Since its inception, Microsoft Teams has become a core part of the modern Microsoft 365 ecosystem. While it has been steadily gaining users naturally, the daily Teams user count has grown exponentially this year with many organizations being forced to adopt a work from home model. This has meant that a lot of IT departments have had to embrace cloud technology, usually at a quicker pace than initially planned.
At the center of this cloud adoption, is Microsoft Teams. What seems like the ultimate ‘Work from home’ tool, brings together the somewhat disparate Microsoft 365 apps and use cases into a single user interface. The heart of this is of course, the ‘Team’. In a Team, we can attach many apps and tabs to our various channels to help our users locate the functionality that they most need, when they need it. Teams for particular parts of the business can surface the relevant apps for that particular group of users and business function. For example a project Team would probably have a link to the project RAIID log associated with the project management channel.
That’s great, but do we need to set up these tabs, channels and apps every time we set up a new Team? Do we trust that our users will set their Teams up optimally? Also, if our users aren’t using Teams ‘right’, is that really their fault? Well, if Teams adoption suffers because users aren’t seeing the best Teams has to offer, that’s the problem of IT and Change Management.
To help provide users with some of the coolest features of Teams, without turning everyone into a ‘Super User’, Microsoft have recently released the Teams Template functionality. Teams Templates are excatly what they sound like, preconfigured Teams layouts, complete with apps and channels etc. that can be deployed from a list of Templates.
Creating a Teams Template
To create a Teams Template, we first open our Teams Admin Center, and navigate to the Teams – > Teams Templates section. From here we can see the massive amount of preconfigured Templates that Microsoft have made available to us out of the box. I recommend looking into the ‘Adopt Office 365’ template for deploying to your change champions.
The prebuilt templates are nice, but let’s create out own. Click ‘Add’ and we’ll select the option to create a new Template from scratch. We also have the option to modify and expand upon an existing Template, or even use an existing Team as a baseline for a Template.
We enter in some basic details and hit next to start building our Template.
Add in the Channels and Apps that the Teams should contain and when done, click ‘Submit’ to save the template. This template is now ready for deployment.
Deploying a Team from a Template
Now for the easy part. To deploy a Team from a Template as a user, simply create a Team as normal and select from the catalog of Templates available. Our custom Template is listed and when we add it, we see the newly created Teams gets created with all of our predefined settings. Don’t worry if the Channels and Apps aren’t there immediately, they can take some time to come through.
And that’s it, we’ve created and deployed a Template for Microsoft Teams, this functionality will no doubt help make Teams easier to use for our end users and really help showcase what it can do!