Managing channels in Microsoft Teams is pretty difficult at times 🤷♂️
In this video we speak with Reuvain from AGAT software to see how we can use SphereShield to move, copy, archive, and export a Microsoft Teams channel as well as dive into some security and compliance add ons such as DLP and making e-discovery user friendly.
- If you've ever tried to move, or copy, or archive a channel in Teams, you'll know that it is pretty difficult, if not impossible. So today I'm joined by Reuvain from AGAT Software, and they've developed a nice little plugin that's really user-friendly, that can help you do all those things really easily. So by the end of the video, you'll know everything that you can do to help move channels, as well as looking at some security and compliance settings that AGAT can also help your organization with. I've got new videos on Teams and Microsoft 365 coming out every Tuesday, so make sure you hit the subscribe button and the bell icon to get notified every time one of those comes out. I'm Gavin Jones, a former transformation manager for a Fortune 500 company. I now help food and beverage companies with modern workplace transformations. If you're interested in finding out more, then best to connect on LinkedIn, link in the description below, or stick around to the end to find out how we can connect straight away.
- My name's Reuven Evans. I'm a sales manager here at AGAT Software. And I'm looking forward to share with you some insights about the channel management.
- I guess some people have never heard of channel management. How do you describe it?
- One of the big pain points for Microsoft Teams users is when it comes to managing Teams and channels, It's not that flexible. I mean, you can just go onto user voice and see what Teams users are saying about their experience with Teams and channels. I think couple of the big issues which people speak about are the need to be able to move channels between Teams, the need to be able to archive channels, for example, and then also managing the mess that's created. Very often, organizations implement Teams into their environments and they let people run with it, which is great because it's a really good platform. And you can get really excited about it, but then quite quickly, Teams can become quite a mess and users need to be able to clean up that mess. Sometimes they'll just manage their Teams environments in a more effective way. So that's where channel management comes into the picture. It's a very, user-friendly, intuitive solution. Here, you can see as a typical Teams environments. Obviously everybody uses Teams and channels in their own way. So, there's always going to be posts and files. People can add tabs at the top. You can utilize the Wiki. People like to use also planner, OneNote, and forms, and all these different tabs that you can actually add over here in the tab section. Now I've just populated it with one message just to show the points. Hi, good morning. It's also got a file ammunition kit specification. And you know what? Let's just add a tab here. Planner, I think, is quite a popular tab. All right. So we have a task here just to show the point that tasks also can move. The way that channel management is managed is actually through an admin portal. So this is an example of the SphereShield admin portal. You just navigate to the Microsoft Teams management section of the portal. And here, what you see is a list of all the Teams and your team's environments. The way that you would move a channel. So next to every team, there's a manage button. You click the manage button and you get the list of channels in the team, and then you can select the channel. Let's call this the test channel one, and we will then move it. Let's move it to a team called 1/2/3/test me. Here we go. 1/2/3/test me. Continue. The selected channels will be moved to 1/2/3/test me team. This operation may take some time. You'll be notified when it's over. And then what we can do is we can see in the auditing section, it's actually already been a success. We can actually also see all the operations of all the Teams over here in channel management auditing. There's one auditing section where it's per team, that's where we were previously. And this is all the thing for all the Teams. And if we then go back into the Teams environment, you can see test team one. We now have a general channel and a test channel 1.1, which we just added, but we moved the test team channel one over here into the 1/2/3/test me team. We have the messages which were sent by Bob. We can also see that Bob added the tasks tab at the top. So that's also been moved. Schedule meeting with management. If we go into the files tab, we can also see that any files which were in this channel have also been moved. So that's what the move looks like. The next thing we can do is show a merge. Now, the reason why merge is good is because like I mentioned before, one use cases that companies get very excited with using Teams and people create Teams and channels, and they have a bit of a mess. And quite often you have two or even multiple channels which are discussing the same thing. So you want to just kind of bring them together. So that's one way that you can clean up. So again, what you would do is select test channel 1.1, merge here, what you need to do is select a team and the channel. So what we're going to do is we're going to select the 1/2/3 test me team. It's just loading the Teams. Here we go. 1/2/3/test me. And then here are all the channels in the team. So this is actually the channel we just moved, test channel one. So let's merge test channel 1.1 and test channel one. Okay, and if we then go back into the Teams environments, first of all, we can see that the test team one only has a general channel now. Channel 1.1, isn't there anymore. And test channel one, when it comes to the posts, the original content is on top. The new content is appended to the bottom. Then the communication can continue from there. Files will all come together. So you've got the two files. You've got the HR clean desk policy, that ammunition kit specification. But if there were any extra tabs, for example, that they would be appended to the top. So that's what the mere looks like.
