Combat content sprawl with cloud content management

The rapid growth of Microsoft® Teams within enterprises has led to unparalleled growth in content, with numerous Teams sites creating data duplication, document redundancy, and…

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Deidra (Dei) Jow

March 5, 20245 minutes read

The rapid growth of Microsoft® Teams within enterprises has led to unparalleled growth in content, with numerous Teams sites creating data duplication, document redundancy, and version control issues. As a result, content sprawl has become quite real quite quickly, creating governance challenges, user frustration, and productivity dips with content located across channels, chats, and emails. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Put productivity tools, such as Microsoft 365, into the hands of employees and you’d expect improved productivity, control, and connection. But that is not always the case.

Content sprawl has created significant content management challenges, with high volumes of disorganized content spread across expected and unexpected locations, making it difficult for users to find.  

A recent Foundry survey sponsored by OpenText™ found that employees spend up to three hours a day searching for information to do their jobs. Adding insult to injury, 58% of organizations have lost business opportunities due to an inability to access data in a timely manner.[1]

While Microsoft 365 users enjoy easy document creation, collaboration, and communication, three challenges often hold productivity back:

  • Content sprawl: Employees’ options for sharing capabilities, such as OneDrive and Teams, lead to duplicate documents and process improvisation.
  • Process disconnect: Processes are disconnected from content and data leading to content siloes across applications.
  • Complexity and loss of control: Disconnected content spread across systems, applications, and even desktops, creates governance control issues, increasing data security risk.

Combatting content sprawl with modern cloud content management

With organizations facing varying degrees of content sprawl, along with varying stages of cloud transformation, it’s not always realistic for enterprises to move all content to the cloud at once. For many, a hybrid approach to corralling content and reducing sprawl is the best path forward, in which some information and systems are kept on-premise and some moved to the cloud, whether private, public, or hyperscalers such as Google, AWS, or Microsoft® Azure.

A hybrid architecture allows organizations to take a phased approach to moving content and processes to the cloud. With cloud-based content services, organizations get the flexibility to adapt to any infrastructure, moving at a pace that makes sense for the business.

Cloud-based content services provide a way to boost integrity, availability and accountability to all locations where content lives. By leveraging automation and integration across the information lifecycle, policies can be enforced across all content repositories and platforms. Plus, organizations can create flexible digital workspaces that enhance information access and value—giving users an alternative to creating ad-hoc Teams and other content locations.

This is done by integrating content within the lead applications employees use every day, including Microsoft 365, leaning on intelligent automation to ensure information is tied to specific tasks and workflows. For example, connecting SharePoint to ERP or CRM systems to organize content alongside business processes allows businesses to centralize content, people, workflows and tasks in one place.

Improving information governance to control content sprawl

With information constantly on the move and created wherever work is being done, such as within Microsoft Teams, the sprawl and chaos leads to unknown, uncontrolled, unsecured and unaudited content. With ungoverned content comes organizational risk—employees are uncertain they are working with the most recent and relevant content.  

Therefore, information governance needs to evolve to support modern work environments, allowing organizations to take advantage of new collaboration tools while governing the ever-expanding amount of content and data.

According to Deloitte, effective information governance delivers a meaningful return on investments, in multiple forms:[2]

  • Generating incremental revenue through more efficient, profitable use of information
  • Reducing ‘hard’ costs by streamlining technology and storage needs
  • Saving time by enabling employees to find and use information more easily and quickly

From chaos to connected work experiences

By extending enterprise-grade content management deeper within the organization, and integrating content within already familiar interfaces, such as Microsoft Teams, employees get needed access and insights within the applications they use every day. With cloud-based content management equipped with governance controls, organizations can shift from content chaos to content connection, gaining tools to collaborate and share information across business systems and locations to help the workforce work better together.

As a result, productivity benefits are ripe for the taking, keeping users grounded in a consistent business workspace to break down information siloes, create empowered teams and reduce additional sprawl.

[1] Foundry Research sponsored by OpenText™, MarketPulse Survey: Digital Friction, September 2023

[2] Deloitte, “The information governance imperative,” 2022

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Deidra (Dei) Jow

Dei is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for OpenText Microsoft solutions. These solutions help customers connect content, people, and processes and enable them to run their complex Enterprise business at scale. She has been in the software industry for 25+ years and previously worked at Microsoft and has a degree in Business Marketing from the University of Hawaii.

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