Category: Microsoft Teams

The Lunch Zone – Private Channels in Microsoft Teams, and Bo Knows

Source: The Lunch Zone – Private Channels in Microsoft Teams, and Bo Knows

Episode 1. Owen and Greg Frick talk about Bo (Last Name unpronounceable) and a new feature in Microsoft Teams called Private Channels. A noisy restaurant, and obviosuly we are learning how to speak at each other. It was a lot of fun.

https://www.podbean.com/media/player/b4e84-ad7338?from=yiiadmin&download=1&version=1

File Storage in Teams and SharePoint

Have you ever asked yourself where to store a file? Should you store it in Microsoft Teams? Should you store it in SharePoint? When should you choose one or the other?

Data storage. Laptop and file cabinet with ring binders.Here’s the Pro Tip: Files that you store in Teams *are* stored in SharePoint automatically. You really don’t have to (or get to) choose.

If you are working in a channel inside of a Microsoft Team (and you can’t be working in Teams unless you are working in a channel – go ahead and try it – I’ll be right here when you get back), then there are a couple of things that you can rely on automatically.

The first item that you can rely on to be there is a Files tab in that channel, where you can store things.

The second item is that there is a SharePoint site that is backing up the Team you are working in. The knowledge that there is a SharePoint site behind every Team that is created leads you to an entire set of other assumptions. For example, there is a Document library in that SharePoint site that is called Shared Documents.

and the magic is that for every channel that you create within a Microsoft Team, a folder with that channel name is created within the Shared Documents document library.

This is where the Files that you place into the channel files tab are stored.

understand_how_sharepoint_online_and_onedrive_for_business_interact_with_microsoft_teams_image1
(I am borrowing this image from: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/sharepoint-onedrive-interact – Thanks, Microsoft!)

This means you can:

  • synchronize those files to your devices using Microsoft OneDrive for Business.
  • find those files using SharePoint search and other applications, such as Office 365 Delve, that leverage the Microsoft Graph, because your files are being indexed.
  • Quickly find and open recently used documents from your Office 365 Home page because the Microsoft Graph.
  • Refer to and share those files in SharePoint News articles on the SharePoint side,
  • or refer to and share those files with other members of your organization using Microsoft Teams on the Teams side.
  • Trust that SharePoint and Team permissions are being respected when guest users are invited into your Team or into your SharePoint site.
  • etc.

Store your files in Teams or in SharePoint. You may only have to save them once!

It is easy to find the SharePoint site that is associated with your Team — from the ‘3-dot menu’ in any channel title bar, select “Open in SharePoint” and the associated SharePoint site will open in another tab.

Enjoy your Office 365 Tools.Man holding blue helmet close up

Teams – Manage Who can post in the General channel

The Microsoft Teams blog has summarized updates that they’ve rolled out over the past month, and I feel that a few of these deserve special attention. Here’s one –

Control who can post in the General channel – When you create a team, a General channel is created for you automatically. Many organizations use the General channel to share an overview of what the team wants to achieve and to share other high-level information like a welcome presentation.

Team owners now have more control over who can post in the General channel. You can choose between three settings – allow everybody to post, limit posting to team owners only, or allow all team members to post but remind them that their message will be seen by many people.

You can find this setting in the Settings area of each team which you can access by clicking Manage team next to the team’s name.

Control who can post in the General channel

From <https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/What-s-new-in-Microsoft-Teams-November-update/ba-p/132962>

This is great. But, why is it important?

This removes some strong anxiety from team owners of large groups – sometimes they are confused about the “General” channel. It also makes it easier to explain when a conversation should be moved into its own channel.

When a group/team is formed and begins to work together, they have to “agree” how to communicate with each other. This can be an implicit or an explicit agreement. These formal or informal rules also are re-negotiated when moving to a new communications platform, such as Microsoft Teams. This new feature of managing the posting in the general channel helps to reduce the areas of uncertainty and can help teams leverage Microsoft Teams more quickly.

When you have a large group and you want to have some sort of centralization of access to conversations, but you *know* that only a few of your conversations will apply to the entire group, this update from Microsoft fills that need – you can know explain/teach/model for your team that only the team-wide announcements or high-level logistical conversations need to be in the General channel, and that the primary place for new conversations is within one of the existing channels, or within a new channel.

Another good rule of thumb would be that if your Group/Team is such that you automatically create one or more channels when you are creating the Team, for example, if you know that conversations within your group/team are naturally sortable, then managing your team to restrict who can post into the General channel may be a natural move.

And if this is the case – that you create some channels at the same time you create the Team, and you want to restrict posting in the General channel, I think it’s best to start with the setting that alerts people that their posting will be viewable by all members of the Team – this will help encourage responsible General Channel Posting.

OK, sounds interesting, but How does this Help my Business?

Let’s say that you are a Sales Manager, and you are creating a Team to work with your sales team. Your concerns probably include:

  • Your concern is probably centered around how to get your sales team to use Teams.
  • You probably are worried that unless you can teach your sales team how to use Channels the right way, that they are simply going to use the General Channel for all of their messaging.
  • You are concerned that this will create too much noise and will frighten away some of your team members who aren’t as open about their large group messaging.
  • You also want your team to recognize that the value within the messaging is useful from a historical perspective. (days and weeks, not years)
  • You don’t want to create a full blown Team for each of your sub-groups

Well, your concerns are radically addressed by this capability to manage who can post in the General channel.  (No Sales Teams were hurt in this example.)

