Are You Following Teams Tuesdays?

Microsoft Teams has proven to be one of the biggest product releases of FY18 for Microsoft, with over 200,000 customers rolling it out within just a year!

If your organization hasn’t yet rolled out Teams, or if you are in the middle of planning your deployment, be sure to check out the Microsoft Teams webinar series, being delivered by the One Commercial Partner Modern Workplace team of architects.

This is what’s on the agenda for the Teams Tuesday webinars for the next few months!


August 21, 2018

Using Automation to Provision Teams, Groups and Modern Communication Sites

In this webinar, we’ll provide you with guidance on how you can leverage automation to standardize, secure and simplify your Microsoft Teams rollout.


August 28, 2018

Understanding the Microsoft Teams Free Version

The new free version of Microsoft Teams raises a lot of questions for partners and customers alike. In this session, we’ll walk you through the limitations and use case scenarios for the freemium version of Teams and help you articulate the value of the full version.


September 4, 2018

Quality Management for Microsoft Teams

How do you prepare you network for the increased audio and video traffic that comes along with a Microsoft Teams deployment? And then once you have it deployed, how do you validate the quality on an ongoing basis? Join Andy McLaughlin in this session to learn the tricks of the trade!


September 18, 2018

Upgrade and Interop with SfB

There is a lot of confusion around the upgrade and interop story with Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams? How will it work? What are the caveats? What will partners need to do to transition customers? JoAnn Boxrud will help clear up the cobwebs in this webinar.


October 2, 2018

Managing Microsoft Teams Effectively

One of the great things about Microsoft Teams is that, once it takes hold in an environment, it spreads virally. As a partner, you may be asked to help manage this growth in a way that allows an organization to maintain control over data leakage, limit the use of guest access, standardize the way Teams are deployed, and so on. Robert Gates will provide tips form the pros in this webcast.


October 9, 2018

Planning for User adoption and Customer Success with Microsoft Teams

There’s much to consider when deploying Microsoft Teams. Join us for a discussion about what you can do today to help customer Teams deployments go smoothly. We provide the latest in guidance and outline the building blocks required to help make all of your Microsoft Teams customer deployments a success.


October 16, 2018

Deep Dive into Direct Routing

Direct Routing is one of the new capabilities in Teams to support Voice. What implementation options exist for Direct Routing? How do you configure Direct Routing? What are the requirements? Find out in this session.


October 23, 2018

Understanding Guest Access in Microsoft Teams

Guest Access in Microsoft Teams is one of the most important features in enabling collaboration between an organization and its partners, vendors and affiliates. What needs to be done to enable Guest Access? What are the limitations on what a guest can do? How do i audit guest access? These are some of the questions that will be covered in this webinar with Kevin Martins.


Look interesting? Then sign up here!

There are also lots of recorded webcasts that you can go back and review at your leisure.

Hope to see you on the next Teams Tuesday!



Moving Your Office 365 Groups to Microsoft Teams – Getting Past the Gotchas

By now, most of us know that Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365 Groups. Additionally, many customers had been using Office 365 Groups for some of their collaboration before Microsoft Teams was released. That means that there are a number of Office 365 Groups out there, that may need to be converted to Microsoft Teams. The general process for using an Office 365 Group as the foundation for a Microsoft Team is well documented, and it would seem to be fairly straightforward. However, as anyone who has actually done this knows, it isn’t quite that simple.

The purpose of this article is to help you move the data that may exist in your Office 365 Group – such as email, OneNote, Planner, etc…over to a newly created Microsoft Team.

We’ll start with a brand-new Office 365 Group, create some content and then convert everything over to a new Team.

Let’s get started…


Creating the Office 365 Group and Populating it with “Stuff”

Let’s start by creating a new Office 365 Group so we know exactly what happens.

Here, I am creating an Office 365 Group named O365-TeamsUpgrade. Notice that it has been created with the default Privacy setting of “Private”.













Next, I add some of my team members to the Group.













Now my Office 365 Group is ready to go, and I have all the usual things in my configuration.









