Microsoft Teams Gets Activity Dashboards and PowerShell Support

Microsoft's latest Teams development efforts have delivered some management perks for IT pros, plus improvements for end users, according to a recent announcement.

IT pros now can get dashboard views in the Office 365 Admin Center indicating how end users are using the Microsoft Teams collaboration service. There's a "user activity report" that provides a graphic display showing how people connect (such as via chat, calls, meetings or "channel messages"). The second report, the "app usage report," shows the use of Office 365 applications by end users. It's also possible to see mobile or desktop operating systems use.

The Teams reports apparently do not show the activity of guest users. At least that's an open question posed by Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Tony Redmond in this Microsoft Tech Community post.

Microsoft had added the ability to invite external users into teams back in September, but it required end users to have Azure Active Directory accounts. According to a Twitter post by software engineer Rafael Rivera, the ability to use Microsoft accounts for guest access in Teams is expected to arrive "in a few months."

To view these reports, users need to be assigned to the right roles, such as "global admin" or "product specific admin." Microsoft also added a new role, called the "reports reader role." It's conceived for "business stakeholders" who may be involved in overseeing the adoption of Microsoft Teams within an organization.

PowerShell for Teams
Earlier this month, Microsoft had announced a new PowerShell module for Microsoft Teams, as described by Matt Soseman, a Microsoft 365 architect. The module can be used to "automatically provision new teams" or set permissions, or bulk provision members from a .CSV list. It also can be used to check for duplicate team names, he noted.

The new PowerShell module for Teams is available from Microsoft's PowerShell Gallery. It currently has 23 cmdlets.

Other IT Perks
Microsoft has expanded how many members can belong to a particular team. It "increased the maximum team size to 2,500 members per team," according to the announcement by Anne Michels, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft currently lists that 2,500 number in its "Known Issues for Microsoft Teams" document. Presumably, Microsoft wants to expand this team membership limit. The limit, though, is currently described as having "no workaround."

Microsoft also added Azure AD conditional access support for Teams on macOS clients. It lets IT pros using a mobile device management service like Microsoft Intune restrict Teams access such that only compliant macOS devices can participate. It can also compel multifactor authentication for user credentials verification purposes.

The macOS conditional capability was first added at the preview stage for Azure AD users back in August, but now it works for Microsoft Teams users, too. The conditional access policies for Azure AD and Teams get set through the Azure Portal.

Microsoft also now lets organizations using Teams in the United Kingdom store that data within Microsoft's UK datacenter regions, which might be a legal "data residency" requirement. This "local" data storage (in Cardiff and London) happens automatically for UK users of Microsoft Teams if they signed up on Nov. 1, 2017 or thereafter, according to an announcement.

User Features
Creators of teams now have three settings that control who can post within a team space. The settings include everyone, team owners only, or just team members (although everyone can see their posts).

Users also have a new control that lets them leave a group chat. Chats also can now be hidden from general view, although these hidden chats are still viewable from the overall chat history.

Microsoft also made it easier to spot when a new tab has been added to a team's user interface. A team will show a "New" marking next to the new tab, which will disappear when the tab gets clicked by the end user.

Various new tabs from software vendors are supported, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Sociabble and Site24x7, which monitors the uptime of sites, servers and apps. Access to developer tools can be added with tabs for GitHub, Jira Cloud and Bitbucket Cloud.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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