Microsoft 365 and information governance – findings of the MER report

by Rob Aaldijk, on Jul 5, 2022 1:41:32 PM

Merlin, led by former President of AIIM John Mancini, just issued its quarterly report on information governance, focusing on governance within the Microsoft 365 platform. 200 organizations from cross-industry, mainly from North America were surveyed about their views on how to deal with information governance and their experiences in adopting Microsoft 365. 

In this blog, we have summarized some interesting key findings of the report. If you are interested in the full report, feel free to download and share it!


Download the report


What are the key findings of the report?

  • The context for Microsoft 365 automated governance and compliance is that of a rising tide of information chaos. 
    83% of respondents indicate the rising level of information and records poses a problem – one respondent said it is actually the gain in awareness of an already existing problem. Also, it is recognized that content as the largest type of information requires a different approach regarding governance than data.
  • The alignment of business, information governance, and Microsoft 365 governance strategies is increasingly critical - but is sorely lacking in most organizations. 
    Business, information governance, and Microsoft 365 strategies are severely lacking alignment, creating process and information quality and efficiency problems. 
  • The pace of change in Microsoft 365 is a significant challenge; effective change management is more important than ever before. 
    The pace of the move of information and workloads to the cloud has been increasing and with COVID-driven adoption of the Microsoft 365 platform soaring, organizations struggle to adopt and apply governance methods and functions in a proper manner. Change management is seen as a critical need for a Successful use of the platform. 
  • Microsoft 365 automated governance and compliance adoption are still in the early stages; most users have not caught up with the capabilities of the platform. 
    Most users of the Microsoft 365 platform are not aware of the functionality they can access and use for information governance purposes, sometimes slowing down or even blocking a purposeful move toward the platform.

Screenshot 2022-07-04 at 09.33.43Copyright 2022, MER Conference, Optimizing the Automated Governance Capabilities of Microsoft 365.

Expert panel's recommendations for the survey results

  1. Flexibility 
    Any large-scale migration should be backed up by a cost-benefit analysis, and your migration budget needs to be put where it counts most. 
  2. Start with the obvious 
    Shared drives are the most likely starting point for getting rid of your legacy content repositories that need better governance. Next, look at the legacy platforms that cost you the most and would require a lot of effort to upgrade. 
  3. Test everything 
    Make sure you test the target platform thoroughly before committing and utilize proofs-of-concept to understand the essence of migrating before crossing over. 
  4. Proceed at your own pace 
    Adoption of the Microsoft 365 platform should be measured and phased. Start with the basics, make content findable first, then add automation. Make sure governance is part of your day 1 strategy. 
  5. Commit to staying current 
    Stay on top of the Microsoft 365 roadmap. The platform is evolving at a very rapid pace and you have to actively make yourself familiar with the latest and greatest to decide what will benefit your organization most – and promote it internally. 
  6. Think about HOW you will make decisions 
    Create a roadmap of items that need to be decided upon and prioritized and construct the team that will decide about it. Typically Business, IT/Governance, and Compliance reps should be part of it. 
  7. Learn from others who have been there 
    Build your industry network and join the community to reap the benefits of earlier experience. You are definitely not alone, actually far from. 
  8. Selectively use external advice 
    Make effective use of experts that have hands-on experience and can both actually guide you and/or give a second opinion. Do not make them part of your permanent staff, use them to teach you the how-to. 
  9. Get a seat at the table 
    Make sure your stake is represented during discussions on information governance, the role of Microsoft 365, and the governance structure needed for it. 
  10. Start with processes and people 
    Lok at the core business process that would benefit most from the new platform. Improve processes using proofs-of concepts and pilots, and actively support the people adopting new ways of working. People and processes are key to the successful adoption of the platform. 
  11. Think big 
    Microsoft 365 is a huge thing and it makes sense to discuss where it can solve already identified problems that could be a fit-for-purpose – focus on these first, solve them, and the reputation of the platform will rise instantly. 
  12. Just do it 
    Be bold, be brave, and just get started taking the above in mind. The out-of-the-box capabilities of the platform are powerful enough to make a difference. Gradually introduce the support of more advanced use cases. 

What's your next step?

From our personal experience, making the initial step of moving critical business content to Microsoft 365 is the hardest, and requires the help of experts that have done it before successfully
Xillio sponsored the survey and report. Xillio’s mission is to enable organizations to create a future-proof content migration strategy that aligns core information management principles - security, searchability, governance, and compliance – with user-centricity, adaptability, and business value. With 18+ years of experience in ECM migrations, Xillio is an industry leader in helping organizations plan and execute a successful Microsoft 365 content strategy. Xillio can help you size up the full impact of any migration towards Microsoft 365 in terms of costs and benefits, having successfully supported this type of transformation for many major and smaller organizations and companies across the globe.
In case of green light, we can leverage our 18+ years of content migration experience to take the headache out of your move, and make sure you can reap the benefits of the Microsoft 365 platform in the shortest possible timeframe at an affordable cost. We engage our proven migration method and our homemade migration platform run by highly experienced migration engineers to guarantee your success.  
Findings and recommendations are summarized from the report 'Optimizing the Automated Governance Capabilities of Microsoft 365', MER Conference. 
Topics:Content MigrationcomplianceMicrosoft 365digital workplacedigital transformationinformation governance


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