The Ongoing Battle with Content Sprawl

As many of you are aware, I have spent a sizeable chunk of my life writing about and presenting on knowledge and information management systems and, specifically, SharePoint governance. In the early years of SharePoint, a repeated theme was the use of sound governance principles and balanced administrative controls to manage the wild west of team sites, information architecture, permissions, and content sprawl that we were all living through.

The ongoing battle with Content Sprawl in SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive

When Microsoft Teams was launched, many of the SharePoint old-timers acknowledged that while the flat and simple permissions structure and ability for anyone to create a Team or Channel (by default) was a good thing for encouraging collaboration, it also had the potential to generate a lot of content sprawl — especially within organizations that did not have histories with SharePoint sprawl (or similar KM/RM experience ).

Just so we’re clear — I do believe that content sprawl in an inevitable byproduct of collaboration. No matter how well you prepare, automate, and control a collaboration environment, you will experience some degree of content sprawl. With the proper infrastructural components and ongoing employee training, the majority of new sites, teams, and content can be properly classified, tagged, and stored — yet there will content added, sites created, and conversations held with important intellectual property that do not adhere to these standards. The question is not how you stop sprawl, but whether your organization is prepared to quickly identify and mitigate that content sprawl.

In a recent blog series and webinar with Egnyte (, I was able to provide a quick overview of what content sprawl looks like within SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive — and also provide some best practices for taking control of the issue through sound governance tactics. I’ll be expanding on this and other relevant topics in the coming weeks, but you can check out my first two guest posts here:

In an associated August 6th, 2020 webinar (Ordering the Chaos: Combatting Teams and SharePoint Content Sprawl), I provided an outline and further detail about the various types of sprawl within each of the workloads, and facilitate a discussion with Sr. Solutions Architect at Egnyte, Kyle Wallstedt, and Director of IT and Cybersecurity at Tilson, Stephen Hand on some of the real-world problems they’ve seen, and some best practices for reinforcing governance within the modern organization.

Check out the on-demand recording here:

Egnyte webinar: Ordering the Chaos - Combatting Teams and SharePoint Content Sprawl


You can also find our slides from the webinar on Slideshare.

I’ll be talking on this topic and other important governance topics in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back here and/or follow the Egnyte blog for additional details. Additionally, I’m working on a related whitepaper and will facilitate another webinar later this fall to walk through this new content in detail.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.