It's been a good week. I tend to measure things by whether I am playing offense or whether I am playing defense. This past week has been more offense. But it's good largely because after Teams Nation and NCE I am finally getting back to some sort of normality. That means I am beginning to have some bandwidth to do things such as the blog. In time, hopefully that'll mean other things such as the Tech Community too. So earlier this week I had a little flurry and explored a few different things such the ability to block folders and file sync in a team, disabling add shortcut to OneDrive, and utilising the keyword trigger in Power Automate to launch flows right out of a channel. To round off, I am going to take another look at Teams Policies, and configuring Messaging Extensions within App Setup Policies. Yes - the app policy doesn't just cover the app rail anymore. But my memory is, admittedly, a little hazy at this point. You've had the ability to install apps into Teams themselves via App Setup Policies for some time. Installing extensions? I can't honestly remember if this was always a part of it. Pinning extensions looks to have been added recently whilst I've been away. But it's no matter - I'll cover both. For the casual user of Teams what exactly are Messaging Extensions? Messaging Extensions allow users to interact with web services from the compose message area, the command box, or directly from a message. You should, for example, be familiar with the apps underneath the compose box in a channel or a private chat. Now, there is nothing revolutionary in this add. It's largely doing the same thing as has always been done with the app rail, except you now have the ability to do it for messaging extensions. The same pros and cons remain. Pros? Standardisation. Ease of Access. Not having to install if you choose to install. Cons. Too restrictive. Too rigid with changing work patterns and use of apps, the over-installation of apps into Teams which may never use them. But honestly it's all good fun. Maybe except if you have a few thousand Teams or few thousand users. But I don't
Hands up! There was a time when I was dead against automation. Early in my IT career I was a provisioner and back then all the setups and the migrations were done manually. Can you believe there was a time when we used to move mailboxes by Exmerge and via SFTP servers? That's right, 5 hops of live data. Or when we used to login manually into DNS servers to manually add DNS records to zones? A record by A record CNAME by CNAME. Yeah I remember it. But why was I dead against automating that? Because I am human. I thought that automation wasn't having faith in people. I thought it would ultimately lead to us all being done out of the job. So here I am. 14 years in. It never gets any less busier. It is, by all accounts, the myth of Sisyphus. But I get automation now. I got it when I went through a period a few years back where I was so busy that I practically couldn't cope anymore with the volume so needed to learn Power Automate to save minutes, minutes which turned into hours. Now? I use it extensively. I've blogged previously on some of the ways that I use it in my job. How I use it with Lists, and Forms, and Approvals. I use it with Dynamics. So I was excited to see, having been away a while, that Power Automate released a trigger for Teams which uses keywords
You know, I have this good mate online. His name is Phil Worrell, and the thing about Phil is he is quite possibly the greatest ever community member who has yet to win a ring. He's like the Charles Barkley of the Microsoft Community. He should be an MVP. I think so. They should give it to him on merit because it would be the right thing to do. Because he's great technically but also I know for sure he's supported many MVP's over the years. He's supported me well before I was one over social. Now I first met Phil back at SharePoint Saturday London in 2019 before the pandemic when things were still in person. That was the one where I sat in Karoliina Kettukari's session and asked questions - and she didn't know who I was even though I knew one day she'd speak at my conference. I had a full on conversation with Daniel Laskewitz and Rick Van Rousselt and Dan had absolutely no clue who I was (Rick did he wanted to go drinking :D). And Chirag, my good friend Chirag! I didn't know him then, nor Edyta nor Marijn, nor Liz Sundet or Hans Brender. If only I went there now, right? But Phil? Phil literally shouted 'Hey Chris' across the hall and we had a catch up - presumably on Teams but it could have been very much along the lines of 'what the hell you doing back in the UK Phil, you live in Switzerland'. Phil is a community guy through and through. He's one of the good ones. He'll champion your cause and then some. He's like John Wynne. So this one is for Phil. I promised it for him today on Twitter in a moment of weakness 😀
I'm back. It's been two months. And maybe one day I'll tell you all about it. But today isn't that day and I have about two hours to write this from start to finish given I like to be in and out on a Sunday night. So today I am going to return to files: and two requests I had last week which were reminiscent of my time on the Microsoft Tech Community. These are the ability to block the creation of folders in a Teams Files Tab and the ability to block the option to sync - and to be fair these both legit asks from one admin to another. First, the org admin asked to block folder creation as they only wanted to have one layer of files and didn't want the folder structure becoming too complex, with too many click throughs for their users. Secondly, they asked to block offline sync as they didn't want users to sync the files to their local machines. So, all in all, very reasonable. Of course, like many things I have written about previously on this blog this isn't a socratic exposition of why, or because we can doesn't mean we should. Here I am simply concerned with can we do it? and if so then then the ethics are for you to decide. So as I return to blogging, this isn't going to be the biggest blog you've ever seen, but I kinda need something to get going again after having a long break. Ok?
To all our friends, Over the past three years, we have come together to share our passion about Microsoft Teams. From a small event of just over 20 speakers and 400 attendees, we grew to become the largest online community conference dedicated to Microsoft Teams in the world