much of it has happened to urgently meet the need to support an increasing remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many enterprises have opened up the use of Teams without thinking of governance and managing user adoption.

As a result, while Microsoft Teams has done exceedingly well in shifting us away from emails to Teams conversations, but much of those conversations are now happening in Microsoft Teams Chats instead of Microsoft Teams Channels.

What is wrong with Microsoft Teams Chats?

Teams chats are a great mechanism for ad-hoc conversations, but if your objective is to drive important discussions in a shared/collaborative space, then you are missing out on an opportunity to embed the right behaviors. When you look at the below diagram, it is very clear that by moving from emails to Teams chats you are not making a shift towards simplifying information governance.

Yes, your (1:1 / group) chats are stored exactly where emails are!

Read: 3 Tips for Information Governance in Microsoft Teams

Should we stop using Teams Chats?

Absolutely, NOT! Microsoft Teams chat a great feature, and when used appropriately provides great benefits.

What is the Answer?

The right approach is to plan for governance and invest in user adoption to make the most of the Teams opportunities. My recommendation is to do the following as 3 minimum things to ensure a balance between governance and user experience:

  1. Apply Deletion rule to Teams Chats: Leverage Microsoft Compliance Centre to create shorter deletion policies that would automatically delete 1:1 and group chats. Read: Details of Managing Compliance with Microsoft Teams

  2. Enable Retention capabilities in Teams Channel Conversations: Ensure as you shift users from Microsoft Teams Chats to Channel conversations, you are set up to retain important information. Read: All about retaining and protecting important information in Teams Channels

  3. Simplify End User Adoption and Learning: This is all about creating an engaging mode of embedding Information managing best practices and policies with your audience. Help your users to understand the benefits of Teams channels, customers have also implemented seamless learning and governance experience with Teams Hub(watch a short video illustration). Where private group conversations are required, help your users differentiate the merits between ‘private group chats’ and ‘private channels’. Read: Unify Governance and adoption with Teams Hub

For more information, contact us to discuss options Infotechtion can help you with your Microsoft Teams governance and adoption journey especially when it is already deployed.

Final Thoughts

I would invite you to watch the below roundtable discussion organized by the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS). I was part of this engaging discussion led by industry experts and Microsoft customers and provides a really good argument and tips to govern both emails and Microsoft Teams.

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