Figuring Out Our Teams Needs

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Occasional Contributor

(As in, our needs as far as Teams is concerned.)

 

Basically, we run a business operating a network of freelancers. We found Slack super-useful when we first started using it about 5 years ago, but quickly hit a place where we required paid features, and just couldn't justify the several-hundred-dollars-a-month expense of putting all our freelancers on a paid plan (back then there were 40 or so of us, now it's more like 80).

We moved to another tool (Ryver) which offered what we needed at a much better price, and have been reasonably happy with it ever since, but have recently started to feel that it might be faltering (support and updates have died off, feature requests have been left undealt with for years etc. etc.), and are now worried that it might fold, which would leave us without a vital tool for our business.

As such, we've been looking at alternatives, and Teams seems like it could be a really viable option for us, but at $12.50/user/month for the paid plan, we would only be able to switch to it if either the free version was workable for our needs, or if there might be a way of having only some people on the paid plan and others join as guests.

Despite doing a bunch of reading about the tool, I can't quite seem to get a definitive answer on this. For a start, there appears to be some kind of 5 guests per licensed user rule - does this mean that in order to have our entire network of freelancers (around 75 individuals) involved, we'd need to have...14 paid users as part of our Teams setup? And how is that allowance treated if, say, one of those paying members is already a member of another teams organisation elsewhere?

Or does none of this matter if we're using the free version?

Apologies - as I say, I've tried to unpick this through doing a bit of reading, but things get very soupy when trying to figure out the various subscriptions and versions on offer.

Any help massively appreciated!

12 Replies

Hi, would the Office 365 Business Essentials plan work? You only need Office 365 Business Premium if you want all the Office desktop apps.

 

https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-business-essentials

 

That’s $5 or $6 for a monthly or annual commitment.  Or just use the free version of Teams with maximum of 300 members?

 

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/differences-between-microsoft-teams-and-microsoft-teams-fre...

@Cian Allner Thanks so much for this! Yeah, I've looked into both the things you mention, but the confusion is coming when I try to figure out what exactly the 'free' plan involves, and how having some kind of existing 365 account affects this.

 

Will I be able to set up a free Teams environment that all my freelancers will have access to regardless of whether they have Microsoft accounts? That seems to be what it's saying, but when trying to get a definitive answer on one of these things, the information available never seems to quite clear this up.


Will everyone be able to participate freely in the team setup for each project, and will I be able to adjust file permissions for all those users?

What I'm keen to avoid, which has happened before with other tools, is going to a lot of trouble to set the environment up, only to discover that when we try to put it into practice, we immediately run up against things which require paid access that we can't afford (ie full paid accounts for all users).

Yes, it could be clearer, but you can invite someone using any email address or just sending a link (someone correct me if there is more to it than that please):

 

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/invite-people-to-teams-free-53a9b20c-2ad7-442e-967c-2e9305e...

 

Here is a demo

 

https://youtu.be/KAvjlllE5x4?t=66 

 

This was the clearest explanation (more detail in the link):

 

Once created, you can invite other users to join your tenant. Users can come from other vanity domains or consumer services or they can come from Office 365 or Azure Active Directory domains

 

I would not recommend free Teams for your scenario because you will quickly run out of space in your free Teams tenant since it's limited to 10GB.

Also, by default Team members have access to all files in a Team. With Full Teams you'll be able to create SharePoint libraries with custom permissions but it's a fair bit of work and best to try to keep your Permissions set around different Teams.

As for the 1:5 it's only if you use Azure AD P1 premium features. Like enforcing MFA, Conditional acess etc. See this article which gives examples etc. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/b2b/licensing-guidance

So the big question is are these free lancers basically considered consultants? If so, then you can just have licenses to cover your actual organizations employee's and then have everyone invited as a guest with their own Office 365 business account or a personal Microsoft Account.

@Chris Webb Thanks so much for your response here. So having full Teams accounts for my core team members, and then inviting all freelancers (who are indeed basically consultants) as guests would only incur costs for the core members?

That could work, but I guess it would depend on what privileges guests are allowed. Will do some further digging into that.

Thanks again!

Oli

@Cian Allner Thanks again! Just doing some side reading to figure out what things like 'tenant' etc. mean. But this is all super useful stuff!

Exactly. Guest users can basically do everything a member of a Team can do for the most part when it comes to actions inside a Team. Chat is where it kind of differientiates due to the lack of OneDrive. Here is a good comparison chart to help out!
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/guest-experience#comparison-of-team-member-and-guest...

@Chris WebbAmazing! Thanks so much!

Also, one that might stink, is Search for Guests don't work in Teams for files. However, there is a work around they can use by Clicking "Open in SharePoint" on a files tab, and search for guests does work inside the actual connected site. So it's a work around until they improve search inside Teams, but for now the work around is better than nothing.

@Chris WebbThanks for the tip. What does this mean practically? As in, if I want to quickly search for a guest to, say, have a chat with, it's not super straightforward?

Also, there's a lot of talk of SharePoint and...Azure something and Office 365 Business/Enterprise accounts (I'm not sure which one I have, but I think it's probably just a personal licence), all of which I feel like there should be one clear resource on, but I can't seem to find anything.

I just tried ringing customer support to ask to speak to someone knowledgeable about teams, and got lost in number option hell, and ended up with someone who couldn't even figure out which product I was talking about, so thanks so much for being clear on all your info so far.

Na, you can search fine for guests to chat with. I mean searching for files using the search bar at the top. It only searches chats when you are a guest. Regular users get file search for their files in OneDrive and the Team etc. Guests do not.

However, guests can navigate to the attached SharePoint site (Your files in Teams gets stored here) and use the search on the SharePoint page as a guest if you need to search for files. If you organize files in channels etc. this may not be needed but just wanted to make you aware of it :P.

@Chris Webb You are a fabulously helpful human being, and I salute you.

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