Teams Connect Shared Channels are one of the most eagerly awaited features since Teams has been around. Hopes were high that Teams Connect Shared Channels (Shared Channels for short) would solve all the drawbacks of private channels and memberships in multiple tenants. In this article, I’ll show you from a technical perspective whether the anticipation is justified or not.
To make a long story short: Expectations were unfortunately only partially fulfilled. In this article, all the details about private channels, their disadvantages and how shared channels look in practice in the client. The need to switch via the tenant switcher is indeed eliminated, but the number of available apps is lower than for private channels.:
Similarly, not being able to invite existing guests to shared channels is a significant complication for many customers.
Azure B2B direct connect
To use shared channels, Azure B2B direct connect must be configured with the tenant you want to use these features with. If no B2B direct connect is configured, then adding is not possible:
The reason for this is that Cross-Tenant Collaboration Settings for Azure B2B direct connect are set to Block by default. As a customer, you have to explicitly enable them for each tenant:
Activation is very simple, just enter the tenant in the list and then adjust the B2B direct connect settings:
Incoming and outgoing traffic can be set individually for each tenant:
If these settings are configured, then the shared channels can be used. A global release of B2B direct connect should not be considered for security reasons!
In the Teams client, you can easily recognize shared channels (which are located in your own tenant) by the icon:
If you are invited to a shared channel in other tenants, this is how it looks in your own Teams client:
Now a look towards Teams Admin Center and SharePoint Online Admin Center. Here you will find the private and shared channels shown above very quickly:
If you look into the details here, the private and shared channels come to light:
Guests and Externals
In this article, a detailed description can be found, what it is about guests and externals and the technical difference.
In part 2 of the Deep Dive, I’ll show you how Microsoft implements behind-the-scenes access to SharePoint resources for external parties.