Top 10 Microsoft Teams Questions from Customers

Still debating whether to migrate to Microsoft Teams? Here are 10 questions that have repeatedly surfaced during Microsoft's Ignite tour along and answers to those questions. Learn more about how Teams can optimize your communication and collaboration for your organization.

Manageability & Deployment

1) Can you restrict access to a specific channel in a team?

You will be able to later this year – with secure private channels, you will be able to customize which members of the team can see conversations and files associated with a channel. You can restrict channel participation and exposure when needed without having to create separate teams to limit visibility. This is one of Microsoft's top requested features and they are actively testing this internally and with select customers.

2) What are best practices for governance, specifically around team naming and retention?

To assure the best experience for end-users, Microsoft Teams provides IT organizations with a variety of governance controls. If you require strict controls on how teams are named and classified, or whether guests can be added as team members, you can configure each of these areas in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

Team Naming: A group naming policy is used to enforce a consistent naming strategy for Office 365 groups created by users in your organization. The best practice for this is to conduct interactive onboarding with the early adopter project team and allow them to select their own name. This will give you insight into how employees think about their work and will be essential in creating a larger scale naming convention at a later time. You can use Prefix-suffix naming conventions which will allow to add or append fixed strings or supported user attributes to the teams' name. Blocked words can avoid (intentional or unintentional) misuse of teams. Configure via Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell. Find details on licensing and configuration here.

Configure Azure Directory Module image

Team/Channel/Chat retention: Retention policies can be used to define a range of days after which all content will be deleted or a range of days during which content cannot be deleted – or both. Retention can be set independently for chat messages and channel messages. Channel and chat message policies can be applied globally or per team. Files use retention policies of SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. Configure Team retention in Security & Compliance Center and Office 365 Security & Compliance Center.

Before putting all of the above controls in place, it is important to first determine your organization’s governance requirements.

3) Can I add guests to my team? If so, how?

Absolutely! Microsoft Teams secure guest access allows teams in your organization to collaborate with people outside your organization by granting them access to existing teams and channels in one or more of your tenants. Anyone with a business or consumer email accounts, such as Outlook or Gmail, can participate as a guest in Teams with access to team chats, meetings, and files. Guest access is a tenant-level setting in Microsoft Teams and is turned off by default. Once configured, a team owner in Microsoft Teams can add and manage guests in their teams via the web or desktop.

Microsoft Teams Guest Access image

4) How does external access/federation work? How is this different from guest access?

With Teams external access (federation), users from other domains can participate in your chats and calls. You can also allow external users who are still using Skype for Business to participate. In order to turn on external access, go to the Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center, select Org-wide settings > External access.

External access is different than guest access because guest access gives permission to an individual while external access gives access permission to an entire domain. With guest access, a guest can access resources, such as channel discussions and files, for a specific team, and chat with other users in the team they have been invited to. With external access, the external chat participants have no access to the inviting organization’s teams or team resources. They can only participate in one-on-one federated chat. Tenant admins can choose between the two communication options depending on which level of collaboration is desirable with the external party. Admins can choose either approaches or both, depending on their organizational needs, but we recommend enabling guest access for a fuller, collaborative Teams experience.

Microsoft Teams External Access image

5) What functionalities do I get in a hybrid environment? Is Teams available for on-premise environments?

For the full Microsoft Teams experience, every user should be enabled for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Office 365 Group creation. Today, Teams is not available for on-prem only environments. If you are in a hybrid environment, you will be able to use Teams, however, you will have limited capabilities.

Hybrid environment capabilities:

  • If users aren't assigned and enabled with SharePoint Online licenses, they will not have OneDrive for Business storage in Office 365. File sharing will continue to work in Channels, but users are unable to share files in Chats without OneDrive for Business storage in Office 365.
  • Users hosted on either Exchange Online Dedicated - Legacy, or Exchange on-premises, must be synchronized to Azure Active Directory for Office 365. They can create and join teams and channels, add and configure tabs and bots, and chat and call. Users hosted on Exchange Online or Exchange Dedicated vNext can use all the features of Teams.
  • See what Teams functionalities are supported based on your exchange environment
  • Learn how to configure an Exchange hybrid organization to be able to use with Teams

6) How do I integrate Teams with Public Switched Telephony Network (PSTN) calling?

You can integrate Teams with PSTN either by leveraging Microsoft Calling Plans, Direct Routing, or a mix of the two systems. Microsoft Calling Plans let you integrate with PSTN through subscription without any additional hardware. Direct Routing allows you to connect your own PSTN trunk to Microsoft Phone System (Cloud PBX) via certified Session Border Controller (SBC).
With Direct Routing, you can use Phone System with virtually any telephony carrier. First, you pair the Session Border Controller (SBC) to the Direct Routing capability, configure policies, and then you must enable users for the Direct Routing Service. Lastly, you must set Microsoft Teams as the preferred calling client for users.

Microsoft Teams Adoption

7) Why should I move from Skype for Business to Teams? How do I make this transition?

As people are collaborating more, seamless integration of Microsoft's communication capabilities into Teams become more complex and crucial. Good news is that Microsoft aims to enable users to have a single place for their conversations, contacts, and content. With Teams, you can leverage the modern cloud infrastructure and create new experiences for meetings and calling, including preparation, delivery, and follow-up.

Why move to Teams image

8) I have existing SharePoint sites that I would like to bring into Teams. Can I do that?

Yes – you can connect your existing SharePoint team sites and content to your teams in Microsoft Teams! And when we say sites and content, it's the full power of SharePoint -- the same powerful content management experience of working with sites and the content within the context of Teams. Soon, you will be able to create a Team for your Office 365 group-connected SharePoint team site. With one click on the new “Create a Team” button (will appear on the bottom-left corner of your site), you can “Teamify” your SharePoint site.

Today, you can do the following:

  1. Add SharePoint document libraries as tabs in Teams
  2. Add SharePoint lists and pages as tabs in Teams
  3. Use the SharePoint News connector to have team news flow directly from SharePoint and into the Teams Conversation tab.
  4. Add full sites (team sites and communication sites) as tabs in Teams via the Website tab

Create a Team for your O365 group image

9) I need to help my company learn how to use Teams. Is training available?

Definitely! Microsoft offers many great tools for driving adoption within your organization. Please make sure to check out the resources below.

Adopt Microsoft Teams image

Teams for Firstline Workers

10) How can I use Shifts for Firstline Workers in my organization? Do I need another app to access this?

Shifts is your schedule management tool now available in Teams, where managers can easily plan and create shift schedules, and team members can review schedules and make shift requests from their mobile devices, all in real-time. The Shifts experience is on by default and accessible via the Teams app. To access Shifts on your desktop, on your left-rail, visit the more option ellipses and select 'Shifts'. And on mobile, access Shifts by expanding your modular tray and pin Shifts to your navigation bar for quick access. Shifts is available in all SKUs with the exception of Government SKUs and Teams for Free.

Enjoyed reading this article? Check out our blog article on Microsoft Teams: Microsoft 365 Teams, Skype, Outlook, Yammer, Groups – Oh My!

If you are curious about modern, efficient, and optimized communication and collaboration tool or ready to deploy the powerful Microsoft Teams, we can help!  Give us a call at 833-827-4275 or contact us here.

* The original article was published by FMT Consultant’s partner, Microsoft.

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