Upcoming Microsoft Teams Features and Improvements

By |2018-04-11T13:26:12+00:00April 11th, 2018|Teams, Unified Communications|0 Comments

The ball is really rolling with Microsoft Teams, most recently we have had confirmation from Microsoft on the upcoming ability to support ‘Direct Routing’ aka “bring your own SIP trunk”  to Teams, similar to the capability that we have had in Skype for Business for some time now.

There has been some significant progression in the development of Microsoft Teams, some of the following functionality has been rolled out over the past several weeks, whilst some features are yet to be rolled out but are imminent on the roadmap.

I have ranked them in my personal, order of priority, based upon feedback with existing customers and contacts

Unified Presence

Since the announcement and subsequent rollout of Microsoft Teams, one of the main areas impacting the end user experience was the existence of a unified presence model, where by if I am available in Skype, I am available in Teams and vice versa.

Up until the rollout of this feature, it is possible for an end user to be “in a conference call” in Skype for Business but “available” to anyone viewing that user via Microsoft Teams.

With this feature, presence across the two services will now be aggregated, ensuring that an end user has a single presence state regardless of service, app or device they use.

It is important to note that a user Skype for Business account must be hosted in Skype for Business Online for this unification of presence to be supported.

Guest Access in Microsoft Teams

Prior to this update, anyone wanting to participate in a Microsoft Team required an Azure Active Directory Account for them to be added to the Team. This was a great addition to the service but unfortunately not everyone has an Azure AD account.

Moving forward, Microsoft have now added the ability to truly add a guest using a consumer email account such a Gmail or Outlook. Using this consumer account, it is now possible to participate in team chats meetings and access file and/or folders.

Most importantly, the inclusion of this feature does not impact security, as all guest access is covered by the same compliance and audition protection that you have configured for the Teams service

Guest Access in Microsoft Teams Mobile

Following on from the previous point, Microsoft Teams Guest access and account switching is now supported on the Microsoft Teams mobile app (iOS and Android), on managed or unmanaged device

MSI Installation of the Client

It was (and is) nice to have a client, that was fully managed with no interaction required from IT administrators, although this did require and end user downloading the Teams app for themselves.

Microsoft have now accounts the 32bit and 64bit MSI versions of Microsoft Teams, meaning that SCCM, Group Policy or 3rd Party Software Deployment mechanisms can be used to push out a managed installation of the client.

There are several requirements, including a minimum of Windows 7, running .NET framework 4.5 or later with at least 3GB of disk space for each user profile.

For more information on this announcement, please see the following Microsoft Docs article

Retention Policies

The security and compliance practices surrounding the Office 365 platform are one of its major strengths. This strong layer of security is now supported in Microsoft Teams, allowing administrators to set retention policies for conversations, chats and channels messages. Policies can be scoped towards a single team, individual users or groups, or the entire tenant itself and a decision can be made as to whether the content should be retained or deleted.

Unified Skype for Business and Teams Admin Centre

More services typically mean more administration panes, more URLs to remember and another bookmark in your preferred browser. Microsoft are now improving the administration experience of Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business by merging the administration centers into one.

This will really support the management experience of Teams and Skype for Business Online, as more features are rolled out, more organisations are beginning to adopt the client and therefore administration of the two, supporting a positive end user experience is vital.

With this change, comes the inclusion of the Call analytics portal and Call quality dashboard becoming primary tools within the interface.

From the administration centre, administrators will be able to:

  • Create and assign messaging policies to end users
  • Manage Teams guest access settings
  • Control the federation for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business (teams federation is still on the roadmap)
  • Manage Audio Conferencing

There will be a period of time where functionality is split across the two administration centers and to account for this, there will be a link to the legacy portal.

Summary

To read the full announcement from Microsoft, see the following URL which contains full details and links for further reading on each of the features being added.

It’s great to see the evolution of the platform and with aforementioned features being rolled out to tenants worldwide, it is safe to say that the Teams engineering team (it becomes a mouthful) is definitely working hard and listening to the feedback bring provided.

What features are you or your organisation most looking forward to? Is there anything else that you feel is missing that is not on the Office 365 Roadmap?

Remember you can always submit your feedback, directly from the Microsoft Teams client or at the following URL: https://aka.ms/teamspublicfeedback

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