Microsoft introduces shared channels in Teams

Shared channels are a new kind of channels that you can add to a Team in Microsoft Teams. This makes it easier to collaborate with internal and/or external people. Adding people to a shared channel gives them access to only the information in that channel. The advantage is that you can share information in a targeted way, without having to grant people access to the entire Team. Microsoft will introduce shared channels in MS Teams in late March and expects everyone to be able to use shared channels by early April. We will explain the advantages of shared channels in MS Teams.

Access to information is still mostly determined at Team level

In the current MS Teams you can add two types of channels:

  • Standard channels are accessible to all members in the Team
  • Private channels are only accessible to some members in the Team

Access to information in a Team is therefore still largely determined at Team level. You add certain people to a Team and then they get access to all information in that Team, with the exception of the information in private channels. Many people find this inconvenient (together) working. Sometimes you only want to share certain information with others, without having to add that person directly to the entire Team.

A good example of this is sharing information with colleagues from another department. Many organisations have created Teams for the different departments within the company. This way, colleagues from a certain department can easily collaborate with each other. However it becomes difficult as soon as they want to share information with colleagues from another department.

It would sometimes be beneficial to add the colleagues from the other department to a private channel. In Microsoft Teams however you can’t currently add people to a private channel if they are not members of the Team. You have to add the colleague from the other department to the whole Team Administration.

Microsoft has received many reports from organisations that find this Team-level access inconvenient. For this reason, among other things, Microsoft has developed shared channels.

Microsoft introduces shared channels in Teams

Collaborating with external parties still means a lot of switching between environments in MS Teams

Another reason why Microsoft has developed shared channels is because collaborating with third parties in Microsoft Teams can be quite a challenge. If you are added to a Team of another organisation, you have to switch from your own Microsoft environment to that of the organisation where you have been added to a Team. Once you have switched to the environment of that other organisation, you will no longer see the activities or notifications in your own Microsoft environment. Only when you switch back to your own Microsoft environment, you will see the (missed) activities in the Team of your organisation.

Shared channels will make it easier to collaborate with internal and/or external people

The solution to these challenges is the introduction of Shared Channels in MS Teams. Soon you will be able to use these new types of channels in addition to the standard and private channels.

Shared channels are accessible to individuals or teams that you specify. This can be both internal and external persons and these can be persons who are members of the Team as well as persons who are not members of the Team. You can also add other teams to a shared channel.

People or Teams you add to a shared channel can send messages, share files, and use applications in that channel, but they can’t see the other channels in the Team. The advantage of this is that you can share information in a targeted way, without having to give people access to the entire Team.

Also shared channels appear in the Teams overview of all people who have been added to the shared channel. External parties therefore no longer have to switch between different Microsoft environments. A Team’s shared channel within another organisation simply appears in their own organisation’s Teams overview.

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