Category: Modern Workplace

Shared Channels in Microsoft Teams – What do you need to start thinking about now?

Microsoft Teams Connect (Shared Channels) is about to being launched and many are impatiently waiting to use it. I think that Shared Channels will be very useful, and I clearly see its value as you do not have to be a guest in many organizations and change tenant as often as you need today. BUT here is some well-meaning advice in place. You who may think that it is only to activate the functionality and then everyone can use it (just as many did when Private Channels was launched) should stop a bit and think beforehand. If you want this to work well and not lose control (again), then you need to do proper homework with planning, configuration and training before you roll this out in the organization.

“With Microsoft Teams Connect we are making it easier to collaborate with anyone outside your organization. You can use Team’s full suite of collaboration capabilities with external partners in other Azure AD orgs the same way you use them with colleagues from your organization. Shared channels enables people from different orgs to work together as one team in a shared space for a more structured, deeper and longer-term collaboration.”

Source: Microsoft 365 Roadmap

Some examples of what you need to think about:

  • Just as with Private Channels, each Shared Channel gets its own SharePoint area. How should you have control over this?
  • Is the access for the external users affected if you implement (or have implemented) Conditional Access and MFA?
  • How do Shared Channels work in Teams that are blocked from inviting guests?
  • How to do with Sensitivity Labels? Does it work and when (and where) can you use it?
  • Is it enough that you just configure your organization’s tenant for it to work?
  • When should I use a team of guests, when should I use a Private Channel and when should I use a Shared Channel?
  • How are Shared Channels related to M365 Groups?
  • Do all Apps work the same way as in regular channels?
  • Should everyone be able to create Shared Channels or can I control this with a policy?

I am sure that more questions will arise over time, but these are good to start with finding the answers to.

Strategy, Planning, User adoption and Governance

If you do not do things the right way from the beginning, sooner or later you will have to pay for it afterwards.

To start using Shared Channels is no exception. As always, Strategy, User adoption and Governance are of great importance here too. This time do not make the same mistakes that many others have made by just rolling out new functionality without first familiarizing yourself with both opportunities and challenges. I have seen many examples of this when it comes to rapid implementation of Microsoft Teams and not least when it comes to Private Channels. You must ALWAYS plan for how new functionality will be implemented in the organization and not least how the new functionality will be received and embraced by your end users. What information should be communicated to them, how should you communicate the information and what training do they need to complete.

Even though we do our work in the cloud and Microsoft 365 is our plane, we can not rely on there being any magic cruise control. You actually need Governance on all services and features and Shared Channels in Microsoft Teams are no exception.

I’m really looking forward to the launch of Shared Channels and I will, without a doubt, use it. However, I will spend a lot of time in advance getting to know how it really works and how we will use it in our organization.

If you are curious to know more about Shared Channels, you can read more here:

Tony Redmond’s article “Diving into the Details of Microsoft Teams Shared Channels

AvePoint Blog article “6 Things You Need to Know About Microsoft Teams Connect (Shared Channels)” by Kevin Joy

Good luck and do not forget that with good planning you always get the best result!

/Magnus

The wonderful feeling that your toolbox is complete

Microsoft Ignite is in full swing with almost limitless amounts of information about news regarding improvements and new functionality we can soon expect to be served on our table.

I must say that it has never been so inspiring and exciting to work with collaboration solutions from Microsoft. The toolbox grows and grows and I can, with a clear conscience, say that now we probably have everything (or at least most) we need in Microsoft Teams. It has really and finally become a workspace where you can make all your tools and all your information available in the right context.

(Photo by CDC on Unsplash)
With a little planning of how to put the whole thing together, you and your colleagues can actually soon perform all your daily activities without having to leave the Microsoft Teams interface to open additional systems.

“Everything in one place!”

Here is a selection of some important building blocks that we can use to achieve this:

  • All tasks in one app (Tasks)
  • Build workflows with the new “Power Automate app” in Teams
  • Build your own company-specific apps with integrations with your business systems with Power Platform and make these
    apps available to your teams.
  • Use Power BI to visualize your data in dashboards and reports.
  • Use the new “Home Site App” app to link your Modern SharePoint Intranet to teams and get an overview of news, links, quality systems, handbooks, etc.
  • Use the Yammer app to integrate relevant Yammer networks into different Teams

(Photo by Barn Images on Unsplash)

The possibilities do not stop here. For me, however, this is the most relevant functionality (for the moment) I need in my toolbox to help companies and organizations work in a smooth and modern way.

If you are eager to learn more about the possibilities with the news in #MicrosoftTeams, please take a look at “What’s New in Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Ignite 2020

Easy use of Office Document templates in Microsoft Teams

I think most of us, at some point, have missed the opportunity to add and use document templates in Microsoft Teams. It would have been great if, in “Files”, you could just click “New” and then choose an Office template that you want to start from when creating a new document.

