Connect and collaborate with your external stakeholders using Microsoft Teams Connect (shared channels)
Microsoft Teams now enjoys 250 million monthly users, making it the most used collaboration tool amongst UK organisations and their employees.
Teams, supported by the sprinter driven conveyor belt of powerful and insightful tools being released by Microsoft (visit – Microsoft Loop, Viva Connections, Teams Webinar), has provided an incredible platform for our employees to communicate with each other and importantly – work together.
To date, where there has been a requirement for two individuals, or groups of people, to work together from different tenants, a single tenant would need to be chosen as the host for the Team, with those on a different tenant joining as a guest. When the guest(s) need to collaborate, they would tenant switch to the host tenant to do so. This has been a clunky experience, as when a guest in someone else’s tenant one loses access to their other Microsoft Teams which may house content that they need to collaborate.
Enter: Microsoft Connect, or ‘Shared Channels’ that provides a solve for this scenario. Shared Channels will have been created in a host tenant that is not your own, but appear in your local (own) tenant as if it has been created there. Two individuals, or groups of people, can therefore work together from different tenants, but experience it as though they are working in the same tenant. This removes the need to tenant switch.
Announced at Microsoft Ignite, and currently in private preview, we expect roll out in Q2 2022. Microsoft Connect will afford your employees the same collaboration functionalities with external partners they currently enjoy in their normal Channels and Chats. Importantly they’ll be able to do so without fear when sharing sensitive information, as Microsoft Connect will provide an exclusive space only for approved members. You can watch the full pre-launch video from Arun Das below.
So, no more switching tenants?
Microsoft Teams Connect will provide a one-stop shop for all your shared channels, across multiple tenants.
Is it secure?
Through Microsoft Teams Connect, collaborative spaces can be created around a topic or collective purpose. Currently, any employee invited to a channel also gains access to all other non-private channels within that Team by default. Microsoft Connect has therefore been driven by a need for security, governance and compliance. Microsoft Teams Connect will allow outside organisation members access only to the specified channel – nothing else. This alleviates any security concerns but also ensures the collaboration effort is more efficient, by eliminating Teams sprawl and data sharing complexity.
Administrators will have full control of shared channels compliance, but once in place, employees will be able to join and invite external members as easily as those in their own organisation. Once external users are added to a shared channel, they can view and access the channel from their local Microsoft Teams interface. Whilst they will enjoy the full suite of Teams capabilities, they will not be able to share files with members outside of the Chat or Channel, further protecting any information leaks.
All members will be notified the channel they have joined is externally shared by a new Microsoft Connect icon – giving users on all sides a clear indication that a cross-tenant audience is collaborating in this space. Additionally, each member from outside your organisation will be labelled as external, as can be seen below.
How many channels can I share?
The latest announcements have shared that any Team will be able to accommodate 200 shared channels. That is in addition to the existing 200 standard channels and 30 private channels we currently have allowances for. Attendance limits will also be high at 5,000 direct members.
Currently in private preview, Microsoft Teams Connect is expected to roll out for full general use Spring 2022. Hit the Subscribe to AddIn365 Insights button to be notified of the latest news.
Do let us know in the comments section below what you think of Microsoft Teams Connect and what other functions you might like to see within Microsoft Teams to help streamline your work process. My next blog will be to explore the new Microsoft Teams alignments to LinkedIn so do hit the subscribe button to be emailed the next update.
You can learn more about how our Work Hub solution enriches Microsoft Teams for improved productivity and collaboration here AddIn365 – AddIn Work Hub.
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