Microsoft Teams guest access is really useful. I can bring together a team or belong to a team of people inside and outside my organisation. All our conversations are available to catch up on. Files and other info is all together and being discussed. However, as I message a team that consists mostly of members using guest access, I find myself wondering when people will read and respond to my message. Microsoft Teams is pitched as a chat-based hub of collaboration. It’s instant, realtime nature of communication and collaboration works really, really well within an organisation.

But switching tenants to check on different teams I belong to just ‘aint fun. 

We know that Microsoft are working furiously to give us a better experience with guest access in Teams. Ideally, we want to be logged in once and receive notifications from whatever team we are currently in, be it within our organisation or as a guest user in another tenant. There are various work-arounds. The most popular being to log into different tenants using Chrome browsers different profiles. Or using a private browser session if we only need to be in two tenants. But to benefit from the calling and online meeting capabilities, we need to be logged into the full client. That is gradually changing as online meetings become more capable and voice/video/shared content becomes supported in a browser. I’m still left wondering when my team members will read and respond to my messages. 

I find myself using other platforms on mobile, to contact people and bring them into the conversation in Teams. Facebook Messenger is my default because the people I work with are using it. But it could easily be WhatsApp, Twitter DM, Snap or any number of platforms. The difference with these is you there isn’t the concept of a tenant. When I ping someone, I’m contacting their account. We are all in one big tenant on most of these platforms. Communication and collaboration are a mesh of nodes in a network of contacts. However, to ring-fence our collaboration at work, it needs to happen in a tenant. The tenant is within an organisation’s control. It can be configured to meet policies that may differ across tenants. One org may subscribe to premium services and have Azure Information Protection configured. Another org may be using only the services available with E1 licenses. Tenants are important. They contain the list of accounts and guest users we have approved access for. This construct must remain in place. It’s just so darn annoying though when it comes to guest access and Microsoft Teams. 

What is the answer? We know what we want. We want to be logged into our tenant and concurrently be connected to the teams where we are guests. We want to be connected to multiple chat-based hub of collaboration, with no switching required to work and no work-arounds. I hope it’s not too far away before we have that. I know it’s a priority for the Microsoft Teams product group. I’m keeping a watchful eye out for announcements when it arrives. I expect it will be delivered in stages. Notifications will probably be delivered to which ever team and tenant you are logged into. Maybe from that notification, I’ll be able to click “read more” and be switched to the tenant where the notification was generated from. I think that would be a good first stage to deliver. At least then, I’d know if my messages are being read and responded to. Email notifications don’t really do it for me. They are empty and don’t say a lot. 

Hey Microsoft Teamsie smurf. Are we there yet? Not much further my little smurfs.  With the pace of development in Microsoft Teams, I’m sure it won’t be too long before we will see this experience improved.


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