I can send email to the group, because every Office 365 Group has an associated email address. As expected, the email and meeting invites show up in the Office 365 Group mailbox, which exists in Exchange Online.











I go to Files and create a Word document.













Next, I go into my Notebook and create some content in the Office 365 Groups OneNote







I can go into Planner next and create some content there….















Lastly, I click on the Site link and I see the SharePoint Site.








If I go to the Documents library I see the Word document that I created just a few minutes ago.

So, we all agree I have legitimate content in my Office 365 Group, right? Right.

Okay, now comes the fun part –converting it to Microsoft Teams.


Upgrading to a Microsoft Team

In my Microsoft Teams client, I click “Add team”.








Next, I click on Create team.













In the next dialog box, I can create a brand-new Team, or as shown below, I can create one from an existing Office 365 Group. That’s what I want to do, so I click on that link.














It now provides me with a list of the Office 365 Groups for which I am the Owner, and which are set to Private visibility.








I click the radio button and click Create team.


When upgrading an Office 365 Group to a Microsoft Team, there are several points that you must keep in mind:

You must be the Owner of the Office 365 Group

The Office 365 Group visibility must be set to Private. If it is not set to Private, you can set it to Private long enough to do the switch and then turn it back to Public once you’ve switched it over to a Microsoft Team.

There cannot be a Team that already exists with the name of the Office 365 Group you intend to convert. If it exists already, you’ll end up with two disconnected objects. For example, I created a brand-new Team with the same name as my Office 365 Group.










It lets me create the Team with that name, but it doesn’t bring over any of the content from the Office 365 Group with the same name.















Lastly, Teams doesn’t support these characters: ~#%&*{}+/:<>?|'”.. This, if any of your Office 365 Groups are named using those characters, you won’t be able to convert them to a Microsoft Team without renaming them.

Not cool, man…not cool

So far, everything is going just swimmingly, wouldn’t you say? Now I just open up my brand-spanking-new Microsoft Team and I see all the stuff from my old Office 365 Group, which has been converted over, just like magi……..wait….what happened? It only moved over the group membership? Where’s my super important Word document???? Where’s my Planner? Where’s the OneNote?










Let’s investigate…


If we go back to our Office 365 Group (it still exists), we see our Word document still sitting in the Files area. On the far-right side, click on “Browse Library”.







Microsoft Teams stores documents and files in a folder in the SharePoint Document Library which is named for the Channel.  By default, the only channel that exists in a new Microsoft Team is named “General”. Therefore, the SharePoint library shows me that my Word document is sitting outside of the General channel, as you see below.










If I select my Word document and click on the ellipsis, I can choose to move the document.










Let’s move it to the General folder. You can move all of your documents to the General folder, or if you have more channels in your Team, you can move them to any channel you like.













I now go to my Team and there’s my Word document in the General folder!












But wait, I also had some business-critical information in OneNote. Where did that go?

Well, unfortunately there aren’t any really great options for moving your OneNote from an Office 365 Group over to a OneNote in Teams.

Here’s one way to do it:

In your Teams client, go to the channel of your preference, and click on the “+” sign to add a tab to that channel. In this case, I’m adding a tab to the General channel.








You’ll be presented with a number of options. Select the one that says OneNote.












Create a new OneNote notebook, and name it whatever you like. For my example, I’ll name it O365-TeamsUpgrade01










If I go back now to my Office 365 Group, I see the newly created OneNote notebook, and it exists beneath the notebook that existed already.









Now I can copy the individual pages from one notebook to the other. I right-click on the page and select “Copy”.








I switch over to the new notebook, right-click and select “Paste”.








For my example, I deleted the “Untitled Page” and I’m left with only the page from my original OneNote.








And back in my Microsoft Teams client, everything looks good as well.










Mercifully, moving your Planner files over is relatively easy.

First you go into the new Microsoft Team and select the “+” sign to add another tab to the appropriate channel. Click on the Planner icon.








In the next dialog window, select “Use an existing plan”, and from the drop-down menu, select the name of the appropriate Office 365 Group.















And just like that, all your Planner information is switched over to Microsoft Teams.













The last thing that needs to be converted over is email.