- Yes, for people that I've worked with, if a company just does projects, like a design company, and they don't have any like day-to-day business apart from doing a project, and that's their entire business. So it was recommended to just have one big team and have lots of channels for each project if there's no privacy concerns, but then they quite quickly run out of channels and then just start having a new team, but then they might have expanded to have their company communications through it. It's a bit of a pain. So being able to just get channels out into a different team is amazing in that instance. I guess that follows on your archiving. So they don't even have to think about where to move it to.
- Yeah, absolutely. This is not a compliance archive here. We're not trying to deal with the solution of archiving from a compliance point of view. We're dealing with it from a management point of view, like you mentioned, the company's run out of space. I think it's 200 channels per team. And for private channels, I think it's 30 channels per team, or simply the project's finished, or the channel's finished. And often companies don't want to delete the data. So they just want to move it into an archive, and archive it. So what we mean when we say archive is basically what we do is we create automatically a team for archiving and then all the channels go into that team for archiving. You can give the permissions to that team, to whoever you want, but again, you just select the channel click archive, okay. So let's go back into this archiving team. And there we have all the information. We have the files, and we have the tab, and the top tasks. So, it is similar to the move, but we've basically just put it into the archiving team. And again, this archiving team can have the relevant permissions, whoever the company wants to manage those channels.
- Looks really useful.
- Absolutely. We see in the market, probably two different types of people that come to us for channel management. There are the companies that need the emergency cleanup solution because their Teams are a mess. They need to start moving channels around, merging channels together, archiving channels. And it's actually quite a common scenario, but we also have plenty of customers who... They need the solution as a ongoing solution to be able to manage their Teams and channels. And as the business process evolves. So too, the Teams and channels need to evolve with the business process to move those channels along into their rightful place.
- And I guess you've got the benefit of being in the front end of the business, talking to lots of different clients and finding out about their businesses. Is there a client that comes to mind that got great results from using channel management?
- Actually, I'll give you two use cases which have come up. So number one, there's the issue of renaming channels in Microsoft Teams, which is not an easy thing to do, surprisingly. Even though it looks easy, it causes issues because basically what happens is when you rename the team, it does not rename it on the SharePoint sites. And it keeps the files in the SharePoint site with the old name. And this basically makes a big mess and people don't like it. So one way that our solution has actually been used to circumvent that problem is you can create Teams with the new name and then move channels into that team. And now you have your files in the right place with the new name. And it's all very beautiful and organized how people like it. The other thing is converting private channels to public channels and vice versa. So that's not something that you can do natively in Teams, but what you can do if channel management is you can create a new channel, you can then either create it private or public, according to your requirements. And then you merge the channel into it. So effectively, what you're doing is changing a public channel into a private channel or vice versa. So that's some of the feedback that we've had from our creative customers. And now we actually tell people that that's what you can do with the solution.
- So, comment below and let me know what you think of AGAT's solution, and if you've ever struggled with moving channels in the past, I guess what's the most important thing you've learned from working with clients with channel management?
- One of the really important things I've learned is the importance of governance, when it comes to Microsoft Teams. Who's going to be creating these Teams? Who's going to be creating the channels? Who's going to be adding users, things like that, because that really can preempt the issues. So that's something that we've actually also developed ourselves seeing this. Okay, so we've got overhead Microsoft Teams governance, we've got these governance policies. So I think what would interest people are these policies at the bottom, and these are really policies, which you can incorporate into your team's environment and avoid the mess, which channel management then solves. So, we've got groups allowed to create Teams. Groups allowed to create channels. Groups allowed to be team owners. Groups allowed to add users to Teams. Groups allowed to add guests to Teams. And then the groups who were allowed to upload files to Teams and SharePoint and OneDrive, which is a bit more of a security and compliance setting. But certainly the settings over here would be great for preempting that mess.
- Perfect. Is there anything else people should know that we've not covered?
