Microsoft Teams Connect aka Shared Channels Coming Later in 2021

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MVP

Microsoft Teams Connect, a new way of collaboration based on federated shared channels, is now in private preview and should be available later in 2021. The best thing about shared channels is that you don’t need to switch tenants to access a channel in another tenant. Azure B2B collaboration (guest accounts) is still important, but this is a brand new way of working that should be very popular.

 

https://practical365.com/blog/microsoft-teams-connect-shared-channels/

30 Replies

@Tony Redmond 

 

Really excited about these new sharing possibilities! 

One thing I don't understand though, is since the external users you share a channel with, don't need to be guests on your platform, how would the invitation process look and how would they access the Team if they don't use M365 on their end?

We don't have full details yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if the external access mechanism is used, just like federated chat.
This is interesting, thanks for posting. Do we know if this will create a separate SharePoint site collection, like private channels do?
From the text of the article:

"Like private channels, a shared channel gets a SharePoint Online team site to share documents between members of the shared channel."
The "problem" is that these private SHPT team sites are not visible in the SHPT Admin Center. Will this be addressed in the near future? How do we as admins manage and support these sites? I know via the Teams Admin Center you can see if there are any but accessing them in case of support can only be done if admins are added by the Teams owner to the private channel itself. Not ideal.
You can use PowerShell to manage the SharePoint Online sites created for private and shared channels.
Always interested in the options! Could you tell me more? To be honest I am not working with PowerShell enough to immediately understand what is possible.
Care to invest in a book to help? https://gum.co/O365IT/ Just saying...

$Sites = Get-SPOSite -Template "TeamChannel#0" will find all private channel sites. After that. you manage them like any other site.

Yes, however, not all "Admins" are profficient in PowerShell, nor should they have to be. I agree with @DebbieHere and am concerned about the governance of this. Why not teach users to work and structure teams in Teams optimally, instead of running head over heals to solve something that could be easily solved with current solution? For example, if I am running a real estate department that are managing lots of properties and different suppliers managing these; i would create a team in Teams for my internal "Real estate department" and any internal work should be done there, and access only for internal resources. Then I would create a team in Teams for "Real Estate Suppliers" and create some common channels where e.g. policies, templates, routines, etc. could be shared and available. Then I would create a private channel for each supplier, where internal resources could have access to all private channels, but each supplier only their own and the common channels. This way I do not see any need for a shared channel in addition to this. If I need then to share a document from one of these channels, I can Open in SharePoint and share the specific document by using the "Share" function. Please let me know if I have missed some info here, right now I just see this is going to be a headache to administer access to...

I think you should wait until you see shared channels in action before you decide whether they or private channels are the better approach for collaboration in different circumstances. As to using PowerShell, it's a tool. You decide what tools you wish to use for administration and which you want to acquire some proficiency in.
Hi @Tony Redmond, yes, and after further investigation and thinking about it, I realized the benefits; as shared channels can make it easier for collaboration across different companies, which many times is the case. Shared channels solves the tenant switching issue, you can mount a channel in an existing team in your own tenant, no need for tenant switching. Perhaps I had a hint of getting "old and set" when putting on the hand-breaks on this one! ;) Still, we should work on how to advice admins to keep track of all SPO-sites, from a governance perspective, I guess this will also improve over time.
I'm now seeing this option on Teams at my institution. I now have a third option when adding a channel to a Team: "Shared - People you choose from your org or other orgs have access". Seems to be working well within the organization, but I'm unable to add external users using their e-mail ("We didn't find any matches"). Is this something that needs to be activated by my admin people or has Microsoft not rolled that aspect out yet? Note - I can add external people to a Team as Guests, so we have enabled that feature, but that gives them access to the full Team and requires changing tenants. Any word on this?
Are you in the Microsoft TAP program for Teams? If not, it's probably a mistake that you see the option to add a shared channel. In any case, when the feature is available, you'll need to configure a policy to enable connections with other organizations. The policy is bi-directional, meaning that you can't connect to another tenant without their OK. I'll flag the issue to Microsoft.

in addition to my earlier post I discovered a way to add members and owners to a private channel when in the Admin Center. This makes it easier to grant access when needed!
So I (as an admin) now have a way to see if there are private channels and in case of need for support can also get access without the need for an user to grant it (which could have been difficult if no owners are left ;) )
Seek, ask and you will find an answer hahaha
Thanks @Tony Redmond  for your help in easily discovering them via Powershell btw

Yes, I believe so. There is a TAP symbol above my picture on Teams.
OK. Then your admin should know what to do.
No worries. We have a lot more information about Teams in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. Keeping this book updated on a monthly basis means that we hunt down details like this all the time.

https://gum.co/O365IT/

@Tony Redmond 

Given the ability to share a channel to an external user, is there anything to prevent us from adding a power bi app into a tab on that channel and thus allowing external users to see the reports?

 

Currently I use the "app owns data/embedded" setup with a external website (time-consuming but works well).

 

Having externals authenticated from their own tenancy and invited into a Channel might I think open up a huge time-saver.

 

interested if anyone knows if my thoughts are on track or not?

I think you'll have to wait and see. While Teams will be able to federate with other tenants, different applications will need to be able to do the same thing. There's no guarantee if and when Power BI will be able to federate externally.