12 Things Agencies Need to Know about M365 Governance and M-19-21

This is the fifth in a series of posts based on a new QAI/DocPoint research study conducted by the highly respected MER Conference.

To get a copy of the full research paper Click Here.

In this blog post, we explore the recommendations of a senior panel of end users convened to review the findings in the QAI/DocPoint report. Here are their recommendations with records to M-19-21 and M365 governance – in their own words.

  1. Flexibility. My best answer to the migration challenge into M365 is – “It depends.” A cost benefit analysis must be done, because sometimes the cost and complexity may be much greater than the benefit. Does it make sense to migrate if you have a large-scale managed service that’s holding some of your information? It depends.
  2. Start with the obvious. Start with shared drives. Microsoft is working towards a decent roadmap to move forward on the governance front. Start with what is utterly unmanaged – shared drives – and get information out of shared drives and into some sort of managed M365 environment. And use the system to govern it because all end users hate it when we ask them to do it.
  3. Test, test, test before deploying. Fight for a development environment, so you can test everything. I set up a committee of our M365 team leads and we are diligently working through a transformation that includes file share cleanup, structured data, and all sorts of other things. M365 ended up being the driver for many of our conversations around governance. Don’t be afraid to pivot all your information governance conversations to M365, because M365 is so ubiquitous. Everybody touches M365 in some way.
  4. Proceed at your own pace. One size does not fit all when it comes to G3 vs. G5. We still have G3 licenses for certain levels of the organization — the people that just need to use some of our stuff. You need to weigh the risks, benefits, the cost, and your company’s appetite for really digging into M365. It takes a lot to utilize all the functionality. It is easy to make infrastructure wide mistakes in the cloud. Plan properly, talk to others, and learn where the pitfalls are.
  5. Commit to staying current. Microsoft offers a monthly roadmap review for each one of the major M365 workloads. That slide deck is crucial to understanding what is going on. If you get it, count yourself lucky. If not, ask for it. It can be up to 150 slides depending on the month, but it does annotate and describe every single change that is listed on the roadmap.
  6. Think about HOW you will make decisions before you need to make them. Develop a decision matrix to help you decide what to do now and what can be put off to later. This is important because if you can decide on the matrix and the criteria before you face a decision, you will have a common frame of reference and strategy that is transparent to everyone.
  7. Learn from others who have been there. Build your network within your industry and talk with them and see if they are willing to share their lessons learned.
  8. Selectively use consultants. Utilize third party experts and consultants — first making sure they actually know something about M365 automated governance — to speed your journey. Make sure your advisors are committed to “teaching you to fish” rather than becoming a permanent part of your staff. Otherwise, there is no real benefit to embracing out-of-the-box solutions.
  9. Get a seat at the table. Make sure you have a seat at the table during the discussions about the role and prominence of M365 – and the governance structure that goes along with it.
  10. Start with processes. Look at your core processes and what the agency is doing before you bring in a new set of tools. At the end of the day, you’re trying to improve the processes in your organization and better support the people responsible for them. Look at processes and people first.
  11. Think big. When M365 was first introduced, I went in and asked for the sun, the moon, and the stars. And I got one star. But I was happy when I got my one star. I’m still looking for the rest of the stars, and the sun and the moon. Ask your IT or leadership for what you need. Ask for it all and then work with the part you get.
  12. Just do it. Be bold, be brave, and just get started. It is inevitable that some mistakes will be made and assembling an M365 governance strategy is built layer by layer, like a game of Tetris. It’s hard to go wrong with the out of the box stuff; just start toggling some things on. Are there tips and tricks? Absolutely. But find your courage and get started.
To get a copy of the full research paper Click Here.
#NARACompliance #M-19-21