The Impact of Teams Sprawl on your Business

Teams sprawl is a common issue for many organisations, in particular, those who had a rapid Teams deployment. But what is the real impact of it on your organisation?

The author of this page: Conall O'Kane
Conall O'Kane, Practice Manager - Modern Workplace Feb 13, 2023

Teams sprawl is a common issue seen within organisations. This occurs when there is a lack of controls in place within a Microsoft Teams environment around who, how or when new Teams can be created leading to a lack of coordination within the organisation. One of the main driving forces behind Teams sprawl is thought to be the rise in remote working and the increased reliance on collaboration tools. In order to help with the ease and speed of adoption, many organisations sacrificed control over the creation of Teams which has now led to many disconnected, ownerless and even redundant teams within a company’s environment.

But how does Teams sprawl impact your business?

Security & Compliance Risks

One of the big impacts of Teams sprawl or of deploying Microsoft Teams without the correct governance or user training is the security and compliance risks that come with it. When users have confusion and frustration with a tool, it can lead to shadow IT. This occurs when end-users implement or deploy cloud software that is not authorized by the company’s IT department. This can lead to a number of issues for the organisation such as the added cost of the unauthorized software which goes hand in hand with the wastage of the under-utilised authorised software.

From a security and compliance perspective, shadow IT can negatively impact an organisation.  According to a Forbes Insights and IBM survey conducted in 2019, it was revealed that 46% of IT leaders agree that the use of unsanctioned software makes it impossible to fully protect a company’s data. In that same survey, 1 in 5 organisations noted that they had experienced a cyber event that was related to shadow IT.

Wasted Company Resources

With a lack of governance in place for Microsoft Teams, there will certainly be time and resources wasted. Along with no governance, there is often a lack of training for Microsoft Teams leading to many users having a period of trial and error with using Teams, creating unnecessary Teams or wasting time looking for a particular team. According to Orchestry, providers of a complete empowerment, adoption and standardization platform for Microsoft 365 built by Microsoft 365 MVPs for IT Administrators, based on research from a 1000-person organisation, 5 hours are spent looking for existing SharePoint sites and Teams on a monthly basis.

Further from an IT perspective, when the first signs of sprawl appear the company’s internal IT team tend to take action and begin the process of merging, deleting and archiving teams and SharePoint sites as well as identifying the content owners. Without governance in place, the cleaning up of these environments is not a once-off job. This is something that will continually take up time from your company’s IT team. According to Orchestry, IT teams will spend 450 hours manually updating, cleaning, deleting and archiving Teams and SharePoint workspaces each year, based on an example of a tenant with 600 workspaces.

Cost Increases

Once Microsoft Teams has been decided on as the primary communication and collaboration tool for an organisation, user training is recommended from the outset along with advice on the organisation’s governance structure for this technology. However, if the organisation has had a rapid deployment with little to no governance and they want to work on improving this, user training will be required. This is not only to help users use Microsoft Teams more efficiently, but it will also help them adhere to the new governance guidelines that the organisation will want to implement. If end-users have had little controls in place previously around their usage of Teams and SharePoint sites, this training or even re-training will be required for the best results. Of course, there are costs associated with this as a trainer would have to hold training for your end-users.

However, the impact of not tackling the sprawl can also lead to a loss of revenue for your organisation. Using the company’s main communication and collaboration tool in an inefficient way will inevitability impact customer relationships. For example, being unable to find lost information in a Team or SharePoint site that a customer has requested can lead to lower satisfaction rates and in turn lower retention.

Some other effects of Teams sprawl for an organisation can be general frustration and confusion, along with increased miscommunication and misunderstandings, both of which can lead to decreased morale overall.

If you would like to learn more about tackling Teams Sprawl within your organisation, get in touch to speak to one of our specialists.

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