Teams

On February 9, Microsoft published message center notification MC238782 to announce a new Teams Pro service plan. An eruption of commentary based on guesswork duly happened because Microsoft didn’t explain things very well. The upshot was a February 12 update to clarify what’s happening.

Addition to Existing Office 365 Plans

First, Teams Pro is an addition to existing service plans. No additional purchase is necessary, and the new offering will turn up starting in mid-March. Based on Microsoft’s own definition for service families and plans, Teams Pro doesn’t seem to be a service plan. Leaving Microsoft licensing terminology aside (a confusing subject), the fact is that Microsoft is adding Teams Pro to a bunch of Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plans or SKUs (including E3 and E5).

Finally, Teams Pro is not a rename for the Teams Advanced Communications add-on, needed to organize very large interactive meetings or have custom branding in meeting lobbies.

Control for Features

Second, it seems like Teams Pro is a licensed-controlled capability that can be assigned to accounts holding one of the targeted SKU. For example, just like an account with an Office 365 E3 license can have apps like Forms and Kaizala turned on or off, you’ll be able to turn Teams Pro on or off. In fact, Microsoft has done this before for Teams to license users to access the Common Data Service for Teams (Dataverse). Some users will need this capability, others will not.

Users whose accounts are enabled for Teams Pro will be able to use specific features due to appear in Teams. Some of these features, like being able to organize a meeting with a registration page (MC237807 – roadmap item 66586, published on 4 February and due in early March), are due soon. Microsoft will deliver more in the future. Some speculate that Meeting Insights (already available for OWA) will be included and show up in the Teams calendar app. That might be so, but I think meeting insights are much more likely to be a feature available to all Teams users.

Whatever features are enabled through Teams Pro, the point is that organizations will be able to differentiate what functionality is available to specific users through Teams. Most will have “Teams normal” (what’s available now). Others will be able to do more.

Just for Teams

Teams is forging a new frontier here. There’s no concept of Exchange Online Pro or SharePoint Online Pro licenses to users. For example, Exchange Pro users might be those who need to use features like plus addressing, while SharePoint Pro users might be allowed to change document views. There doesn’t appear to be a move for other apps to embrace the Teams approach. Maybe that’s because their functionality is more settled and stable than the shifting landscape of Teams.

Perhaps it is the case that the blizzard of new features being shipped by Microsoft for Teams is reason enough to allow organizations to control access to some of the more complicated features. And if that’s the case, then Teams Pro is a good idea.

About the Author

Tony Redmond

Tony Redmond has written thousands of articles about Microsoft technology since 1996. He is the lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook, the only book covering Office 365 that is updated monthly to keep pace with change in the cloud. Apart from contributing to Practical365.com, Tony also writes at Office365itpros.com to support the development of the eBook. He has been a Microsoft MVP since 2004.

Comments

  1. Chris Hill

    On this: ‘Teams is forging a new frontier here. There’s no concept of Exchange Online Pro or SharePoint Online Pro licenses to users.’

    This isn’t quite accurate, is it? After all, there’s Exchange Online Plan 1 (which is part of Business Basic / Business Standard / E1) and Exchange Online Plan 2 (E3/E5) which includes IRM, message encrption, in-place hold and litigation hold, along with larger mailbox sizes – and even Exchange Online Kiosk which allows an OWA, POP/IMAP only mailbox without Outlook access. Similarly in SharePoint Online there’s Plan 1 and Plan 2 with Plan 2 adding ‘unlimited’ storage, in-place holds and litigation holds. So it’s not really a new frontier.

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/servicedescriptions/exchange-online-service-description/exchange-online-service-description
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/servicedescriptions/exchange-online-service-description/exchange-online-limits
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/servicedescriptions/sharepoint-online-service-description/sharepoint-online-service-description

    1. Tony Redmond

      You can certainly hold the view that different service plans for individual services are the equivalent of “Pro” versions. However, that analogy only works at the lower end of the Microsoft 365 spectrum. At the level Microsoft is targeting here (Office 365 E3 and above – the enterprise), SKUs tend to have all the functionality from the higher level plans. That, along with the poor choice of features to bundle, was the point I was trying to make.

  2. Gerald B

    MS has completely blown it with this rollout because it failed to consider the practical matter that most people do not carry two phones. My employer implemented Teams over a year ago, and I associated my personal phone # with the account for 2FA and Teams Mobile.

    In the last few weeks, along comes a Teams invite for a meeting unrelated to work, so I took steps to set up a personal account linked to my personal O-365 account. Big mistake! Now Teams is confused because it recognizes my personal mobile # with my work account and wants me to add more software to my phone so that I can access my work Teams account. It’s still doing the 2FA part correctly, but I can’t access the mobile version of my work account.

    1. Dean

      I had a similar issue. I don’t know if you loaded Teams through company portal but I uninstalled it completely, re-installed everything and everything seems to be working normally again. This time around though, I setup a work profile and run Teams through there.

    2. Tony Redmond

      I’ve had a few problems with Teams personal too. So much so that I removed Teams personal from my profile. I now use Teams for work. Period. KISS is a good principle to observe (I wish the Teams devs did this from time to time).

    3. Sean From Chicago

      there is a way to be connected to multiple teams tenants at the same time. I am a member of my work, my own personal tenant and Microsoft’s as a guest and my personal as a guest of my works.. and I’m a guest in a friends own personal tenant. you use the drop down box in the app to select the tenant you want to interact with.

  3. SOSiDB

    Actually, I have to disagree, additional cost may be necessary. From Microsoft’s own wording (https://admin.microsoft.com/AdminPortal/Home#/MessageCenter/:/messages/MC238782):

    “the service plan will be added automatically to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 E5/E3/A5/A3, and Microsoft 365 Business Standard/Business Premium licenses”.

    No mention of E1/A1 users. It’s more like MS is promoting the upgrade of E1-level licenses to E3/E5 licenses ($$$). Otherwise, why not just roll out new features to all licensed users and allow control of those features via policies?

  4. Mike B

    @Josh G
    My understanding is that one user can only have one application policy. It can get messy to create policies for different combinations of apps that you want to give to some groups of users. Looks like this approach will allow to give Pro to some powerusers and also assign a policy if needed for other apps or exceptions. Can’t wait to test it out.

  5. Josh G

    Seems silly to me, why not just control these features by policy.

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