Microsoft Previews Multitenant Collaborations on Teams Windows Clients

The new configuration option syncs users in separate Microsoft 365 tenancies.

Microsoft on Monday announced a preview of a new administrative setting that synchronizes multitenant access for users of the Microsoft Teams Windows desktop application.

Organizations may have separate Microsoft 365 subscriptions, which makes them separate "tenants" on Microsoft's shared datacenter infrastructure. Microsoft already has some ways for Teams users on separate tenancies to collaborate, such as "Teams Connect shared channels," although it works by inviting users to join a shared Teams channel. Microsoft also has its Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration capability, which likewise has a process for inviting external users to access shared resources.

The multitenant configuration preview for Microsoft 365 tenancies is apparently designed for cases where organizations directly trust each other, or perhaps are newly merged companies. It syncs the tenancies so that people can easily collaborate using Teams on Windows, without the back-and-forth of inviting specific users.

The multitenant configuration preview does have an invitation process of sorts, though, but it's for whole tenancies, Microsoft explained, in this document:

The tenant that creates the multi-tenant organization is known as the owner while other tenants that join the multi-tenant organization are known as members. Once the global administrator in the owner tenant creates the multi-tenant organization, they can invite member tenants. A global administrator in each member tenant can then join the multi-tenant organization.

Organizations that have synced their Microsoft 365 tenancies in this way get a number of ease-of-use perks:

  • Peoples searches come up with one result, rather than multiple results.
  • Users get the ability to just join Teams meetings or collaborate in a channel that was originally hosted using a different tenancy.
  • Users get "full fidelity" online Teams meetings, such as having the ability to use the whiteboarding feature.

The multitenant configuration preview currently just works for users of the Windows client Teams app. However, Microsoft is planning to extend it to the Teams app on "iOS, Android and MacOS in the future," as well as to the Teams Web app at some point.

Possibly, organizations will need licensing for Azure Active Directory B2B. The licensing requirements weren't described, but Microsoft's document flatly stated that "multi-tenant organizations synchronize users between tenants using Azure AD B2B collaboration users."

The multitenant configuration feature for Microsoft 365 tenancies sounds simple, but it depends on the circumstances. The document offered this best-practices conundrum, for instance:

We recommend that you only have a single configuration to synchronize users to a given tenant. If you want to synchronize the same users to every tenant, configure synchronization in the Microsoft 365 admin center. If you want to synchronize different users to different tenants, configure synchronization in Azure AD.

The current multitenant configuration preview has some limitations that might be deal breakers for some organizations trying to sync their Teams users on Windows clients.

For instance, the multitenant configuration feature only supports syncing "a maximum of five tenants." Moreover, it supports a "maximum of 100,000 users per tenant." Organizations can contact Microsoft if those boundaries are deemed too limiting, the document suggested.

Also not supported are Microsoft Teams Rooms and "VDI/AVD." Links to people might not work if a tenant had previously had a guest account and accessed SharePoint resources. Microsoft is also working on enabling support for Power BI guests.

About the Author

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


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