On the Microsoft TechCommunity blog, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams Connect Shared Channels are now entering General Availability.
Shared channels, which enable frictionless collaboration within and between organizations, rolled out in a public preview in March 2022, and is expected to complete the General Availability rollout by mid-August.
Powered by B2B direct connect, shared channels provide the flexibility to collaborate with parties both inside and outside an organization and work effectively as one extended team in a channel without the need to tenant switch.
Microsoft’s vision for cross-boundary collaboration revolves around three guiding principles: a smooth user experience, fine-grained security controls, and efficient collaboration governance. Whether you’re working with a vendor or partnering with an external agency, shared channels can help you make collaboration seamless. Work as one extended team—across IT and organizational boundaries—to accelerate business.
With shared channels you can:
- Collaborate with members who are not part of the team in which a channel is created.
- Provide a gateway for both parties to share files, hold conversations, meet, and review documents in a secure and deliberate way, without switching tenants.
- Retain your flow of work, as external shared channels show up alongside channels from your organization.
- Attain access to the full suite of Teams collaboration capabilities with external partners in other Azure AD orgs, just as you would with colleagues from your organization.
In practice, shared channels streamline two common business scenarios:
- Companies collaborating with external partners on joint ventures. For instance, an apparel company sourcing materials from a supplier, or a healthcare organization developing marketing materials through an advertising vendor. Many consulting companies use shared channels to work with their clients on engagements.
- Multinational and conglomerate companies connecting to subsidiaries or integrating recently acquired or merged business units. For example, a holding company uses shared channels to build a space for its executives from different subsidiaries to engage in a more seamless manner.
Shared channels are built on the Microsoft 365 hyperscale, enterprise-grade cloud delivering advanced security and compliance capabilities our customers expect. Shared channels also support a rich set of Information Protection tools for host admins to manage and govern channel data, including eDiscovery, legal hold, communication compliance, information barriers, audit logs, retention, and DLP.
Coinciding with the general availability for shared channels, Microsoft also worked to improve key enhancements that deliver richer experiences for all channel members such as:
- App developers can now build apps for shared channels: Teams app developers can use the Teams app manifest to opt-into shared channels and prepare their app for powerful cross-organizational collaborative workflows.
- More shared channels: Microsoft increased the number of shared channels from 50 to 200. As a result, a team now supports 200 standard, 30 private, and 200 shared channels per team.
- Improved messaging experience: Microsoft brought the same, rich messaging experience to external users so they can use functionality like GIFs and emojis.
- Security defaults now support B2B direct connect user: If you have security defaults enabled, Microsoft will keep you protected by enforcing multi-factor authentication for external users when necessary.
- Enhanced admin reporting: Through Teams user activity reporting and Teams team usage report, admins have access to enhanced reporting for external users.
- Apps support on mobile: Shared channels now supports Apps on mobile.
To learn more or get started with how to set up Teams Connect shared channels, take a look at these helpful resources: Collaborating with external participants in a shared channel and Create a shared channel in Teams.