Microsoft Build Conference 2019 Announcements: Microsoft Teams

The announcements of new and streamlined features for Microsoft Teams at the Microsoft Teams Build 2019 conference focussed largely on the centralization of Microsoft Teams as the hub for applications by bringing together the customer, the partner, and the Microsoft applications inside of Teams.

Microsoft Teams will be seeing many new changes and features over the coming months. With a streamlined end-to-end application lifecycle, there will be a Partner Centre that will provide support for Teams apps. Within the Partner Center, offers and app purchases (SaaS-based) will be made available, creating a one-stop-shop experience for the customer. The customer will be able to purchase subscriptions from within the Partner Centre. IT Admins can set policies for app distribution with the app setup policies, end-user app pinning, and end-user app access policies. IT Admins will be able to allow specific Teams access to specific apps. Deployment of apps will be done as per the IT Admin policies.

Microsoft Teams will be seeing many new changes and features over the coming months. With a streamlined end-to-end application lifecycle, there will be a Partner Centre that will provide support for Teams apps. Within the Partner Center, offers and app purchases (SaaS-based) will be made available, creating a one-stop-shop experience for the customer. The customer will be able to purchase subscriptions from within the Partner Centre. IT Admins can set policies for app distribution with the app setup policies, end-user app pinning, and end-user app access policies. IT Admins will be able to allow specific Teams access to specific apps. Deployment of apps will be done as per the IT Admin policies.

From within the Partner Centre, the App Certification Pilot will be an integrative and crucial step of submitting apps for MS Teams. The App Certification program will provide a standardized format for the data that is available for security, compliance practices, and data handling. This data will be available for each MS app, and will also include partner apps. The combined standardized format for this data will be located and accessible in a central repository. This information will not only enhance the one-stop-shop experience, but will also substantially assist partners and customers on many levels, including expediting the approval process for deployment, shortening/eliminating validation time of the data as it can be trusted, and minimizing efforts for completion of RFPs for our partners. This process has begun with the gathering and reviewing of partner and MS app information, and combining it with publicly available information for each app. Partners that we have begun the process with include Adobe Sign, Asana, Evernote, Talla, SurveyMonkey, Zoom.ai, Kronos, and many more.

Aside from enhancements for the developer, there are many new platform capabilities that are new and improved. Amongst these include message actions, bots use in private chats, tab improvements, link unfurling, simplified authentication for Azure Active Directory-based apps (Single Sign-on), mobile users, and Share to Team.

Team collaboration is founded on communication, and in Microsoft Teams, messages are at the core of this foundation. However, simply sending and replying to messages is not enough to support collaboration. Messages require more interaction to make them effective for collaboration. Messages need to be followed-up on, used to kick-off workflows in other systems and turned into notes. These message actions can now be initiated directly from the message as Message Actions, thereby closing and supporting the collaboration loop while keeping the communication lines open.

Bots are becoming more and more invaluable in our day to day tasks. They can be used to complete tasks and workflows. With the new UI-based interactive bots, users can perform actions on individual messages and post dynamic cards inside 1:1 chats, group, and meeting chats. These dynamic cards include action items, kudos, and polls.

Collaboration and communication, as we have discussed in previous installments, is not bound to the desktop, and mobile availability is a must. Previously, only Team apps with bots could be used on mobile devices. As iOS and Android Teams clients reach parity with the desktop and web platforms, users will be able to use message extensions, personal apps, task modules, and channel tabs on mobile devices. The concerns over what app features can or can’t work on a mobile device will become a concern of the past as the features will work from anywhere and off both platforms.

Microsoft Graph APIs have improved automating teamwork. The MS Teams lifecycle can now be automated, including actions such as creating the team, adding members, installing apps, pinning tabs, creating channels, and archiving and deleting teams. Currently available features include installing or upgrading apps, which support application permissions, creating deep-links to channels and teams (Channel.webURL), enabling a connection between channels with existing workflow with the email address for a channel (Channel.email), and for government customers, Teams Graph APIs (GCC High and DoD clouds).

Teams App Templates provides a simpler, quicker, community-driven, and open-sourced start to creating apps. Housed in Office Dev GitHub, the Teams App Templates provide plug and play experience, a solid code base, are extensible, are customizable, and come with detailed documentation. The first Teams App Template is Custom Stickers. This template allows any customer sticker in image, sticker or GIF format to be applied within the Teams chat experience. Additionally, List Search and Icebreaker, are also available. List Search makes any SharePoint list item searchable and shareable within a Teams chat, enabling item-level conversations without having to switch context. Icebreaker, a fun bot, randomly pairs team members up for coffee once a week, building a personal connection and supporting team culture.

Microsoft recognizes that the heart of Microsoft Teams is the customer, and by allowing customers to bring their services and integrations into Microsoft Teams, it empowers the customer to create, design, and deliver their business workflows and actions inside Microsoft Teams. Coupling this empowerment with the capabilities of purchasing vetted partner apps, it provides even more power to the customer for an integrative, collaborative, and open communication system between its team members.

  • Wednesday, June 05, 2019 By : Mike Maadarani   

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