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Why We Aren’t Waiting for Microsoft Teams Shared Channels


Last updated 10/10/2022

When Microsoft announced at MS Ignite in November 2021 that Microsoft Teams Shared Channels would be made generally available in 2022, I realised it was a good time for us to shine the light on Atlas Extranet

In this fast-paced world, Atlas Extranet is a feature ClearPeople developed and launched in Q1 of 2021. It’s a bit like Cinderella, working reliably in the background, waiting for the grand ball. 

In this blog:

What is Microsoft Teams Shared Channels? And why is it relevant to Atlas Extranet?

Microsoft describes Microsoft Teams Shared Channels as helping organizations collaborate with customers, partners, suppliers and other external parties through shared channels. Similarly, Atlas Extranet enables communication and collaboration with external partners. So, what does this mean in practice?  

IT protocols typically won’t allow external parties to connect to company systems due to security considerations. If you’re working with external parties – partners, suppliers, joint ventures and customers – this leaves you with email as your primary means of communication. But as you well know, email is unsecure, limited in capacity and often just a really easy way to lose track of information. 

Atlas Extranet (like Microsoft Teams Shared Channels) provides a shared workspace where you can chat, meet, share files and collaborate with external users – securely. 


How MS Teams Shared Channels transforms cross-organisational collaboration

Being able to work in a secure and shared workspace is a game-changer.

Maximizes knowledge sharing

By enabling everyone, including external parties, to provide their input and contribute their expertise easily and securely, platforms like Atlas Extranet and Microsoft Teams Shared Channels make it possible for the business to fully leverage everyone’s ideas and knowledge. 

Ensures secure and compliant collaboration

The powerful security functionality of these platforms makes them one of the safest ways to share documents and data, ideal for handling sensitive information. 

Shared channels are built on the Microsoft 365 hyperscale, enterprise-grade cloud delivering advanced security and compliance capabilities. Shared Channels support a rich set of Information Protection tools for host admins to manage and govern channel data, including eDiscovery, legal hold, communication compliance, information barriers, audit logs, retention, and DLP.

The host tenant, where the shared channel is created, owns the channel’s data. When shared with another tenant, the host’s compliance policies will apply. Similarly, when shared with another team, the hosting team’s sensitivity label will apply.

Reduces silos

One of the biggest challenges to cross-organisation collaboration and hybrid working is the proliferation of silos. The use of platforms like Atlas Extranet and Microsoft Teams Shared Channels enables secure knowledge sharing in a user-friendly way that enhance collaboration. 

Read more about Siloes of One. 

Increases efficiency

Being able to collaborate securely reduces the time lag that’s all too common when working with multiple parties. Also, by centralizing data and with its powerful search functionality that spans all Microsoft 365 areas, Atlas greatly reduces the amount of time spent searching for documents.  

Saves time and money

Research by Forrester (‘The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams’) found that a shared workspace that enables employees to work with outside parties saves organisations over US$700,000 over three years. 

Easy to set up and able to replace legacy systems that can be costly to maintain and are often limited to a small group of users, Atlas saves money. Atlas Extranet’s permission and privacy controls also allow the business to minimise risk and costly mistakes.


Availability of Microsoft Teams Shared Channels

Teams Shared Channels is available now, included in Office 365/Microsoft 365 Business, Enterprise, and Education subscriptions.


How to set up Microsoft Teams Shared Channels

When creating a new channel, users will be able to select a new channel type, shared channel, to which they can invite both individuals or entire teams – an AAD identity is required – from as many organizations as they need, while allowing your organization to control how users access data and information. 

With shared channels, users can add individuals to a single channel rather than to an entire team. Each shared channel will appear within a user’s primary Microsoft Teams tenant alongside existing teams and channels, providing convenient access within their current flow of work.


How to set up Atlas Extranet

Atlas Extranet is a set of features that enables extranet scenarios in a secure and easy to use way. It ranges from having a custom landing page for your external users, to setting limitations on how certain workspaces are exposing your private taxonomy in a way that’s compliant with your information architecture standards. 

At ClearPeople we provide personalised guidance on a client-by-client basis in order that our clients can get the most of Atlas Extranet based on their specific business needs. 


How Atlas Extranet differs from Microsoft Teams Shared Channels

By now, you’re more than likely wondering what the difference between Microsoft Teams Shared Channels and Atlas Extranet is. 
Atlas Extranet provides overarching access for external users to your digital workspace, including all Microsoft 365 areas. Microsoft Teams Shared Channels' approach is to create a secure and easy-to-manage extranet through Shared Channels capabilities and new membership options. Microsoft Teams Shared Channels will roll out additional features, expanding the offering.


Can Microsoft Teams Shared Channels and Atlas Extranet work together?

Having Microsoft Teams Shared Channels and Atlas Extranet working together is exactly the scenario that allows you to get the most out of both applications. Atlas integrates with Microsoft Teams Shared Channels and leverages its capabilities as part of the Atlas experience. However, both apps can be used independently as neither have a strict requirement for or dependency on each other.

How Atlas Extranet enhances Microsoft 365:

Self-Service Setup

Atlas ConneX, our wizard-driven provisioning tool, enables simpler and faster setup. Atlas ConneX enables more people across the organisation to easily do what they need, backed by a powerful governance framework. 


Atlas My Connex is a visual dashboard that allows you to easily keep track of different levels of access for users inside and outside your company. My ConneX also improves the findability of content and the search experience of Microsoft Teams.  


Atlas collates information from Microsoft 365 that normally sits in separate silos, such as documents, external insights, Yammer conversations, Microsoft Teams chat and more. 

Collaboration Workspace

Whether across multiple divisions or smaller project teams, Atlas workspaces are highly versatile and cater for modern collaborative working practices. 

User experience

Create a great user experience with a well-designed landing page that displays personalised, relevant content for the organisation, your clients, partners or suppliers. The Atlas Extranet home page contains workspaces, knowledge areas, news, events and more as per your internal communications objectives. 

Industry-specific requirements

Atlas caters for industry-specific requirements whether it’s from law firms collaborating on case materials, to construction and engineering firms collaborating on joint ventures, to corporate development deal rooms.  


Microsoft Teams Shared Channels and Atlas Extranet pricing

Microsoft Teams Shared Channels is part of your Microsoft 365 subscription and at no extra charge. Atlas Extranet is available now to all clients as an add-on. Contact your ClearPeople account manager for a quote.


Microsoft Teams Shared Channels resources

Here are some resources and official documentation about Microsoft Teams Shared Channels:


Our clients have found being able to collaborate securely, seamlessly and in an engaging, user-friendly workspace with external parties to be a gamechanger. Time efficiencies and peace of mind for CIOs and IT teams is another win: people can set up secure shared workspaces without needing IT’s assistance. 

Do you think this capability would make a difference in your organisation? Perhaps you’re already making use of Atlas Extranet? Let us know! 

Author bio

Guillermo Bas

Guillermo Bas

I enjoy sharing my thoughts as a Product Manager in a Microsoft Teams world. Personally, I like to play in local table tennis leagues on the weekend.

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