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Connect two (or more) accounts to Microsoft Teams Connect.

Inhoudsopgave

This year, Microsoft announced Microsoft Teams Connect at Microsoft Ignite. Teams Connect simplifies collaboration with people inside and outside your organization by enabling shared channel-like functionality.

To best understand what Teams Connect is and how to take advantage of it, it’s important to understand the internal workings of Microsoft Teams first.

Some background information about Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is an extensible platform for collaboration on Microsoft 365.

Instead of segmented information and silos in the workplace, it provides content in the right context through the use of channel-based work.

Within each team in Microsoft Teams, users receive a number of additional services in addition to the frontend:

  • SharePoint site including a document library to work on files.
  • OneNote notebook for unstructured notes.
  • Exchange Online mailbox with a shared calendar to schedule meetings and calls.
  • Planner plan to manage tasks within your team.
  • Power BI workspace (you need an additional license).
  • Stream video channel.

Access to a team is protected by an object in Azure Active Directory called Microsoft 365 Group.

This group has a list of members and determines who has access to the team:

Microsoft Teams uses a simple role approach:

  • Owners create a team, invite and remove members and guests, and can delete a team.
  • Members can create channels (standard and private) and create tabs.
  • Guests can only work in their given structure.

It is the external users and guests who benefit most from the introduction of Teams Connect.

External users in active directory

As the owner of a Microsoft Teams team, you can invite members (internal) and guests (externally).

Internal users are already present in your own tenant’s Azure Active Directory. Guests are added to your Azure Active Directory as external users, indicated by the “#EXT#”suffix:

Third-party usernames look like this:

{UserName} _ {theirTenant} #EXT # @ {yourTenant} .

Teams of external users

As you can see, the source of authority is the azure remote active directory.

Channels

There is a connection between channels and the document library in SharePoint.

For each default channel you create, a folder is created in that document library. Files shared in a channel appear in the folder in the document library that reflects the channel.

User experience for external users

There is a high demand for the safe sharing of information across organisational boundaries.

Cooperation with guests takes place in the tenant to which they are invited. This means that they have to switch to that tenant to see new messages.

This also means that they are not logged in to their own tenant.

This is an important showstopper for collaboration as guests don’t get the full user experience like members.

Members feel like guests are still not connected to the team.

Their user experiences are not comparable.

This leads to cumbersome solutions, such as @ mentioning the channel to force a notification.

In some cases, people start using email again to indicate that a conversation is taking place in Teams. Ultimately, those workarounds will create a less satisfying user experience.

Connect two (or more) accounts to Microsoft Teams Connect.

Workarounds

As a guest, you can use this practice:

  • Create different profiles in the browser of your choice and even install this website as an app.

Workaround-for-Microsoft-Teams-guest-access

  • Install the website as an app in Microsoft Edge

The Web version of Teams does not provide you with the full functionality and collaboration is not as seamless as possible. Among other things, the Teams web client does not support virtual backgrounds.

Mentally, changing context can be exhausting and a real kicker for productivity. It also forces us to have more windows open, which is a distracting factor for many of us.

Teams Connect

To fix this, Microsoft has introduced Microsoft Teams Connect.

Teams Connect uses so-called shared channels. Shared channels appear in our property tenant like any other standard channel.

Teams Connect

How to create a shared channel

Creating a shared channel is easy.

By clicking the ellipse icon next to the name of the team you want this channel to live in, select Add a channel.

Now add a name and under Privacy, select the shared channel.

teams shared channel.png

Add people inside or outside your organization. You can now start working together.

teams shared channel

This improves the user experience because users no longer have to switch tenants.

They can stay within the context in which they usually work.

Shared channels appear in their usual work environment, making collaboration easy and seamless.

What is the difference between a shared channel and a private channel?

Microsoft introduced private channels on Ignite 2019. In private channels, only a subset of a team’s owners, members, and guests has access to information.

If someone isn’t already on the team, you can’t add it to a private channel.

A private channel is like a safe in a room.

You need to be in the room by now and have the key to that safe to open it.

Files shared through private channels do not appear on the team’s SharePoint site. Files are stored on another SharePoint site that does not belong to the Microsoft 365 group.

External members of a shared channel are not guests of the team. Their display names in Teams don’t get suffix (Guest), but a suffix (External).

Shared channels get a special icon. In this way, everyone is aware that these channels are shared with different people.

How does this change the way we work in Teams?

Adding shared channels to a team ensures that we can maintain the existing structure.

We can extend our internal collaboration experience to our external partners.

This also facilitates the architecture of our teams.

We will create fewer teams and fewer private channels.

People will spend less time torn between channels and tenants, and cooperation will become cooperation again (instead of administration).

How can I get Teams Connect?

Currently, this feature is in private preview and will roll out later in 2021.

Microsoft invites certain Microsoft tenants and users to participate in private previews. As such, there is no waiting list to join.

Conclusion

Teams Connect and shared channels will be a game changer for businesses that often collaborate with users outside their own organization.

Before Teams Connect started, people had to find different solutions. They restructured teams, went back to email or tried to collaborate in chats.

Shared channels allow people to stay in the flow of their work.

If you’re reading this and wondering if there’s a way to extend Teams Connect or shared channel functionality to other platforms, you’re in luck.

Source: dispatch

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