With the launch of Groups Join at this week’s Ignite convention, Microsoft Groups customers can now collaborate with exterior companions and shoppers in shared channels.
Obtainable in non-public preview forward of a full roll-out later this yr, Groups Join shared channels are accessible inside the primary Groups app view alongside common channels. Customers can proceed to entry Groups options reminiscent of textual content chat, video and voice inside shared channels, in addition to share content material and co-author paperwork with exterior customers in real-time.
When launched, Shared channels will seem as an choice from the channel creation menu together with customary and personal channels. Exterior Groups customers can then be invited to affix the shared house, with Groups admins given “granular controls” over exterior consumer entry to knowledge and knowledge.
Requests for extra detailed remark by Microsoft on the admin controls — and whether or not a number of organizations can entry a shared channel — weren’t instantly returned.
Shared channels is a long-awaited function in Groups, stated Wayne Kurtzman, a analysis director at IDC, and can assist it compete with Slack and Google Chat within the workforce collaboration software program market.
“The power to simply collaborate between corporations utilizing Shared Channels was one thing that Microsoft Groups was sorely lacking,” stated Kurtzman. “Groups Join helps clear up that downside by extending Groups membership to accomplice corporations.”
The announcement follows the same transfer final yr by Groups’ rival Slack. Slack Join permits as much as 20 organizations to collaborate in a single shared channel, an extension of the present shared channel functionality launched by the seller in 2017.
“Groups Join, like Slack Join, meets a rising market want for cross-company collaboration, in context, integrating messaging, conferences, apps, and knowledge,” stated Irwin Lazar president and principal analyst at Metrigy, in a weblog put up.
Lazar additionally identified that, as with Slack Join, Groups Join solely helps “like-to-like federation” between Groups customers.
“These wishing to federate their Microsoft Groups cases with different workforce collaboration apps, reminiscent of Cisco Webex and Slack produce other choices,” he wrote. “They will use third-party federation providers, together with Mio and Sameroom. Or they’ll think about permitting visitor entry to workforce areas along side deploying safety options from Safeguard Cyber, Theta Lake, or Unify Sq. to attenuate visitor account danger.”