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Announcing Multi-Stage Disposition in Microsoft Records Management
Published May 19 2021 08:00 AM 12.5K Views

Customers rely on the Microsoft Information Governance and Records Management solutions to help govern the lifecycle of content and manage content to meet compliance regulations. Our goals are to make it easy for customers to address compliance in Microsoft 365 and tailor our solutions to meet unique business needs. We are committed to helping organizations manage risk through appropriate governance and today we are accelerating our investments in these areas.


Today, we are excited to announce the following items:

Announcing multi-stage disposition approval

Many compliance requirements or organizational policies require approval before the deletion of records. Often this review process has multiple phases and involves numerous groups of people. Previously, Microsoft Records Management allowed only one stage of review.

Today, we are announcing the public preview of multi-stage disposition approval. Multi-stage disposition approval is available today worldwide in all commercial tenants. Please try these features and give us your feedback. This release includes several groups of new features, including:


  • The ability to specify a multi-stage approval process in retention label settings
  • Improvements to the reviewer experience
  • Additional features for records management admins

We will cover each of these areas in-depth in the following sections.

Configure a multi-stage approval process

Records management administrators can now configure up to five stages of disposition approval in a retention label’s settings. This ability allows you to customize the disposition process to meet the needs of your organization. For each stage, you can specify users or mail-enabled security groups that should be solicited for their approval.

Figure 1: The multi-stage disposition settings screen, showing three stages and configuration optionsFigure 1: The multi-stage disposition settings screen, showing three stages and configuration options



If you already have retention labels configured for disposition review, then you can edit it to use multi-stage disposition.  

You can learn how to configure a retention label to use multi-stage disposition in our documentation.

Disposition review experience improvements

Firstly, we overhauled the disposition experience for approvers to make it faster and easier to use. When reviewers visit the disposition review area, we trim the file list to show them only the items they need to approve, rather than all files awaiting approval. Reviewers can also sort the list of available files by location, such as a specific SharePoint site or mailbox.

Figure 2: The review disposition screen, showing the list of items requiring approval and a document previewFigure 2: The review disposition screen, showing the list of items requiring approval and a document preview




Next, we improved the view of files for reviewers. Users can click on a file to view its contents in a mini-preview pane directly in the review experience. We also added the ability for reviewers to add other reviewers to approve certain items in addition to the existing actions of approving disposition, retention extension, or relabeling the item.


Lastly, reviewers now have more context to help with their review decision. The new history and details tabs enable reviewers to see an item's review history, including who has approved the item before and their comments.


To learn more about the disposition reviewer experience, please see our documentation.

Enhancements for records managers

We enhanced the records manager experience with the multi-stage disposition release. Records managers can now customize the email sent to reviewers letting them know that there are items pending review. Records managers can append text to the standard system message. This feature allows the records manager to highlight specific processes and documentation within their organization. The customization of the message will apply to all labels. Learn more about customizing the disposition reviewer email here.


Next, while reviewers only see items that require their approval, records managers will be able to see all items pending disposition. To configure this view, the records manager will need to complete a one-time setup. Please see our documentation for the setup instructions.


Lastly, the new multi-stage disposition review process fully supports multi-geo environments. If needed, reviewers can review content not located in their geographical location.

Expansion of Microsoft Teams message retention and deletion

With the rise in remote work, organizations want to govern Teams messages using retention and deletion policies. Today we are excited to announce that Teams retention policies are available to all paid Microsoft 365 and Office 365 licenses with Teams, including Microsoft 365 F1, F3, Business Basic, Business Standard, and Business Premium and Office 365 F3, E1, and G1. Organizations can use retention policies to keep or delete Teams messages according to their policies.


This update includes managing messages in Teams chats, conversations, private channels (currently in private preview) and connect channels when they launch. It consists of both commercial and government cloud environments. Please note that for users with one of the above licenses, the supported minimum retention or deletion period is 30 days. For more information about the timings for Teams retention policies, see How retention works with Microsoft Teams.


For instructions to set up a retention policy, see Create and configure retention policies.

Sign up for the private preview of adaptive policy scopes

Today, we are also announcing the private preview for adaptive policy scopes. This new functionality allows admins to create attribute-based retention or label policies that can be scoped to geography, department, other user, group, or site attribute. For example, admins can create a policy specifically for users in the UK's human resources team using an adaptive policy scope.


Adaptive policy scopes are especially useful for retention policies where you want to exclude or include specific users, sites, or groups. Currently, when manually including or excluding locations there are limits per policy. However, adaptive policy scopes are not subject to these per-policy limits and will automatically and dynamically manage policy membership as users change roles without any manual intervention.


This private preview program is open to all qualified organizations who are interested in early access to this feature and help shape the future of it. Completing the form does not guarantee access to the private preview. If you would like to participate in this preview, please complete this form:

Our latest SharePoint governance performance improvements

Some solution releases are not evident in the user interface of a product but have an enormous impact on our customers. Throughout the last year, we invested heavily in performance improvements for the service powering Microsoft Information Governance and Records Management for SharePoint and OneDrive.


The specific performance improvements are related to increasing the number of items we can label and delete per tenant in one week. Initial telemetry in SharePoint and OneDrive from this update has shown an increase of approximately 700 times more deletions per week and 10 times more items labeled per week compared to a year ago. For some large organizations this means over 75 million items deleted and well over 200 million files labeled per week.


The improvements released are aimed at exponentially increasing the scalability of the service within each tenant. This helps large organizations when they first begin to use Microsoft Information Governance and Records Management. It is also useful when configuring a new action with a large scope and there is a lot of content to initially label and delete.

Other recent Microsoft Information Governance feature releases

Since September 2020, we have also released several other Microsoft Information Governance and Records Management features, including:


  • Yammer retention. Admins can now create retention policies to manage Yammer messages when the Yammer network is in native mode. Yammer retention is rolling out worldwide now
  • Ability to delete an unused record label. Previously, admins could not delete retention labels marked as a record. Now, you can delete these labels if they are not applied to content or used in a policy. This feature is now available worldwide
  • Target a Microsoft 365 group policy to only SharePoint or Exchange. Previously, when you had a retention or labeling policy targeting Microsoft 365 groups, the policy would always apply to both the SharePoint site and the Exchange group mailbox associated with the group. Now you can target the retention policy to both or just one location through PowerShell. This feature is rolling out worldwide now
  • A modernized accessible user experience. As we continue delivering on our promise of accessibility across all Microsoft’s products, the user interfaces for Microsoft Information Governance and Records Management are now WCAG 2.1 compliant
  • SharePoint Syntex content processing integration. Continuing our investments integrating compliance scenarios with SharePoint Syntex intelligence, users can now automatically apply a retention label to content that matches a forms processing model. SharePoint Syntex content processing helps you to automate capture, ingestion, and categorization of content and streamline content-centric processes using Power Automate. A common example is using SharePoint Syntex to process invoices

We hope these announcements make it easier for you to govern your content and use the Microsoft Information Governance and Records Management solutions. We cannot wait for you to try these features! Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions. We would also love to hear how you plan to use these features!

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‎Jun 02 2021 09:35 AM
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