Raise your hand if you’re sick of hearing about AI? ✋
Raise your other hand if you’re looking for ways to automate Microsoft Teams that don’t involve ChatGPT or an expensive third-party tool that comes with all sorts of security risks. ✋
Okay, enough of the fun and games. Let’s get down to what we came for.
Does Microsoft Teams have automation?
Microsoft Teams has plenty of automation for you to get stuck into. From Power Automate to third-party integrations, and even ways to provision users more efficiently.
Sure, through various AI tools, and yes using ChatGPT, you will be able to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things. But, in this blog post, we’re going to focus on the tools available right now that come with less risk, more predictability, and more traceable outcomes.
Let’s start with Power Automate.
1 – Create automations and workflows with Power Automate
Power Automate is online software that allows you to create workflows between different apps in the Microsoft ecosystem.
What is the difference between Microsoft Flow and Power Automate?
Power Automate is the new name for Microsoft Flow. It’s the same product under the hood, just with a new name. When Microsoft changed the name from Flow to Power Automate, it took the opportunity to introduce new features like Robotic Process Automation and AI Builder. Lots of users think the new name is more fitting as Microsoft literally gives you the power to automate.
Included in Power Automate are hundreds of pre-built connectors, templates, and drag-and-drop tools.
These are categorized by use case:
- Data Collections
- Social Media
For example, you can use automatically send an email to someone who fills in something you built on Microsoft Forms. It might be a thank you message or an email containing sales material related to the subject of the form.
Specific to Microsoft Teams, you can use the same logic (but a different template) to schedule a reply to a message. If someone messaged you overnight, because they work in a different time zone, don’t risk of waking them up now just because you are awake. Instead, use the Power Automate template to schedule delay the sending of a message when colleagues have their time zones set to one other than yours.
Where most people find the biggest benefit of Power Automate, however, is the ability to create your own flows.
In the Power Automate interface, choose Create on the right-hand side then select to either Start from blank or Start from a template.
Starting from blank takes some getting used to if you’re not familiar with the inner workings of Microsoft apps. But it does give you almost unlimited access to what you can create.
You can create flows based on triggers set by a pre-configured event, triggers to set manually, or triggers that are time-based.
Starting from a template allows you to take an existing flow and tweak it for your specific use case.
For example, when the status of a task in Microsoft Planner changes, you could use the existing template for Post to a channel every time a task from a specific board changes status. This will update all channels selected in the template.
If you want to create a similar automation that takes the information from another app, is triggered by an event, and post to a channel in Teams, all you need to do is change the originating app and any associated logic.
Power Automate is great for in-app workflows and automation once everything is set up and running in Microsoft Teams.
Our next Microsoft Teams automation focuses on getting people set up for the first time.
2 – Automate Microsoft Teams user provisioning
When a new user starts your business, how long does it take to get them fully up to speed?
What if you could receive a new ticket, select the department and/or location they work in, and hit apply?
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But with this simple Microsoft Teams automation from Callroute, you can say goodbye to lengthy tickets and all those changes you need to make when a user discovers they need something they didn’t request.
All you need to do is create your user personas, e.g., Accounts, Sales, Marketing, HR, etc, with their associated policy needs. These might be the basics like Calling, Channels, and Meetings. But it might also be more specific policies like Compliance Recording or Enhanced Encryption.
When you have those policies created, all you need to do the next time you get a new user request is assign the user persona.
So, when Sally joins the Sales team, she automatically gets assigned the Sales persona, granting her access to everything you already know she needs.
Callroute user personas will literally save you hours of work a day. And the associated (and often hidden) costs too.
You may also like: You Could Save $500,000 Using This Microsoft Teams Provisioning Tool
3 – Automate Microsoft Teams number management
So, you’ve created a new user and are confident they have access to all the policies they could need.
Next, they need a phone number.
When you need to provision phone numbers on Microsoft Teams, it’s no secret that the process is *less than great*.
It’s not Microsoft’s fault and it’s not your fault. It’s simply the nature of the beast.
Until now (spoiler alert), there has been no way to genuinely automate Microsoft Teams number provisioning.
