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In this Podcast, Guest Access Across Multiple Microsoft 365 Tenants: Overview, we discuss…

2:17Collaborate without Consolidating Tenants
7:33Security Surrounding Guest Access
11:35Productivity and Audiences Surrounding Guest Access

Learn More About Tenant Consolidations
Mergers and Acquisitions and Microsoft 365
Maintaining Continuity During a Tenant Consolidation
Change Management in a Microsoft 365 Tenant Consolidation
Microsoft 365 Tenant Consolidations


Danny Ryan:It’s Thursday, December 12th, and today I talk with Tommy Ryan about guest access for your Microsoft 365 tenant, and we come up with some sort of, frame what we’re hearing from clients and we come up with some questions for the experts at ThreeWill. I hope you enjoy.


Hi, and welcome to the Work Together Better podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan. This is ThreeWills’ official podcast about enterprise collaboration, how people process and technology combine to help organizations, departments, and teams work together better.


Hey Tommy, how’s it going?


Tommy Ryan:Going well.


Danny Ryan:Awesome.


Tommy Ryan:Ready for the Christmas season here.


Danny Ryan:I like it. Oh, that’s awesome. That brings a smile to my face.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah, this is a–


Danny Ryan:Today– What’s that?


Tommy Ryan:This is our polar plunge hats. So–


Danny Ryan:What’s polar plunge? What’s a polar–


Tommy Ryan:For Christmas, all the guys will put on the hats. We have a few of these hats, plunge hats. And we go out to the pool and jump into the pool in the freezing water.


Danny Ryan:Nice. I like it.


Tommy Ryan:We have to do that before we have breakfast. So it’s nice and invigorating on Christmas morning.


Danny Ryan:And you’re doing it in the nude, right, too?


Tommy Ryan:Yeah.


Danny Ryan:All right, let’s get serious here. So earlier this year we’ve been covering some podcasts on Microsoft 365 tenant consolidation. So just to give some background for folks, this is where you might have, for whatever reasons you might have like two different organizations, like maybe with a merger and acquisition where within a company, you’ve got two different tenants. And Microsoft 365 tenants is what we’re referring to here.


And in the series we were talking about what a lot of people are looking to do in an Microsoft 365 tenant consolidation. And then along those lines, sort of like what the change management is that goes along with doing these tenant consolidations. And so we’ve had a couple of podcasts earlier this year about that.


And today I wanted to you, Tommy, about some of the things that we’re hearing with regards to first steps. If you’ve got two different tenants, first steps with sort of working and I think in sort of a tactical way, sort of giving guest access from one tenant to the other. I know with this conversation as the years pass by, we’re both getting less and less technical.


So we’ll probably pull in a couple of other experts from ThreeWill to maybe get into this in a little bit more detail. But I’ll just kick it off with sort of like what are the things that you’re hearing from clients? What’s going on right now with regards to starting to move into the realm of sharing information from one tenant to another?


Tommy Ryan:Well, what we’re experiencing now with our clients is they’re on this journey to get to the cloud and they’re all, as independent companies, getting their internal infrastructure as it relates to collaboration and to Microsoft 365 and they’re feeling good about, okay, now we’re up in the cloud, we’re liking the collaboration features that we have, but we have several companies within one parent company that are on different tenants. And as we experience clients that are going through mergers and acquisitions, that the current pain that we’re seeing is we’d like to be in one tenant.


And they’re saying that because the features within Microsoft 365, there are some things that make you want to say, “Well, let’s just get into one tenant.” And that can be a daunting task. You have people at different levels of maturity within the platform so that change in that move in that direction of centralizing into one tenant can be, in most cases, a multi-year effort.


And so meanwhile, you still need to collaborate. You still need to get work done, you still need to share information, and you want to leverage as much as you can, your collaboration tools and not resort to emailing things back and forth. So we have seen guest access as a key part of that strategy. You know, initially people just using OneDrive and using that as a starting point to be able to get information that is centralized but shared across the organizations.


And then that progressing into things like maybe a communication site that is for the parent company that other companies within the organization that are on different tenants can actually get into and see that information and even collaborate around that information. And then the highest level of collaboration is inviting people into Teams. So you can share planner boards and conversations and files and get work done together as a team when the team spans multiple tenants. And that takes you pretty far.


You know, there’s definitely challenges after you get there. There’s licensing challenges. There are certain things that won’t work as a guest user. But when it comes to some of the core collaboration, we see files and conversations that is available to you as a guest user. So it’s a good step in that direction.


It’s something that we’re helping organizations figure out, how do we maximize that guest experience as we’re taking this journey to decide if we are going consolidate is another one of those challenges that’s kind of the reverse of a merger is when you spin off a company, now you’ve got to untangle that from your tenant and what information really resides within that particular business. That can be a challenge. So you might even find that some of the organizations that you acquire, depending on the long-term strategy, you might keep that in a separate tenant and have to maximize that experience of sharing information across tenants.


Danny Ryan:Right. So what I’d like to do from here, and this doesn’t have to be a long podcast, but I though, and maybe we as we look at this new year with you and I out there talking to a lot of our clients and finding out what’s going on out there. I’d just like to come up with maybe a list of things that we’ll follow up with that we can talk to.


I’m thinking for this, it might be good to talk to two people, talk to Pete from like a security and privacy standpoint and sort of have him take that angle and have a follow up conversation with him about that. And then maybe talk with Bo from a productivity standpoint and talk about how to work together better with regards to guest access and sort of some of the things that we’re seeing along those lines.


