CollabDays – A brave new world with Microsoft 365

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Fantastic community day for Microsoft 365

Siobhan King, Senior Consultant here at Metataxis, shares her experience of attending the most recent UK CollabDays event, that took place at the end of September at the National Museum of Computing. Read on to discover what she learnt at this exclusive event:

The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park is perhaps one of the strangest and yet apt place to hold a community day for Microsoft 365. The irony of Enterprise Architect Julian Charles demonstrating the mechanisms behind having a conversation in the Tunny room was not lost on those in attendance. The figure of Alan Turing loomed large as Charles took us through the sematic garden of forking paths necessary to discuss with a machine the care of his plants back in Canada. Chatbots with well-designed semantic models could almost have you thinking you were chatting to a real person.

This was just one of the presentations on the promise of the brave new world of AI which was a favourite topic of the day. There were dedicated sessions to the use of tools like CoPilot, and every session seemed to at least mention the potential for using AI in conjunction with common Microsoft 365 tools and applications. This is why it was heartening to hear that so many speakers made very good points about the importance of strategy (Alex Pearce), governance and compliance (Nikki Chapple and Simon Hudson) and having a Common Data Model (Julian Charles).

Much of this may sound a little speculative but it was all very worthwhile food for thought and there was also much good practical advice to take away from the day. Some morsels I picked up were:

Compliance and governance

Simon Hudson and Nikki Chapple talked about the practicalities of getting your organisation to a basis level of governance compliance. Both took a very realistic and realistic approach to considering what an organisation can actually achieve when you consider that some packages like Purview require literally thousands of actions to meet full compliance. They also spoke sensibly about the Microsoft 365 Governance Risk and Compliance Maturity Model again with a clear focus on what is necessary and achievable. 


At another session on at the same time was presented by Anouck Fierens who provided some very practical guidance on using Viva Topics to build a SharePoint knowledge base. I was unable to attend but many of the presentations have been shared and I did have a good read through the slide deck :”Build your SharePoint knowledge base more efficiently with Viva Topics” during lunch!

Lifecycle management with Purview and Power Automate

Peter Baddeley managed to give a comprehensive view of lifecycle management, a challenge considering how much there is to say on the topic. 

For me, it was really interesting to see how tools like Power Automate can be used together with Purview to manage a record during the whole of its lifecycle. An ongoing frustration of mine is that there are many gaps where Purview doesn’t quite address the requirement. Baddeley very aptly showed how Power Automate can be used to carry Purview over the line so to speak. With recent developments of Retention Labels triggering Power Automate flows, I’m beginning to think this is the next skill that records managers will need to get their heads around in Microsoft 365.

Rehabilitating Microsoft 365

I really enjoyed the frank presentation given by Edyta Gorzon on adoption, particularly, what to do when adoption fails.

We all know that it happens, and we’ve all been there. Gorzon took us through the steps involved in rehabilitating Microsoft 365 with users where adoption has failed. 


She provided a very pragmatic approach to re-adopting in an environment where users dissatisfied or downright hate the product! This was one of the best group discussions with many in the audience also chipping in their approached to re-engaging with unhappy users..

A jam packed agenda

Collabdays put together an extremely packed agenda covering a list of wide ranging topics. If I had any niggles about the day, it was that there were too many sessions to choose from and I couldn’t get to more of them. Did it stretch me? Absolutely. Some of the topics could be really technical but every single presenter made their topic accessible despite this.

If you’re thinking about going to a Collabdays event, I would thoroughly recommend going.