No tenant switching needed | Shared channels in Microsoft Teams
Published Jul 24 2023 09:05 AM 9,484 Views
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Stop workflow interruptions by continually switching between your organization and guest tenants in Microsoft Teams. Use shared channels in Microsoft Teams to seamlessly work with external organizations while staying in your home tenant. 

 

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Shared channels can include a core team, internal members outside of your team, and invited external participants outside of your organization. Once created, it provides a shared workspace as a secure and more efficient means for transparent and open collaboration. It’s a seamless way to bring everyone together as part of an extended team. Importantly, Microsoft Entra cross-tenant access controls are used to establish trust. Users are securely authenticated and authorized on the backend, with channel access based on their individually scoped permissions. 

 

Jeremy Chapman, Microsoft 365 Director, walks through how it works for Teams users, the admin steps for your tenant and your partner’s tenant to set everything up, and how to create and manage shared channels in Microsoft Teams.

 

Seamless external collaboration. 

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Watch this demo to see the end user experience of shared channels in Microsoft Teams.

 

 

Establish trust between organizations with shared channels. 

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Steps to configure inbound and outbound access settings from the Microsoft Entra portal.

 

 

Create a shared channel as a Teams user.

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Add a channel, give it a name, and invite internal & external collaborators. Check it out.

 

 

Watch our video here.


QUICK LINKS: 

00:00 — Introduction: What are shared channels? 

01:45 — End user experience 

03:12 — Set up shared channels in Microsoft Teams 

04:18 — Set up in Microsoft Entra portal 

06:36 — Create a shared channel as a Teams user 

08:24 — Wrap up

 

Link References: 

Check out https://aka.ms/teamssharedchannelsdocs

 

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Video Transcript:

-If collaborating with your customers and partners today means interrupting your flow as you work by continually switching between your organization and other various guest tenants in Microsoft Teams, today I’m going to show you a better way using shared channels so you can seamlessly work with external organizations while staying in your home tenant. And along the way, I’ll walk through all the admin steps to set everything up. 

 

-Let me first start by explaining what channels are and where shared channels apply. It starts with a team. Each team is comprised of channels, which are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects, and disciplines. And there are three types, standard, open to all established team members, private, which comprise only of selected team members, and shared channels, the topic of today’s show, which includes the defined team members and optionally internal members outside of your team, and importantly you can invite external participants outside of your organization, which, once created, provides a shared workspace for all members as a secure and more efficient means for transparent and open collaboration. And each party has seamless access to the channel, from the internal team members, to internal parties added to the shared channel, and external parties added to the shared channel, all directly from their organization’s home tenant. It’s a more seamless way to bring everyone together as part of an extended team and allows for more structured collaboration in the long-term. Importantly, Microsoft Entra cross-tenant access controls are used to establish trust. Users are securely authenticated and authorized on the backend, with channel access based on their individually scoped permissions. 

 

-So now let me make this real, first by showing you the end user experience. Then after that, I’ll demonstrate what it takes to get everything set up using Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Entra admin controls. So here I have a side-by-side view of two users, Alex and Megan, who are in separate organizations. Even though they are from different organizations, they have a shared workspace to collaborate. Megan works for Fabrikam, a marketing vendor, who needs to collaborate with Alex, who works for Contoso, a tech company. Now, here you can see Alex, who is the team owner, created a shared channel so that he and Megan can collaborate on this project. Everything is seamless for Megan, and there’s no need to reauthenticate or switch accounts. Alex can post in the channel conversation, and Megan can react directly to his post in the channel. 

 

-So let’s look at the experience then for accessing information. In channel files, we can see that Alex has created a marketing plan, and Megan has direct access to this shared document right from the files tab in the shared channel. Now, this also means that Megan and Alex are able to collaborate and co-author seamlessly on this document together, again without needing to reauthenticate. And when Alex starts an ad-hoc meeting to discuss their project, he just needs to click on the camera icon on the top right of the screen, just like he would for a meeting with a team of internal participants. No switching of channels is necessary, and both of them are still in their home tenant. The meeting experience is seamless. Now let me show how to set up shared channels in Microsoft Teams. And as I mentioned, this process requires that you establish trust between your organization and the organization with your external contacts. I’ll guide you through what each organization needs to do, starting with your organization. 

