- Microsoft added external communication capabilities to its collaboration platform through a new feature called Microsoft Teams Connect, the company announced Tuesday at Microsoft Ignite. The feature is now live in private preview and will roll out broadly later this year.
- Shared channels will show up in users' Microsoft Teams interfaces, allowing them to "chat, meet, collaborate on apps, share, and co-author documents in real-time," said Jared Spataro, corporate VP for Microsoft 365, in a blog post.
- Microsoft Teams will now allow users to host and broadcast interactive webinars for up to 1,000 attendees, the company announced.
The customers that keep the enterprise software alive are rethinking their work under a hybrid model. While there are internal challenges to a hybrid work dynamic, such as syncing up colocated teams with home-based workers, the recent update to Microsoft Teams seeks to address the challenges of external collaboration.
"Teams continues to be the focal point of a tremendous amount of Microsoft investment as the firm seeks to capitalise on the shift to remote work," said Nick McQuire, chief of enterprise research at CCS Insight, in an email.
In June, Slack rolled its update in the external communication space through a feature called Slack Connect, a way to connect up to 20 companies in an external collaboration channel. Time, Airbnb and Box were among early adopters of the feature.
External collaboration capabilities are part of Microsoft's strategy to become "stickier around business processes than your average vanilla collaboration tool," said McQuire.
The vendor recently announced the launch of a new platform, Microsoft Viva, geared at centralizing the employee experience. The product connects key workplace components in a "single, integrated experience directly in Teams," said CEO Satya Nadella in an announcement.
"Microsoft is clearly building deeper integrations across its increasingly interlinked portfolio," said McQuire. "The approach has been particularly instrumental during the pandemic in improving customer value and its competitive advantage."