External Access and Federation
Collaboration is a core element of how we work which requires the creation of extended teams on a project or long term engagement. Whilst the majority of our teams are internal staff, there is still a critical element of any project that requires the inclusion of our clients and/or external vendors. It is imperative that Microsoft Teams allows for the easy (but secure) inclusion of external parties for the length of any project or engagement.
This is why historically products like Groups etc. have not been adopted as widely as we would hope. If the tool only allows for 60-70% of a team to participate, it breaks. If a tool does not allow 100% of those who need to be involved to participate equally, if breaks and our users and clients have far too many alternative solutions that they can easily adopt (Slack etc.) to quickly and efficiently do their jobs.
Finally, making external parties sign up for a Microsoft account (such as Hotmail) to authenticate against any collaboration service does not work, and better approach is required and needed.
You may have already heard this because we announced this date at our public release of Teams last month, but I thought I’d email everyone just in case they didn’t get the news. We’ve publicly committed to a date for this feature, and it is June!
Its a difficult feature to pull off, and we want to make sure to get it right for you. Thank you for your patience and most of all, thank you for bringing this idea for us! We’re excited to soon be able to mark the #1 UserVoice item as complete. :-)
This is phenomenal news!
Can you tell me if this feature will be adding people to the team or will it allow for adding them just to a channel or two?
Thanks for adding this feature to Teams - it is truly a vital factor for us as a small charity to be able to allow trustees and staff to collaborate.
This is not useful unless I can add my outside vendors to the conversations.
Sweet! Please also allow external users to access files (with permission) and collaborate with internal team members.
Henry Morland commented
Hoping very much that external people can be invited to collaborate at a channel level
nice, hopefully we can have different permission levels -from full permission to just read per channel or team. Full permissions are necessary for a good extranal workflow. And please make it so people don't need a microsoft account of any sort.
Timothy Stekkinger commented
Cool! I'am looking forward to this update.
Thanks for the update it is going to effectively help us to use the features externally as well ...
Thanks for the update. That is great news. Including us in your design process could help make sure this is what users need. If others are doing it already, it is not a difficult feature for Microsoft. You are the best.
Richard Lynn commented
Thank you very much for the update on this topic! It's great to hear that there is a release window planned, and we will definitely be ready to adopt as soon as possible.
For planning purposes, may we ask if there are any plans for feature availability for existing teams during rollout?.. Will we have to make a new Team to incorporate this feature for that team (such as the recent Yammer/O365 Groups integration rollout), or will we be able to turn on the new external user feature for our existing Teams once available?
Luke Truan commented
Suphatra, we are so excited to read that this feature is being worked AND has a June release date. I'm very curious to learn how this feature will function and would love to help help test this feature.
This has been a BIG reason for resistance in our company. I really don't want our internal team using slack or other shadow IT services.
@David -- Our beta for this is closed. But please email me to be put in the loop for other features! sparavi (at) Microsoft (dot) com.
David McKnight commented
Thanks, Suphatra. This is great news. We'd love to beta with a small team from a large public agency client that also uses Office 365. How can we do that?
Sang Lee commented
I completely agree with functionality of inviting external users without having go through setting up MS account. I would really like to move our small company to MS Office 365 E5, but without this feature, I will not be able to convince others... We have many contractors and consultants who are not part of our company that we currently have them collaborate with us in Slack.
Kokou Golokuma commented
why is this taking so long? this is slowing us to make decisions
VERY unhappy to find out that I was unable to allow my users to share files within their groups externally. I assumed this would be more of an internal tool by nature but allowing external parties in to an extent is a MUST if I have any hope of migrating our users away from Slack.
External users and contractors are a must for this to compete with Slack.
Todd Walton commented
I would rarely use such a feature. But if the feature did exist it would give me the feeling that Teams is truly business class software. It would lend credibility to it.