With Microsoft Teams recently recognized as "the fastest growing business app in Microsoft History", more attention has been focused on the management controls organizations can utilize to onboard users, stay compliant and secure, and manage the Teams workload day-to-day.
At Ignite 2018, Teams Senior Program Manager Isabella Lubin presented the current set of management tools available, detailed newly announced capabilities, and gave of glimpse of what is coming in the future in the session "BRK4102 - Managing Teams Effectively".
Having managed Teams since the early days of the Skype for Business Online PowerShell module cmdlets, it was very impressive seeing the progress and completeness of the Teams management experience at Ignite. This blog post recaps what is available today, some new announcements, and a quick overview of what to expect in the future for Microsoft Teams management.
A significant takeaway I had at Ignite 2018 was gaining an appreciation for the power of Microsoft applications being tightly integrated into the "Microsoft 365" infrastructure. The Microsoft Teams client is a shinning example of this. It leverages Office 365 Groups, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and many other Office 365 services to provide the end-user with a powerful one-stop collaboration experience.
Similarly, the Teams management experience benefits from Teams running on the M365 Infrastructure. As shown here, this infrastructure provides administration tools for managing the underlying pillars such as Office 365 Groups, the Microsoft Teams service itself, and Security and Compliance.
Another huge benefit of a common infrastructure is the ability to use PowerShell for bulk administration and more advanced management needs in all the scenarios shown above. Isabelle demonstrated this by using the Azure AD PowerShell Preview module for Graph to set a naming policy on Office 365 Groups. Teams will enforce any of the Office 365 group settings that are configured in the organization. The Get-AzureADDirectorySettings cmdlet in the Azure AD preview module will show all of the configuration settings that can be used to manage the creation of the underlying Office 365 groups.
Likewise, administrators can use a remote PowerShell session to connect to Office 365 Security & Compliance Center and set retention and eDiscovery policies and apply them to manage the messages in Teams Channels and Chat.
A handy reference slide was presented during the session which detailed which management tool was available for the most common Teams management scenarios:
One the significant new Teams manageability announcements was the introduction of new administrator RBAC roles specifically for Teams. There are four new roles:
These roles can be viewed and set in the associated Azure AD (AAD) tenant portal. For any AAD user, the new Teams administrator directory roles can be managed as shown here:
The introduction of new Teams admin roles does not diminish the use of other existing Office 365 administrator roles. As Isabella Lubin described in her session "How to Manage Teams Effectively", Teams is built-on and benefits from the Microsoft 365 infrastructure; other roles such as Compliance Administrator enable the appropriate administrator privileges for other Teams enterprise scenarios such as compliance, security, and eDiscovery in the other management portals.
The use of the new and existing roles will depend on size and needs of the Teams organization. Larger organizations typically require more granular administration roles for dedicated staff.
As anyone who has managed Skype for Business Online or Exchange Online knows, policies play an important role. Teams is no different. Policies are available to manage the user experience, feature availability, and capabilities of Teams both at the user level and organization level.
Teams borrows from the Skype for Business policy administration model. Polices can be defined at an Organization and user level. The effective policy is the most granular; which is the user level policy (if one is set). This model allows for default organization-wide policies that govern Teams Meeting, Messaging, and Calling, and also per-user specific policies for groups and users where needed.
Here is a screen shot from the Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center showing the creation of an example Meeting Policy:
Configuration settings typically do not follow this model. Configuration settings such as whether to "Allow external apps in Teams" apply only at an organization level. Here is a sample screen shot of some Teams tenant configuration settings in the same Teams & SfB Admin Center:
Another new announcement was the future addition of two new application policies for Microsoft Teams: App Permission Policies and App Setup Policies. No date was given for their release but here is more information about each policy type.
Managing any service requires tools for reporting and troubleshooting. Teams is no different. The real-time nature of communication features such as desktop sharing and calling amplify the need for troubleshooting tools which provide support engineers the ability to drill down into specific user and session level data to identify and resolve end-user issues.
Starting with Microsoft Skype for Business Online, Microsoft introduced the Call Analytics and the Call Quality Dashboard (CQD). Both tools are used to monitor call quality and gain specific information about the call quality experienced by users, and troubleshoot issues when there is a poor experience. The Microsoft documentation on both tools provides an excellent description of what these tools do and how to use them: Call Analytics and Call Quality Dashboard.
During the Ignite session on managing Teams effectively, Isabella Lubin demonstrated how easy it is to drill into the Call Quality metrics of a specific user through the new User Search capabilities in the Teams Admin portal, and isolate a network issue causing quality issues. Here is a sample screen shot of the latest integrated user call analytics from the Call History tab:
More detailed information about any given session including the media and networking statistics can be viewed my selecting any session as shown here:
Reporting on Microsoft Teams usage plays a vital role in understanding end-user adoption, and resource usage. Two basic reporting tools were highlighted at Ignite with a mention that more will be delivered in the future:
Microsoft will continue to evolve their reporting functionality, and organizations are encouraged to submit their reporting needs in the Microsoft Teams User Voice: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/20168716-reporting-capabilitie....
Attending several Microsoft Teams management sessions at Ignite, it was clear Microsoft is committed to providing a complete set of management tools to manage all aspects of Microsoft Teams - whether it be on-boarding, adoption, service quality, and day-to-day management.
Details of future plans were not discussed in details, but the following areas were identified as being a priority going forward:
Given the huge progress in Teams management capabilities over the past year, the evolution will be exciting to watch. Stay tuned!
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