Again, there unfortunately isn’t a great story there yet. Here’s one idea that you can use.

As we have seen, each Team channel has its own email address. You can get that email address by going to the channel (such as General), clicking the ellipsis and selecting “Get email address”.








Copy the SMTP address, which is the section that’s highlighted below – (Yours will be different).









Now, go back to your Office 365 Group, select the email you want to move and click on “Forward”. In the new email window, copy the email address for the Teams channel into the “To” field in the email and click “Send”.









Go back to your Teams – General channel and you’ll see the email that has been forwarded from the Office 365 Group email inbox.









This is definitely not the easiest process in the world, and it tends to be error-prone if you have lots of email, but it will get the email conversations moved over.

Now, there may still be some people who will accidentally use the Office 365 Group email address. How do you account for that? One way is to add the new Microsoft Team as a member of the Office 365 Group.

Go in to the membership of the Office365 Group and click “Add members”.











In the dialog window, select the email address of the Microsoft Teams channel where you want the new emails to be delivered.
















In my case, I select the email address beginning with “62057b2….” and click “Save”.

Next, go into the Group settings and select “Manage group email”.













In the dialog box, select “Follow in inbox” and click “Save”.












Now, when an email is sent to the address of the Office 365 Group, it is also sent to the email address of the Microsoft Teams channel that I have designated, as you can see below.












Well, that was easy, wasn’t it?

Obviously, I’m being a little sarcastic…this isn’t the easiest process, and there are certainly ways that much of it can be scripted, but for a quick and dirty way to move a few Office 365 Groups over to Microsoft Teams, it should be sufficient for your needs.







“NOW it makes sense!” – Microsoft’s Collaboration Story in a Single Slide

By David Branscome

Partner Technical Architect


Who knew PowerPoint would make my day today?

One simple, elegant, PowerPoint slide.

And just like that, the picture of Microsoft’s collaboration strategy became clear and explainable.

This is the slide I’m talking about.

The slide was part of the presentation given by Microsoft’s Office 365 Marketing Chief, Ron Markezich at Ignite this week, and it answered visually what has often been a very challenging question to answer from partners and customers – namely, “What Microsoft collaboration tool should I use for scenario X?”

The reason for the question is obvious. There’s an abundance of tools available for communicating with people inside and outside your organization – Yammer, Teams, Skype for Business, Outlook, Office365 Groups, SharePoint – never mind all the other options like public folders, email distribution lists, OneDrive, and so on. The problem has never been “Is there a tool that will allow me to share this content with somebody?”. Rather, the problem has been “How do I explain to my end users or my customers which tool is best suited for a particular task?”

There is a very well written, detailed whitepaper named ““When To Use What” in Office 365” that you can download here. It does a great job of laying out the many options and the specific scenarios where a given tool would be the optimal solution. But here’s the problem: it’s more than 60 pages long.

Anybody in IT knows that you will never be able to get an end user to read a 60-page whitepaper – no matter how well written – and synthesize the information from it. It just won’t happen. To be honest, most of us would be lucky to get the end users to read the email pointing them to the whitepaper.

But Ron Markezich’s slide is digestible. It’s something you could show to an end user and they would “get it”. They would understand when to use a given tool and know how to use it.

Breaking Down the Slide

The principles are simple:

Microsoft Teams is best suited for scenarios where you are working with a group of people on a given project. These are the people in your “Inner Loop” (or “Circle of Trust” as I prefer to call them). Because Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365 Groups, this group of people will have access to the SharePoint site created by default for each Team. That’s where I can share documents and files with the Team. If you’re a member of that Team – you have access. Since an Office 365 Group is also mail-enabled, I can send email to the Team channel so that everyone has access to the information in the email. Teams also incorporates all the features you love from Skype for Business – Instant Messaging, Presence, Conferencing, calling capabilities, etc… Teams keeps the conversations in a persistent, threaded format, so we can always go back and review questions that came up or decisions that were made. And with the recently announced Guest Access capabilities for Teams, you can extend the reach of your Team outside your organization. In effect, Microsoft Teams is a portal into Office 365.

