Managing engagement on Teams: Intervention or Nudges?

Teams is one of the fastest organically adopted new technologies across universities in Australia, as professional and academic staff have started using it to collaborate with their colleagues and students. This time last year, we described it as “the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history“, in use by 1/2 million organisations, and two months ago it was reported that “Teams now has 13 million daily active users“.

But what happens if somebody inadvertently, or deliberately, starts posting inappropriate language in messages, or accidentally hits send on an email to 1,000 students with sensitive medical data or Tax File Numbers? If you want to keep the momentum going, you’ve got to decide whether your approach to managing it is by nudging users in the right direction, or intervening regularly?

As the use of technology grows organically, there are often issues to be managed and when you’ve got a communication and collaboration tool, it’s a careful line to tread to enable true, energetic collaboration on the one hand; and on the other to avoid potential pitfalls of open communication tools that people can misuse. (Let’s face it, that’s the eternal technology conundrum for IT teams – step in too often, tools don’t get used; but if you don’t step in when you should and the tech is being misused)

Fortunately, with both Microsoft email and Teams, you have monitoring and compliance options to help you manage student (and staff!) use of your communication tools without having to be heavy handed.

  • Corporate policies might set rules around inappropriate or offensive language
  • Risk management strategies could mean you need to ensure that certain types of data is only shared between appropriate people, or never shared with a wide audience
  • Regulations might mean that certain individuals cannot interact with some others, or need to be tracked or separated from other communications

In Exchange and Teams there is Supervision service, with policies that allow you to monitor email, teams chats and channels, and communications flowing outside the organisation, with intelligent filters. So you might say that any email or Teams channel post that uses offensive language is automatically sent for review (in Office’s Security and Compliance Centre), whilst channel posts that contain Tax File Numbers are automatically blocked. And the artificial intelligence used in the offensive language data model allows you to stay one step ahead.

All review activities are full auditable and tracked, so you can go back to find out if things have been flagged, and when and what decisions were taken about them.

Advanced Compliance is part of Microsoft 365, through the Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription, or can be added onto a lower existing Office 365 Enterprise subscription.

More technical and configuration information on Supervision service is available here