 

-So you’ll begin here in the Microsoft Teams admin center with sufficient administrative permissions. From Teams policies, you can either create a new policy or edit an existing one. So I’ll choose to edit this policy. And for the shared channels options, the following options are enabled by default, and you have options to control their capabilities. So, enable create shared channels allows team owners to create them. Then, invite external users to shared channels allows team owners to share them with people. Finally, to let users in your organization be added to shared channels from external orgs, you need to enable join external shared channels. 

 

-Next, to enable external channel members to participate in meetings and see their presence, you just need to expand users and make sure external access is selected. Those are the steps required in the Teams admin center. Next from the Microsoft Entra portal as an administrator, in Microsoft Entra ID under external identities, you’ll navigate to cross-tenant access settings and move to the organizational settings tab. Now, from there, you’ll add your partner’s organization by entering their domain name, selecting it, and then hitting add to confirm. You’ll see the organization is now listed in cross-tenant access settings. 

 

-Next, you’ll click on the inbound access link, and here you’ll find the B2B settings. You’ll head over to the B2B direct connect, then choose customize settings. For external users and groups, you will need to first choose allow access. And for who it applies to, you can either leave all users and groups for the selected organization, or if you’re working with that organization’s Microsoft Entra administrator, with user or group IDs, or GUIDs, from their directory, you can also limit access to specific people or groups. Then in the applications tab within B2B direct connect, you’ll also need to allow access here, and you’ll want to start by using the Office 365 apps to grant access to them. And with that complete, you’ve established inbound access. Importantly, you now need to work with your partner organization to establish a trusted connection on their side, using the same settings we just walked through within their tenant for both Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Entra. They’ll also need to configure outbound access settings for corresponding controls. 

 

-So once they’ve completed the steps and set up your organization in Microsoft Entra’s external identities, they’ll need to go to cross-tenant access settings, then the outbound access link, and we’ll do everything we saw before with inbound settings. In the B2B direct connect tab, choose customize settings, then allow access. Choose who it applies to. And I’ll keep all Contoso users. Now I’ll configure the same for our external applications and also allow access. And you can scope the access to selected external apps. In my case, I’ll choose Microsoft apps, and allow Office 365, then save. And now they’re done. Of course, in many cases, both organizations will configure equivalent inbound and outbound access settings, so that all of the admin steps that I just showed are the same for each organization, except for that domain selection step, where you’ll choose each other’s domain. 

 

-Now, with both organizations set up to use shared channels, let me now show you what’s needed to set up a shared channel like I demonstrated before, as a Teams user. You’ll start in Microsoft Teams from the Teams tab. First, importantly, you need to own the team where you want to establish the shared channel. Using the ellipsis menu next to the team’s name, choose add channel from the drop-down. Then give your channel a name. I’ll call mine Project Alexandria. And optionally, I can add a description. Then in the privacy drop-down menu, you’ll see options for standard, private, and shared channels. And make sure you choose the Shared option here, because you can’t change the channel type later. Now, this will then open up the external sharing options in the provisioning flow. So now on this screen, you can select the external organization or partner that you want to collaborate with using their email addresses. So if you’re using external identities, these need to be accounts from the domain that we just set up. And you can also invite internal members, who were not part of this team, so it’s pretty flexible. I’ll add Megan’s email address and confirm. And with everything set, I’ll just hit add, and that’s it. 

 

-Now once you’ve created a shared channel, you can continue to share with people or teams. And if you invite a team owner from an internal or external org to add their team, that team owner can continue to manage the members of their team, who will be able to collaborate in your shared channel. And anyone that you’ve shared your channel with will see it in the context of their home tenant in the Teams app, as you can see here. So now if I pull up Alex’s list of channels available in this team using a side-by-side view, you’ll see that Alex can access more channels within the team. And only the channel that I shared shows up for my external partner, Megan. So with shared channels in place, all team members, whether they’re internal or external to your organization, can work together right from their home tenant in Microsoft Teams. 

 

-To discover all of the options that I showed you today and to learn more, check out aka.ms/teamssharedchannelsdocs. And to stay up-to-date with the latest at Microsoft, be sure to subscribe, and thanks for watching.

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