Microsoft Teams is a popular collaboration platform that combines online meetings, calling, personal and group chats, file and screen sharing, and many other productivity features.

In this article, we'll cover the relevance of one of the most popular features, Microsoft Teams private chat messages, and how and why IT admins should collect private chat usage data if a Teams migration is planned.

What are Microsoft Teams private chat messages used for?

The use of Microsoft Teams personal chats—both one-on-one and group—has grown significantly over the past three years. We typically see much higher usage of private chats compared to group conversations in Teams channels. The average Teams user in an organization creates 600 chat messages per month. In the same month, the average Teams user created 15 conversation channel messages. 

This creates a bit of a dilemma when planning a migration. Private chats are not part of the existing structure. They are not directly associated with the team or project. A Teams meeting can exist in a Teams channel, but the meeting chat is separate from the Teams channel conversation.

Are private chat messages valuable?

The chat topic contains important business information or solutions for users in a private conversation. Participants in a private chat should continue to exchange messages without losing the history archive. Thus, the private chat must be transferred from the source tenant to the target one.
For Microsoft Teams, you can enable communication compliance features to identify the sharing of sensitive content. This feature is enabled in Microsoft Purview Communication Compliance. Private chats identified as containing sensitive content can be flagged for migration to ensure messages are transferred to the target tenant.

It's hard to say that every chat message is valuable. We also cannot conclude that all chat messages have no value. We also cannot easily identify and select specific private chats that we consider valuable or unhelpful. Instead, we often migrate the most recent private chats, with the option of archiving the rest. Thus, recent private chats are given more importance than old private chats.

What is the value of counting messages in a private chat?

Transferring private chat messages can be slow and tedious. This is one of the last actions before the final transition in the tenant-to-tenant migration project. Planning to migrate private chat requires understanding the usage in the original client. 

So let's look at user posts for:

  • Last 30 days
  • Last 12 months

The last 30 days give a short-term idea of how many chats Teams users want to migrate. These are the messages they absolutely need to be able to continue working after the migration.

The last 12 months provide a long-term view of how many private chat messages there are that users may want to archive. These are messages they may want to view in the future.

Ways to determine message count values in a Microsoft Teams private chat

There are two options that can help you record the number of chat messages:

  • Create a report in the Microsoft Teams admin center;
  • Using Power BI and the Microsoft 365 Usage Analytics report.

1. Create a report in the Microsoft Teams admin center
The first option is to create a report in the Microsoft Teams admin center. You can choose a period of 7, 30 or 90 days. User account names are masked to protect identity (but you can change this as an administrator). You must choose which columns to display in the report and export to Excel.

2. Use Power BI and Microsoft 365 Usage Analytics reports.
The Power BI report has several powerful features over the exported data available in the Microsoft Teams admin center.

Before you start using this report, there is one important dependency you need to resolve. Usage data for this report is only available from the date Microsoft 365 Usage Analytics was enabled to start collecting data for Power BI reporting. Any previous data is not available. Therefore, you should enable usage analytics as soon as possible for reporting purposes. You should have at least one month of data so you can extrapolate it out to a year.

Additionally, the template app is not free - you will need a Power BI Pro license. Finally, only the user who initially connected to the template app can customize reports or create new reports in the Power BI web interface.

Once the report is installed and configured (with enough usage data), you will have a very detailed report to analyze. The benefit of this Power BI report is that it contains 12 months of data and breaks it down by month.

Plan Chat Migration Bandwidth

There are limitations to the Migration API service for receiving and publishing chat messages. You can view these limits in the Microsoft Teams service limits table in the Microsoft Graph throttling guide. According to this regulatory guidance, it should be possible to read up to 1,728,000 chat messages per day (24-hour period). There is a lower bandwidth limit for writing posts per day; but enabling message aggregation will improve overall throughput. Please note that actual persistent migration throughput may be lower. 


Microsoft Teams private chat migration is becoming increasingly important for businesses. Therefore, you should enable Microsoft 365 usage analytics to start collecting data for Power BI reports as soon as possible. You can use the report data to determine how many messages you have in scope for your entire migration project. You can then run a POC migration to determine the migration throughput and the number of private chat messages you can migrate. This will allow you to decide how many users and their private chats can be migrated during the migration period. You may need to configure:

  • List of employees included in the migration;
  • How many days are private chat messages transferred?
  • How many days messages in a private chat are archived.

Still have questions?

Just Contact us and we will be happy to advise you.

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