And part of this is like, as we have fewer and fewer answers to the questions, let’s just come up with the questions and pull in our mighty smart people to get some of the answers to that. And they also too, I think in this upcoming year we’re starting to put the podcast out onto YouTube and a couple of different formats. And if you’re watching this, whether you’re watching this on YouTube or if you’re watching this on our website, you can leave comments on the website.


But if you’ve got some, maybe you’re listening to this conversation as well and you’re looking at sort of what questions, you might have some questions about this guest access and if you could list them out there, we’d love to take that input and follow up with, again, we’ll talk with Pete from a sort of a security and privacy. I know he’s going to hate saying that he’s the expert in this, but he is. And then Bo from a productivity standpoint.


So as I look at this, I think my initial questions are, I could see talking to Pete, we’ve been doing a lot of these reviews, security and privacy reviews and how does this fit into what questions like how does guest access fit into that. And sort of like if there are best practices, what are they with that? And just sort of address this from a security standpoint.


What are you making yourself vulnerable as soon as you start to provide guest access? And I think we could probably look at it as well as from the standpoint of you’re giving guests access to a parent company or a child company within your organization versus you’re giving guest access to a partner versus a vendor. I think there’s some things that you really need to think through. Like when you start to do this, what do you need to think through? Any other things for Pete? What do you think for Pete?


Tommy Ryan:You know, some of the things that he’s doing even within our organization with data classification, thinking about is this a high business impact site. Are there ways that you can restrict external sharing maybe within that or are there ways to kind of whitelist domains that have the ability to have sharing turned on? Some of that stuff I don’t think is there, but I think people will be able to give us a view of what he’s hearing in terms of the roadmap that will help further address this kind of concern.


I think in the perfect world organizations would like to have a family of tenants where they say, “Here’s the parent tenant and then you can join.” Kind of like a hub and spoke that you see with hub sites and say, “All right, this is a subsidiary site.” And you could even see within organizations there’s organizations within organizations that you might want to have some level of separation.


I know even in Coca Cola there was, I believe, some separation of Dr Pepper in terms of the recipe, being able to create some level of silo around information within that organization. So even though people become part of a company and because they’re required, you still might have some business reasons to treat them a little bit different. So I think Pete will be able to give us a sense of what options do we have around walking down and protecting information in the right way.


And I think Bo, it’d be good to talk to him about Audiences because I think there’s some emerging things that we’re doing and Audiences come out as, as a feature and we’re doing some things as it relates to guest access and how that relates to Azure B2B. So he can enlighten us a bit on how that can help target information to your guests so when they come in they had the right information at their fingertips.


Danny Ryan:The other thing I think would be interesting is a compliance things to give a vendor access to this information. You know you have to have certain agreements put into place before you give them access. And I think for Pete also the types of information as well. What, I think you were talking to data classification. How do you make sure that you handle that in this, in today’s world, you’re not giving them too much access or not giving them access to customer data or anything, the personally identifiable information. You’re not giving them access to that type of information. So I think as you look at this, it’s sort of like, well I’m just giving guest access.


Well there’s a lot of things that you really should and need to think through. The other thing, I think you’re bringing this up as well is the, we have some clients, I can remember working with Jackson Healthcare and they have their multiple companies and some of the companies compete each other. And so there becomes a situation where it’s really important either for, for whatever reason that you have to be very cognizant of the information that’s being shared from one organization over to another.


And I also think ideally if this is something that Microsoft eventually addresses, but I don’t know if yet we might want to look, there might be reasons they don’t want to address it either from a licensing stamp. I always get like, okay, why wouldn’t they address this? Because it seems like it’s just like within your organization where you set up groups and you can take it up a level where you’re talking about companies and it should and may be addressed in the future, but for the time being, it may be this way for a long time.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. Yeah man. You know, of course they’ve got a feature list a mile long and they’re trying to look at how it fits in the roadmap of what the types of the impacts they want to make on an organization. So this is one that definitely there’s been voice of concern or need years ago there might be some technical concerns. They might not be furthering their mission of how they’re trying to impact collaboration.


Danny Ryan:I think the other thing talking with is, we can talk from a real sense how we’re using this with our current, with our clients. Sort of like this, how we’re using guest access. I know for the preparation for the Braves event that we had, I was working with Beth and Greg through a team site and also sort of thing might be good, but look at this from, again, from a productivity standpoint and using teams and setting up teams so that you’re giving people external access and what are we just interested to hear? I’m sure Bo will have some gotchas or things that we just find doing projects that when you go and do it for real, it gets you. So I think this is good for now.


I like this idea where maybe you and I frame up some things and pull in some folks from ThreeWill and have follow up conversations. And this also gives folks who are listening to this right now, gives you an opportunity to go out and maybe if you’ve got particular questions that sort of come up from this, drop us a comment on YouTube. Definitely like and subscribe. We’re giving up a lot of the content that we’ve done in the past up onto YouTube.


Just seeing the engagement there has been something that we’re focusing in on this upcoming year. So let’s do that and look forward to having these conversations. I’m looking at you and I want to say, I want to refer to you as like Hosier or something like that.


Tommy Ryan:This hat’s only for today.


Danny Ryan:It’s only for today? Okay. So you’re not going to have a different hat each time? We used to do socks, Tommy.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah.


Danny Ryan:We can do socks. We can continue. We can go back to socks because if we’re moving over to a video format, we can definitely show off our socks now.


Tommy Ryan:That’s right.


Danny Ryan:Yep. Cool. So cool. Well that’s it for today. Thank you everybody for watching and listening and have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye. Bye.


Thank you for listening to the work together. Better podcast. We’re available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re looking for a partner to help you craft a modern digital workplace in the Microsoft Cloud, please come by and see us at That’s the number three spelled out, W I L Thank you. And have a great day.



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