Connect all your carriers & calling platforms to Teams with
How To Simplify Microsoft Teams Management Without Reinventing The Wheel

How To Simplify Microsoft Teams Management Without Reinventing The Wheel 

When we talk about simplifying processes, what usually follows is an extended period of changes, new procedures, and pushback from every department. 

But, when talking about simplifying Microsoft Teams management, it doesn’t have to be that way. 

How so? 

If you’re a Teams user, it’s normally the case that people have already discovered productivity hacks and ways to simplify the management of your Teams chats and files. In this post, we share many. 

For the administrators of Teams, it’s another question entirely. One that, until now, hasn’t had much of an answer. In this post, we introduce you to Orto, our provisioning and management automation tool created by people like you, for people like you. 

What is the best way to organize Microsoft Teams? 

We can split “organizing” Microsoft Teams into two categories: admins and users. They have very different requirements as they use Teams in different ways. Let’s start with admins these changes often have the biggest impact.

The best way to organize Microsoft Teams [for admins] 

When it comes to management of Microsoft Teams users, policies, moves, adds, and changes, it’s a completely different ball game. 

Here, we’re spending time in the Teams Admin Center (TAC) and fighting fires through support tickets. 

The best way to organize Microsoft Teams as an admin is to have a single pane of glass for Teams management

Instead of switching between the TAC, every provider you use for calling, and back-end Entra updates, use the Orto portal and say goodbye to adding piecemeal licenses and policies to try and appease the incoming flood of support tickets.  

Need to make a change to a call queue? You can do that here. 

Need to add assign a new number to a voice user? You can do that too. 

Need to create an entire new user and want to save that user as the template for everyone else that joins in this department? Now we’re talking. 

Using user personas and automation will simplify Microsoft Teams management and help you better organize Microsoft Teams

You could argue it’s what the TAC set out to do. Only, it’s never that simple, is it? 

Unless you’ve got Microsoft Teams Premium, and are happy to pay the $10 per user per month, on top of an existing Teams license, you can’t access everything you need.  

Even then, there are some things you can’t do, and you end up trawling through PowerShell scripts, exposing yourself to the chance of manual error. 

The direct result of this? 

Switching between tabs and windows, potentially day-losing human errors, and a total lack of organization. 

A genuine, single pane of glass is the holy grail of Microsoft Teams management. And it’s available today. 

Need to better organize your Teams management tasks? 

👉 Optimize your entire Microsoft Teams provisioning process 

The best way to organize Microsoft Teams [for users] 

Taking a minimalistic approach to Teams is the key to productivity. If a tidy desk = a tidy mind, we must apply the same logic to our virtual desks. After all, Teams is the modern equivalent of where we store our files, have our meetings, and send our letters. 

It’s not quite the same as the office of the 80s with in-trays and people hovering around your cubicle but you can see the parallels. 

Managing chats and channels 

Start by keeping your chats and channels under control. You can do this by leaving teams you’re no longer participating in. Keeping your screen real estate to only your active channels is the best way to organize Microsoft Teams and stop the potential for clutter. 

Just because there is room for 10 teams and scrollable space for even more doesn’t mean you need to fill it. If you’ve only got three teams in view, that’s okay. You don’t need to be in every channel just to be seen. Instead, focus on providing value in the ones you’re in. If you’re no longer adding anything or you have notifications piling up but no interest in checking them, it’s just added noise. 

How to better organize chats and channels in Microsoft Teams

Inside Chats, you have the option to Pin your important chats at the top of your Chat panel. Just right-click the chat(s) you wish to have at the top and select Pin. 

How to better organize chats and channels in Microsoft Teams

This immediately makes it easier to find conversations that are most important at that moment in time or are the people you chat with most frequently.  

The alternative, searching for a new chat every time, may seem trivial. But time is of the essence and every added second adds up across the year.  

Another easy win for organizing your Teams chat is to hide the chats created off the back of meetings. If there are no documents or chats you need access to inside, choose to hide them from your Chat panel. Just right-click the chat in question and select Hide. 

Hide chats derived from meetings for better organization in Microsoft Teams

Managing notifications 

A large part of your day might be spent reacting to inbound notifications. Even if you don’t check and respond to them straight away, the looming notification banner(s) can be a big distraction. 

Just like an email waiting in your inbox or someone standing by the side of your desk, it means someone wants your attention. Only, if you haven’t left irrelevant teams then it might not be anything you need to deal with. It’s acting purely as a distraction rather than a genuine bringer of information. 

Assuming you’re only in the channels you need, this notification is still going to be there. And, if you haven’t set up a notification schedule or customized your settings, you may have an email with the same notification too. 

The wonderful thing about Teams is that it’s asynchronous chat. It’s not a real-time chat app like Skype used to be. Your chat history won’t disappear if the other person goes offline.  

So, when you’re focused on deep work and don’t want to get distracted, why not turn off your banner notifications and only get the red notification in your feed? 

Organize Microsoft Teams better by customizing the notifications you get

In fact, you may find that this is a better way of working altogether. Personally, I haven’t had banner notifications on since the beginning of Teams. I wouldn’t dream of working another way.  

Yes, there could be some circumstances where you do need them on. If you’re tasked with emergency maintenance or need to be on-call at all times, this is a bad idea. But for general information workers, removing the attention-hogging notifications is a massive help. 