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For those of you who lacked this functionality, I can inform you that there is a solution for this. Continue reading “Easy use of Office Document templates in Microsoft Teams”

Is it difficult to adapt and to stop sending internal emails?

It is now May in 2020 and spring has come to the Nordic countries. Most of us still work from home. For some it works great and some feel it more cumbersome. For me, it’s more or less Business as usual and the only thing I miss sometimes is meeting my clients and colleagues in real life. Technology is our friend these days, but it is important, of course, to dare to use it and to use it properly.

Just over a year ago I wrote the article “Why do you continue to send (and reply to) email?”

When I wrote the article, I had, for a short time, made a complete conversion and more or less stopped sending internal emails. In the past year, the number of e-mails sent has been a minimum and then limited to responding to e-mails that I have received. Usually when I receive an internal email, I don’t even reply via email, but I continue the conversation in Microsoft Teams instead. Do I miss the internal email? The answer is a resounding NO. I now exclusively use Microsoft Teams and Yammer for collaboration with my colleagues and it flows on incredibly well. Continue reading “Is it difficult to adapt and to stop sending internal emails?”

Why Microsoft Teams is the key to successful collaboration

Collaboration in the past

I would like to start by telling you how i went from Lotus Notes, via SharePoint to Microsoft Teams.

Since 1997 I have been working on building systems for “collaboration”. The first few years I worked as a Lotus Notes-developer. Lotus Notes was at that time, in my personal opinion, the most effective platform for building good collaboration solutions. With Lotus Notes, i built document management solutions, good process support with automated workflows, ordering and booking systems, intranets and HR solutions. You could basically build most of it.

Best of all was that once you had built a good solution you could save it as a template. This template could then be used to quickly build the same, or similar solution elsewhere.

The replication in Lotus Notes means that you can distribute the load over different servers and you as a user can also replicate the databases so that you can work offline on your local computer when you do not have access to the Internet (this was during the time you did not always have access to fast internet everywhere and all the time).

Files were attached to Notes documents and you could use the email to attach links to the Notes documents which in turn contained those files. That’s how you (or at least i) did it “at that time”…

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Photo by David Klein on Unsplash

SharePoint shows up

Continue reading “Why Microsoft Teams is the key to successful collaboration”

Things to Know Before Your Organization Opens Up to Use Private Channels in Microsoft Teams

Let me start by saying that I love new functionality that creates opportunities and solves concrete needs, BUT: Having a holistic perspective when managing your organization’s productivity platform is a puzzle with many pieces. In my opinion, there are mainly three pieces you need to fit together as soon as possible if you are to succeed in introducing new functionality into an organization. These pieces are: Continue reading “Things to Know Before Your Organization Opens Up to Use Private Channels in Microsoft Teams”

Do you use Private chats instead of Channel Conversations? Think about it and do it right.

Private chats in Microsoft Teams is super easy and intuitive to use but are you sure you are using it for the right purpose? When you start a Private Chat and share files in this chat, the files are saved on your OneDrive for Business folder and they are only available to the participants in the chat conversation. Are you sure it is so smart to save these files to your OneDrive? Continue reading “Do you use Private chats instead of Channel Conversations? Think about it and do it right.”

How to reduce teams sprawl by making the existence of Private Teams visible for all users

As you probably already know, in Microsoft Teams, any user in the organization can sign up for Public Teams while Private teams require the owner of the team to invite members to the team. Unless users know which private teams already exist, the risk of unnecessarily establishing new teams, with the same purpose and similar content, increases. Continue reading “How to reduce teams sprawl by making the existence of Private Teams visible for all users”

Private channels in Microsoft Teams are here but are you ready to release it in your organization yet?

Now you have the opportunity to create “Private channels” in your tenant, but have you informed all your users about how private channels work and how and when to use this functionality? If not, NOW is the time to communicate the guidelines you have for using private channels. (Surely you have developed guidelines?)

“I have a feeling that most of you have not prepared yourself for this rollout and now you stand there with the “Smörgåsbord”  popped up and your users storm in, enjoy the goodies and leaves a very messy table behind.”

Continue reading “Private channels in Microsoft Teams are here but are you ready to release it in your organization yet?”

Helpful tips and useful sources of information about Office 365 Governance

Are you in the situation that you feel you do not have sufficient control of Office 365 and its applications? Does it feel a bit overwhelming and you don’t know where to start looking for how to take control and, not least, what to take control of? It may be time to take the first steps when it comes to Office 365 Governance? Continue reading “Helpful tips and useful sources of information about Office 365 Governance”