More details about the newest changes to Microsoft Teams that were released in November can be found here:

What’s new in Microsoft Teams – November Update [ https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/What-s-new-in-Microsoft-Teams-November-update/ba-p/132962 ]

——

If you have additional questions about how your organization can leverage the valuable business productivity benefits that you know are to be found within Office 365, but you haven’t figured out how to lead your organization in that direction yet, please feel free to contact Owen Allen (@owenallen) at Alpine Lakes Digital – he specializes in helping companies like yours manage the change that today’s business realities require.

Important Configuration Setting for Teams Guest Access

This is kind of a Public-Service Announcement. The setting to enable invited guest users to your Microsoft Teams installation can be a little difficult to find.

Have you invited guest users to Teams, only to see them complain that the login scenario can’t be finished, or they aren’t actually getting into the new goodness that is Microsoft Teams?

This can be a problem. There is an important setting that I’m finding many O365 administrators have passed by too quickly. I think I’ve helped six or seven site admins with this since yesterday afternoon, and that screamed PSA at me. Now, you can point your site admin friends to this blog article.

The tenant doing the inviting, needs to have the Teams setting for Guest Users enabled, or the invites can be sent out, and the user account gets created in active directory, but the guest user can’t actually switch completely into the new Teams environment.

From the Admin Panel, select Settings —> Services & add-ins, then select “Microsoft Teams”

The important setting is visible by default and it looks very good, doesn’t it.

TeamsSetting_Original

The slider is turned to “On”, and you would not be faulted — at all — for thinking to yourself, “Hey, the setting is already there and activated!” – and you might click on through very quickly.

But, then you would come back later that day after your invited guests kept complaining about not getting in…

it is only then, that you would realize that the words “Business & Enterprise” is actually a drop-down button,

TeamsSetting_DropDown

and you need to select the drop down, select “Guest”, and turn on the slider at that point.

TeamsSetting_GuestSave

OK, that is all. Good luck, and enjoy guest user access for Teams.

 

 

External Guest Access for Microsoft Teams

The Office and Teams product groups have done it, and they’ve launched External Guest Access for Microsoft Teams.

Here is the blog entry: https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/09/11/expand-your-collaboration-with-guest-access-in-microsoft-teams/

This is the feature that we’ve been waiting for to start talking about MS Teams in an enterprise way.

This capability is also the next step to having MS Teams support external user chat, both 1:1 and small group.

While External Guest Access is announced in todays blog, I’m still waiting for it to show up in my tenants. Today, or tomorrow, or soon, we will have it, and then we’ll be able to judge how soon we can roll it out to our users – there is some chatter in the video accompanying this blog about some aspects of the capability being launched now and some others, such as full federated support for commercial email systems, still coming later. Until that time, invited users will receive a unique code and will type that in to authenticate, instead of using their own email password.

If this feature is done right, it will enable us to have 1:1 and group chats with external users, regardless of their O365 license situation. I hope this will be easier to use, and will remove the requirement to have as many chat clients on the phone as we have today (in the long run).

Another good piece in this blog is the image of the current Office 365 adoption numbers.

Question: is this the slide that will be used at MS Ignite in a couple of weeks, or is this already outdated and going to be updated? I guess we’ll have to attend or watch MS Ignite to find out!

An Argument for Teams to Succeed Skype for Business

Kevin Kieller (@KKieller) writes an interesting article where he lays out his argument for Microsoft Teams to succeed / replace Skype for Business. I think he’s right. I recommend this article to you, on the Nojitter.com blog.

Why Teams Is the Future of Skype for Business

Some of his points include:

  • The similarity of the Mac client for Skype for Business user interface to the Teams user interface.
  • Skype for Business has not added or incorporated anything along the lines of persistent chat, even though the technology is certainly available. (I think this exclusion of functionality is certainly to avoid confusion and enable the more rapid conversion of users to Microsoft Teams)
  • Many of the session titles at the upcoming Microsoft Ignite conference combine Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams in their titles.

I’ll leave his other reasons for you to discover. Kevin’s blog article is a good one.

If you aren’t already starting to experiment with Microsoft Teams within your organization, give me a call, and let’s talk about the reasons why.

In many of my client conversations, most of the early rational about delaying work with Microsoft Teams has been overcome as Microsoft has released new functionality for Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups.

 

External Access for Teams Delayed

TeamworkGears 300x315

The most anticipated event of June has been postponed.

In a Teams Uservoice feature update, Microsoft has said that the shipping of external guest access for Teams, “will be just a tad bit longer (not too long).”

Let’s hope that it is only a couple of weeks, as Mary Jo Foley suggests in her article on ZDNet.

At this point, I don’t think that Microsoft is holding this feature – waiting for a marketing moment event such as Microsoft Inspire, but is more interested in getting it right.

I don’t think there is a bigger feature release this summer for Office 365 than external user guest access for Microsoft Teams. I’m a fan of Microsoft Teams, but Office 365 can no longer operate within it’s own walls – now that Microsoft has support for DLP, E-Discovery, and other compliance features in Office 365, with OneDrive synch humming again, the time is right for Office 365 to shed its skin and allow companies using Office 365 to reach outwards for collaboration with partners and customers of all types. This is gonna be huge.

A delay on shipping, though, to get things right the first time, is a good thing. I hope that Microsoft does get it right when they ship external user support. Watch this space!

While waiting, give this a listen. I think that Billy Joel had the right idea with “Get It Right the First Time”.