Microsoft Teams is the premier communication and messaging platform for businesses in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem that offers services such as workspace chat, videoconferencing, file storage, and application integration.
Teams primarily replaced preexisting collaboration platforms that Microsoft offered such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Classroom to integrate users on one platform. The public embrace of Teams kicked off during the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more businesses shifted to online modes of communication and operations.
We have already talked at length before about Microsoft Teams so today we will be talking to you about Microsoft Teams Connect and its shared channels’ function that promises to be a game-changer in business collaboration.
Microsoft Teams Connect
Microsoft Teams Connect is a game-changer for companies that want to collaborate more efficiently. It streamlines external communication while strengthening relationships with partners, clients, or customers. Using shared channels, organizations will be able to create a shared workspace for both internal and external stakeholders all from within the Teams account.
With Microsoft Teams Connect, Microsoft is making it easier to collaborate with anyone outside of an organization. Teams Connect offers a full suite of collaboration capabilities to allow organizations to work better with external partners.
That is what we last left off with Microsoft Teams Connect.
The most promising new feature in Connect is that of shared channels.
What are shared channels?
Microsoft Teams Connect shared channels is a feature that allows for communication with people and stakeholders from outside your organization. This enables real-time, secure and better collaboration with external stakeholders.
The greatest feature of shared channels is that it synergizes all internal and external communication and collaboration on one platform which thus means people outside your organization don’t have to switch to other applications which reduces time and allows for seamless connectivity.
When can you use shared channels?
Microsoft announced last month that Microsoft Teams Connect shared channels would be available for public preview around the end of March.
It said that the feature would be included with Office 365/Microsoft 365 Business, Enterprise, and Education subscriptions.
You can see how to enable and configure shared channels to test it out via the Public Preview for Microsoft Teams feature here.
Goals for Microsoft Teams Connect shared channels:
In talking about shared channels and their features, Microsoft has outlined three clear goals that it wants to achieve with this utility’s public preview and eventual general rollout.
- Eliminating the need for tenant switching
- Reducing oversharing
- Reducing team proliferation
What these goals essentially boil down to is making the entire collaboration ecosystem on Microsoft Teams Connect less cumbersome, smoother, efficient and easier to navigate which cuts downtime costs but also limits and restricts the overall environment in a certain way to avoid unwanted sprawl and unneeded access to resources.
Among the features that shared channels have, this is the primary one that is arguably the driving force behind the initiative.
Since shared channels bring both internal and external stakeholders together, they make it much more convenient to share files and work on them together across different organizations.
Every user on a particular shared channel will be able to upload, view and co-author at the same time. No matter where they come from.
The above photo shows two users working at the same time on a document.
Admins are always in control
Security and customizing how and to what extent your users can interact is paramount for any online workspace environment. Shared channels offer many controls according to the needs of a particular organization.
There are several options available to admins allowing users to create a shared channel, share channels with people outside the organization or participate in an external shared channel.
According to Microsoft, to enable a shared channel between organizations, both sides must configure cross-tenant access policies. Admins can grant, restrict, or revoke access for external users at an individual, group, or tenant level.
As of this blog, Microsoft has not unveiled when they plan to roll out Microsoft Teams Connect shared channels at a public commercial level and there is no solid release date for that.
They have said they have planned many more updates and features that will be added via the public preview feature where users can test out more functions but rest assured, we will provide the latest updates on any release dates.
Secure your M365 environment
The Microsoft 365 environment is already one of the most secure ones out there but more security never hurts anyone.
Many of the biggest IT companies out there rely on SysKit Point’s services to ensure their M365 ecosystem is safe, secure and protected from all threats.
Book a no-obligation demo to discover how you can stay in full control of your Office 365 environment.
SysKit Point can also help in keeping track of channels on Microsoft Teams Connect.