Having announced back during the spring of this year that it was intending to prevent people creating fresh SharePoint Admin Centre and Exchange Admin Centre searches that are specific to workloads, Microsoft has now undergone a change of heart.
This will already be apparent to many organisations that were set to be affected by the block, as the tech giant had scheduled it to kick in at the start of this month. That said, activities that involve eDiscovery are generally not particularly fast-moving, so a number of users of Office 365 might have been able to carry on those Exchange eDiscovery holds and searches and SharePoint eDiscovery cases that they had already started until they were completed.
At the time that it announced the block, Microsoft was strongly encouraging customers to concentrate future activities involving eDiscovery on its Security and Compliance Centre’s eDiscovery search and case capabilities. Indeed, despite the change in its plans, the software company still wants them to do this, but it has encountered some unforeseen setbacks that have led to the current situation.
The biggest of these was the fact that searches using the SCC do not allow those conducting them to export the results of these searches to their discovery mailboxes – a feature that many organisations consider to be vital to their eDiscovery workflows. Microsoft was reminded of this fact by these customers as the time came around for the block to be brought into effect. It is not hard to see Microsoft’s reasoning as searches using SCC are more functional, scalable and quick, but it appears to have overlooked this issue.
Due to this, the company made the decision to put its plans on hold for new Exchange eDiscovery cases, although it will still go ahead as intended for new eDiscovery cases in SharePoint. The thinking behind this is that adapting to the change will be easier for those using SharePoint due to the fact that the Office 365 eDiscovery function has more in common with this than it does with Exchange. However, there is no doubt that Microsoft is still planning to shift Office 365 from eDiscovery specific to workloads within the very near future.
This particular capability is tied to on-premises, which represents the past rather than the future for Microsoft, with its continued existence being purely for the on-premises market. The company is seeking to create capabilities that are operational across the maximum possible number of applications, as well as basic workloads, but it has not quite managed to achieve this yet. Users should expect the planned block to come into full force by either the end of this year or the start of next, at the absolute latest.
This news certainly shows that Microsoft is willing to listen to its customers and make changes where necessary to accommodate them. Here at WM Reply, we also listen to our customers so that we can best meet their needs.
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