While you’re in the notification settings, play around with the various options to find your optimal way to organize Microsoft Teams. 

Simplify Microsoft Teams management by customizing the notifications you get

How do I make my Microsoft Teams more efficient? 

Overall organization of your chats, channels, notifications, and management tasks is going to be a key enabler of productivity and efficiency. 

But there are some quick wins to see immediate improvements too. Split into admin and user sections below, let’s now uncover some ways you can make Microsoft Teams more efficient. 

How admins can make Microsoft Teams more efficient 

The easiest way to make Microsoft Teams more efficient as an admin is to automate the routine tasks that are cumbersome and time-sapping. They’re the ones we do on autopilot. But that means they’re also the tasks most likely to succumb to manual errors

What if you could use an automated tool for all your provisioning needs? 

Orto helps you saves time and reduce errors when provisioning Teams users. You can automate the assignment of numbers, policies, licenses, queues, and teams. 

If you’re a business with 1,000 to 100,000+ Teams users, it’s extremely likely you can make your processes more efficient by introducing Orto. 

From streamlining new user setup to saving time on moves, adds, and changes, you get a single place to manage your users and numbers. That means no more spreadsheets and no more relying on scripts created years ago. 

You can license users for Teams Phone and assign users to call queues without complex config.  

By creating Teams policy personas, Orto recognizes the job role and assigns everything they need without you needing to do anything other than add them to Entra (Azure AD). 

Want to try Orto for free? 

 Sign up for your free trial here 

How users can make Microsoft Teams more efficient 

It’s not you. It’s Teams. 

No, really. We mean it. There are a few clunky things about Teams that we put up with every day that are slowing down the way we work. 

The good news is that there are small workarounds that can alleviate these pains and make us more efficient. 

Use the browser version if you switch between tenants 

If you’re an external or guest user on a Teams tenant outside your organization, you likely spend a few minutes per day switching from one to the other.  

If you’re an external consultant, a developer, or a Teams admin, your number of tenants may have reached double figures. 

Did you know it takes 13 seconds to switch from one Teams tenant to the other? And that’s only if you’ve got sufficient bandwidth and a well-powered computer. How many times have you been caught twiddling your thumbs waiting for your destination tenant to fully load? 

Waiting to switch between Microsoft Teams tenants is not efficient

Those 13 seconds may seem insignificant. But if you switch 50 times (and back) per day, that’s over 100 minutes per week lost. That’s nearly two working weeks per year waiting for Teams to load. 

An easy fix for this, if you can work this way, is to use the browser version of Teams. There are two reasons for this: 

  • It loads faster than the desktop app 
  • You can have multiple tenants open in different browser windows 

We don’t recommend opening all of them in one go. That sounds like hell. But opening the tenants you need the most, and navigating between them, is a lot more efficient than waiting for a tenant to load each time. 

Did someone say shared channels? 

Yes, Teams shared channels have been available for a while now. But, as Kevin Kieller, points out in his blog post, the lack of adoption is down to a few things: 

  • Technical complications 
  • Governance concerns 
  • Feature and access limitations 
Limitations of shared channels in Microsoft Teams

Shared channels should allow you to collaborate with people in other organizations without logging out of your main tenant and into theirs. The reality, unfortunately, is they’re not quite delivering user expectations (yet). 

Embrace apps inside Teams 

Sticking with the theme of switching between tabs and apps, one of the biggest time sucks in our day is app switching. One study coined the term toggle tax and found that executing a single supply-chain transaction included 350 switches between 22 different apps.  

We know that switching between apps saps productivity. And so does Microsoft. That’s why you can integrate almost any supported third-party app with Teams. 

What’s more, we’re not just integrating, we’re placing that app inside our Teams interface. That means there’s no need to switch between apps. It’s already here. 

Take Freehand, for example. Check out how you can use all the functionality inside Teams in the screenshot below. 

Example of an integration inside Teams to help simplify Microsoft Teams management

There’s no need to fire up another tab, windows, or browser. Just add it to the team you’re going to use it in. You’ll save loads of time.  

There are over 600 known integrations for Microsoft Teams. Just head to your Teams App Store to add them. 

Conclusion: simplify Microsoft Teams management with organization and efficiencies 

Whether you’re a user or admin of Teams, there are many easy wins when it comes to simplifying management.  

The way others use Teams might not be the optimum way for you to use Teams. Redirecting from the “norm” and finding your own habits often leads to productivity spikes and new, healthier habits. 

The same applies to admins but with a major difference. 

When you tweak your Teams management process, you impact the wider business: 

  • Users get onboarded faster 
  • Moves, adds, and changes happen without error 
  • Bulk changes take a few clicks instead of a few hours 

Ultimately the time saved making changes, creating users, and adjusting policies is fed into other factors of IT support.  

Rather than losing time to tasks that make a minimal impact on your bottom line and your user experience, you can automate these tasks and use that time for more valuable activities like major projects, quality troubleshooting, or even some time off. 

Looking for more ways to simplify Microsoft Teams management? 

👉 Read Next: 10 Microsoft Teams Management Best Practices 👈 

Some Other Articles You Might Like

Intermittent Microsoft Teams calling issues reported globally. This issue appears to be affecting all Microsoft customers worldwide. Microsoft are currently investigating the issue. All Callroute systems are fully operational. More information will be provided as soon as possible.