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Unlocking Efficient and Secure Collaboration with Advanced Collaboration Tools in Teams Premium

Improving collaboration is an ongoing goal for productive organizations. However, a lack of visibility and control over collaboration methods can pose inefficiencies and risks for organizations and their administrators. Microsoft Teams provides multiple powerful features that enhance both internal and external collaboration. These features, which range from modalities like chats and channels, to capabilities like federation and Azure AD guest access, play a pivotal role in promoting seamless interactions and effective collaboration. Whether collaboration is internal or external, we aim to provide multiple levels of control to enhance both efficiency and protection.

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce the first set of a new type of capability in Teams Premium—Advanced Collaboration Tools (ACT). These tools empower IT administrators with refined control and in-depth insights into their organization’s collaborative behaviors. The end goal? To help administrators strike the right balance between fostering collaboration and ensuring security.

We’ll start by unveiling two features of ACT: First, Advanced collaboration analytics offer deep insights into external collaboration behaviors. And second, Priority account chat controls enable users to be notified about chats from new contacts, giving them a choice to accept or block the conversations.

Advanced collaboration analytics

Advanced collaboration analytics are designed to provide Teams administrators visibility into their organization’s external collaboration habits, empowering them to facilitate successful collaboration and mitigate potential risks that come with external collaboration. Through Teams Admin Center, administrators can access Advanced collaboration analytics to monitor inactivity in their organization, identify users with the most external collaboration, and more. By leveraging this data, admins can make informed decisions, such as removing inactive teams or domains.

Advanced collaboration analytics 1.png

We developed Advanced collaboration analytics to address top customer needs including:

  • Increase visibility: Teams administrators want to concretely understand their organization’s collaboration habits. Our goal is to give them visibility to help them identify how their users are leveraging Teams to collaborate, both internally and externally.
  • Improve data leak mitigation & data management: Insights surrounding inactivity help admins to mitigate data leak risks. They can achieve this by clearing out unnecessary Teams and unnecessary domains from their allow list. Additionally, sprawl can be of concern for admins. Removing inactive teams helps admins manage sprawl.
  • Enhance collaboration: By pinpointing areas of inactivity, admins can identify where adoption of Teams might be limited. They can then collaborate with leading users in their organization and administrators from other tenants to enhance the utilization of Teams features, such as external federation.

How to utilize Advanced collaboration analytics

Advanced collaboration is enabled by default. This feature can be found in the “Collaboration Activity” tab on the Teams Admin Center homepage.

Collaboration Activity.png

The dashboard shows the following insights:

  • Inactive teams
  • Inactive external domains
  • In-tenant users with the most external collaboration
  • Teams with the most external collaboration
  • AAD guests with the most external collaboration

Some of our insights have data obfuscation on by default to follow privacy guidelines. These insights are in-tenant users with the most external collaboration, teams with the most external collaboration, and guests with the most external collaboration. Instructions to turn off data obfuscation.

Priority account chat controls

Priority account chat controls empower end users to manage unwanted internal communications. This is important for organizations seeking to manage how internal users reach out to high-visibility individuals, such as C-suite executives.

Through priority account chat controls, Teams administrators can set up user policies to allow specific users, such as senior executives, to receive notifications of new outreach in chats and provide an option to accept or block the conversation. This feature allows administrators to protect these users when they receive new communication without the user’s explicit approval.

Administrators can provide end users with control of internal communications by adding Priority account chat control to new or existing message policies. Users with Priority account chat control turned ‘on’ in their policy will be able to accept or block internal communication.

How to utilize Priority account chat controls

Priority account chat controls will require an admin to explicitly turn it on in the Teams Admin Center and assign it to an organization’s user.

Proceed to Message settings to enable this feature for your organization.

Message Settings.png

You can turn on the priority account chat control configuration in message policy and assign it to users in your organization.

priority account chat control configuration.png

Priority Account users in your organization will be able to accept or block incoming new conversations.

Priority account users.png

Availability

Advanced collaboration analytics are available now for commercial customers while Priority account chat controls will be rolling out to commercial customers in the next few weeks. Customers must acquire and assign a Teams Premium license to each user in their tenant to use ACT.

We look forward to further empowering Teams administrators in the coming months with more capabilities such as additional insights and granular collaboration controls.

To learn more, please check out the Advanced collaboration analytics documentation, and share your feedback in the comments—we would love to hear from you.

Teams Premium is available for a 30-day free trial. Try Teams Premium for free today.

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