Yammer expands the scope of who has access to a given set of content and the conversations. The people in your Yammer group are the “Outer Loop”. Sure, you still like and trust the people in your Outer Loop, but it’s a different type of interaction. Information and conversations flow much more organically and is likely not going to be project -specific. At Microsoft, our Yammer groups are more likely to be centered around certain technologies (such as Skype for Business Voice) or areas of expertise (“Security” or “Education”) than to be focused on a project (“Contoso Azure Deployment”). This allows for people to jump into Yammer groups at any time and still benefit from the historical knowledge of the Yammer group. And just like with Teams, new Yammer groups are built on Office 365 Groups, so the Yammer group has access to OneNote, a Planner for managing tasks, a SharePoint team site and document library.

And then there’s Outlook. Good old, reliable, “I know how to use this”, Outlook. We all know that Outlook is often the easiest tool for sharing a file….one time. But things start to get sticky when you have to ask multiple people to edit the document or comment on it. Then we run into versioning issues, and you have to find the right copy of the file in your email thread…it’s just not the best tool for really collaborative work on a large team. Rather, Outlook is good for targeted communications – confirming an appointment with a customer, verifying information in a proposal, asking your boss for days off (which is personally my favorite email to write). Now the neat thing is that Outlook also allows you to connect to the mailboxes for Office 365 Groups. This allows you to view and reply to email messages that land in the mailbox of the Office365 Groups you are a member of directly from your Outlook client.

Back to Reality

Now let’s be honest for a moment, shall we?

Even with a single PowerPoint slide, some of your end users are going to get confused about when to use which tool. There will be questions that still come up:

  • How many users can be in a Team vs a Yammer group?
  • Can I restrict channels within a Team to only certain members of the Team?
  • What’s the right way to remove someone from a Team or a Yammer group?
  • How do I manage compliance concerns with Yammer or Teams?
  • How do I manage communications over SO MANY individual Teams and Yammer feeds?

…and the list goes on.

Those are all valid questions and they’ll require some end user training and guidance. But the basic framework of how to select the right tool for the job is still the same. My suggestion would be to take that one slide and use it when training your end users. It gives them something that is simple enough to understand in just a few moments and points them in the right direction. They will always have questions – and that’s why a great adoption planning and training program is so important or any rollout of new technology. But with the right planning and the right tools at your disposal, you’ll be successful.

Who would have thought one PowerPoint slide could help you do all that?

Guidance Available Now for Planning and Deploying Microsoft Teams!

David Branscome

September 25, 2017


For a couple months now, our partners and customers have been attempting to read the direction that Microsoft is taking with regard to Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. I think it’s safe to say there’s been some confusion and *ahem*…. “gaps” in the guidance.

For example, the partners I’ve been working with have asked questions like:

“Is Microsoft Teams a replacement for Skype for Business?”

“How do I integrate Microsoft Teams into my Skype for Business infrastructure?”

“Are there best practices for how to configure my Teams and Channels?”

“How will Teams integrate with my existing audio/video systems?”

“Is there a certification program for Teams devices like there was for Skype for Business headsets, phones, etc…?”

These are especially important questions for partners because they have to (1.) be able to talk about how this will work with their own customers and (2.) they have to be able to deliver on those engagements.

Well, as of today, the clouds of confusion are beginning to part on many of these questions.

Partners can now go to and get lots of great guidance to help them start planning and deploying Microsoft Teams in their customer environments. For example:

Now you might be saying, “That’s all well and good, David, but that’s just the technical considerations. I have people asking questions about the future of Skype, the licensing implications of moving to Teams from Skype for Business, and cloud video interop with Microsoft Teams. What am I supposed to tell them?”

Trust me, those questions have been on the minds of many partners and customers, and there is now some public guidance on these questions in the form of an FAQ, located here:

Clearly, there are still many more questions that partners and customers will have as we roll out more features and capabilities for Microsoft Teams, so we’ll keep answering those questions and creating articles to help guide you along on this journey.

For now, there’s lots to digest, and lots to use as you work with your customers in planning and deploying Microsoft Teams.