- So you can copy a channel between Teams, which is very similar to moving. It's just the original channel's not deleted. And then finally, you can export a channel, the content of the channel, to PDF. So that would be posts and files would be exported to PDF. It's another way to have it on record without deleting it. Again, people are all the time wary of deleting their data. Sometimes we've had customers that needed to go to court and had to show some communication. And it was the most effective way of showing it in court was an export of the communication. Apart from channel management, I think one thing to mention is that we do have other solutions which are security and compliance-focused. So as you can see on the left-hand side here, we've got an ethical wall solution. Ethical wall is all about controlling who's able to communicate with who and how users can communicate. So you can be very granular in your control. For example, very often there'll be companies who say, "You know what? We want finance team to be able to communicate with sales, but we don't want them sharing files with each other. Well, we don't want finance, certainly, sharing files with sales." So you want to just turn off that capability. Sometimes the concern is screen-sharing, it's also a security concern and a compliance concern. So you can turn off screen sharing and you can generally make policies to allow certain people to communicate and certain people not to communicate. We've also got a DLP engine, which inspects sensitive data. We have an option to block that data in real time before it reaches the cloud. So that's a big advantage of our solution, which is that if there is sensitive data and you don't want it to be deleted a few seconds or minutes after it's reached its destination, we can delete it before it reaches the cloud. We also cover some very big gaps which exist in other DLP solutions. So for example, we take care of external communication. That should be obvious, but unfortunately it's not obvious that every DLP solution takes care of external communication in all ways. And we also... A big issue with Microsoft Teams is actually the issue of guests, because you can invite guests into your Teams tenants, and your users can also be guests in other people's tenants. So when you leave, or when a user leaves the company tenants and is now a guest in another tenant, the company's DLP policies classically won't apply to that communication. We can cover that communication. So, there are some key gaps which we're able to fill with our DLP. We actually also have anti-harassment and workplace safety policies, which are connected to DLP because it's all about controlling what's communicated. So if people are using inappropriate language or sharing inappropriate images, these are things which can be handled. They can be deleted, they can be audited, there's notifications, et cetera. There's the eDiscovery. So, eDiscovery is actually a very easy, user-friendly way of being able to see communication. Let's actually maybe give a little peek into what it looks like very quickly. What you have here is a list of your channels and chats. So each row represents a different channel of communication. You can search based on many different parameters, so you can search based on time and date, based on participants, based on free text, team name, channel name, et cetera. And basically what you would do is there's a lot of messages in here. You've got the metadata and then you can scroll through the communication you see by date, by user, what they said, and you could just scroll through the communication. So, it's a very user-friendly way of being able to search the communication. In other eDiscovery solutions, it's not as user-friendly, let's just put it at that. We're actually able to also capture communication of private channels and guest communication. It is worth pointing out, because I want to stress the... When I say this is user-friendly, I mean it's really user friendly, right? In the Microsoft Needs Discovery solution. When you put in a query, you say, "I want to see Bob's communication from the 3rd of June." Basically what it will give you is a bunch of files. And every file is going to be one line of communication. And then you have to open up the file and you see it looks like an email. It says, "Bob sent this line of communication to Alice on the 3rd of June at a certain time." And it says, "Hi, Alice, good morning." And that's all it says. You want to see what the next line of communication is, you have to open the next file. And if you're looking into an incident from an HR perspective, or, you know what? We've had schools that have said, "Someone's complained about something. A parent has put in a complaint." And now they have to search the communication. To open hundreds of files to try and piece together a conversation is a headache. Whereas here, you literally can put in the participants' names, you've got the communication channels over here on the left-hand side, you go into any specific channel and you just scroll down and see exactly what was said, and who said it, and when they said that. So it really is user-friendly. Typically, who are the admins for office 365? It's the IT guys. And they're not going to give admin rights, big companies, at least, to people outside, but who are the people that want to use the discovery? Often, it's not the IT guys. Often it's compliance, it's HR, management, whatever it is. So having a way for, let's say, the HR department to be able to search through some communication if they're dealing with an incident without giving them admin rights to Office 365, that's something that you can also do here.
- Where should people go if they want to find out more about channel management or some of the other bits we've been through? What's the best next steps for them to find out more and start using it?
- The easiest thing to do is to go to our websites. AGATsoftware.com. So, www.AGATsoftware.com. If customers are interested in channel management specifically, so then the best place to go is to Microsoft Teams, channel management page in AGAT software, but you can browse our sites we have on the top, we've got solutions and you can see by platform. Skype for business, all the things we offer, Microsoft Teams, all the things we offer, Slack, Zoom, WebEx, et cetera. So that's where you can see the information. And I think pretty much every page has a get a free trial contact us form. If you put in your details, we'll get them and be in contact. And then we can discuss further steps.
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