You could use manual processes like the Teams Admin Center or an Excel spreadsheet.
(See this blog post for that.)
Now, you can use Callroute’s number management solution to add your Direct Routing numbers and synchronize your Calling Plan and Operator Connect number ranges directly from your Teams tenant.
No matter what connectivity types you have, you can use our number management solution to provision and track your user numbers.
If you use Microsoft Calling Plan and/or Operator Connect for your Teams phone system, you can easily add these ranges to Callroute by pressing the Sync Numbers button.
Synchronization takes only a few seconds, and we automatically group your numbers into ranges using their metadata received from Teams.
This means all your numbers, whether they are contiguous or sporadic, are merged automatically together in a single range if they are from the same area code, city, and provider.
Numbers that are already assigned to users and resource accounts are updated with their assignments so that you can easily see what number is assigned to a particular user.
If you use Direct Routing for your phone system connection, you can add your ranges directly into the Callroute number management feature. When user synchronization is performed, numbers are updated with their assignment.
Going further into number management, you can assign tags to numbers across ranges to make them searchable and assignable in different circumstances.
Of course, you are also able to assign phone numbers to your users directly in the Callroute portal.
With Callroute number management, you have all of the benefits of number management provided by the Teams Admin Center and none of the downsides.
|Not suitable for
|Businesses with 200+ users
|Businesses with less than 200 users
|Businesses that need more automation without scripts or code
|Businesses that want to make life harder for themselves
|Businesses with more than one phone connection type (DR, Calling Plans, Operator Connect)
|Businesses that use more than Microsoft Teams as their phone system
|Businesses that need to categorize numbers
|Businesses with 1000s of different numbers with different providers
4 – Automating Microsoft Teams moves, adds, and changes
Fast forward six months and Sally (from Sales) is moving to the marketing department.
In a normal scenario, you’d spend time stripping the policies she doesn’t need and revoking her access to things she’s not allowed anymore.
Not too much of a problem. Until you realize that you manually configure 500 moves, adds, and changes per month. And, actually, this would be so much easier if you could automate it.
Assuming you’ve used Callroute to set up your original user persona templates, all you now need to do it change Sally’s persona from Sales to Marketing and she will get everything the Marketing persona has been pre-approved to have.
If you do this once in AzureAD, you don’t even need to log in to Callroute. Everything will sync automatically.
If you’re making a bulk change to what users can access, or if a group of users are changing roles, you can use the bulk persona migration tool, too.
Here, you simply choose the originating user persona and select what they need to become.
5 – Automate approvals instead of waiting for manual decisions
Instead of relying on colleagues to proactively check for things they need to approve, use the Approvals without leaving the Microsoft Teams app.
Located inside channels or chats, you can create, approve, or reject a request with the click of a button. It’s common for frequent “approvers” to add the Approvals app to their Teams interface. It’s not quite an automation, but it’s a nice shortcut.
To make this process genuinely automated, you can use Microsoft Intelligence to route approvals through apps like ServiceNow and Azure DevOps. Using logic from these platforms, or by cross-referencing data sets, you can set relevant approvals to happen automatically.
If there’s a need for a human to check another source before approving, let the data speak for itself, and free up a human.
Ready to start automating Microsoft Teams?
There are so many other things we can be doing to automate Microsoft Teams. But…let’s not run before we can walk.
First things first, let’s streamline the beginning of our Teams journey.
By creating personas for specific departments, job types, and access needs, admins can simply bulk assign a package for new starters. Each persona contains relevant policy assignments relating to calling, channels, and messaging.
Phone numbers can be assigned automatically based on user location or any other programmable criteria. Using Callroute’s conditions and trigger logic, any amount of criteria can be set to determine what policies and numbers get assigned automatically.
Callroute’s new auto-provisioning tool helps customers with:
- Saving around 71% of user management costs
- Reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks
- Removing manual data entry errors
Callroute is the Microsoft Teams provisioning company.
We automate your entire user provisioning process on Microsoft Teams. Businesses with 2,000 to 200,000+ users streamline new user setups and save time on moves, adds, and changes with our automated provisioning tool.
Ready to start? Check out callroute.com to get early access.