Microsoft Teams as a “Single Pane of Glass” for Collaboration


Microsoft Teams Add Cloud Storage Integration & Synchronization

Microsoft Teams is the newest aspect of Office 365 and is gaining traction. We’ve been using it for a while now and we are really liking it. Naturally, it’s a hub for teamwork and provides built-in tools and functionality for storage and collaboration. Unfortunately, most of that functionality is limited to content that resides in Office 365. Which is a bummer, because people have content everywhere. You ask, “But isn’t the Microsoft Teams add cloud storage feature able to well, ‘add cloud storage?’” Yes, it does, and we’ll get to that shortly. But don’t forget about content that exists outside of the supported cloud platforms. What about content stored locally on-premises, in a homegrown application, or in a legacy solution? It’s unfortunate; there’s no way to access that content in Microsoft Teams.

… Or is there?

Integrating Microsoft Teams With Supported Cloud Content

Let’s focus on the Files aspect of Teams. Referring to what you asked above, yes, Microsoft Teams add cloud storage does allow the capability to add to the Files library. Great! But, what does that really do for you?

Let’s say your organization leverages Office 365 and Box. You have externally shared content that you would like to move from Box to Microsoft Teams, alleviating the pain from having to go into Box to edit. So, you use the Microsoft Teams cloud storage feature and wahoo! Your Box content now appears to be in Teams and everyone has one place to work with the Box content!

Nope. Sorry. We wish it was that easy.

Here’s what really happens… First, even though somebody has Box to add cloud storage to your Teams site, you may or may not have access to it. If you don’t have access to it, well, that’s just rude. Regardless, when trying to access the content, you will have to enter your Box login.

Six Steps to Integrate Microsoft Teams Add Cloud Storage with Box

  1. You will need to have a Box login as well as permissions to the content you’re looking to edit. Second, you need to find the content. You can search content in Microsoft Teams add cloud storage feature with the native search functionality. However, that does not search within Box. To work on the content you need, you must know exactly where the content is located. This is often time-consuming, and moreover frustrating.
  2. You finally stumble across the document you were looking to edit.
  3. You intuitively click to open the file, but this is a mistake. If you happen to do this, though, you’ll soon find out you just screwed up. Clicking on the file only allows you to view the Box content in Teams (unless the content is natively stored in the Teams site). That right there is the biggest pain leveraging the Microsoft Teams add cloud storage functionality to integrate Box with Teams or any other supported cloud content! After realizing this, you frantically look for a feature that enables you to edit. Ha! Nothing. Without any other option, you must click the back or close button. Doing this takes you back to the root Files screen. Now you are enraged and want to throw something as you just spent five minutes, possibly longer, looking for your file.
  4. This time you DO NOT click on the file. You click the ellipses to the right and select the option to ‘Open in Box.’ Wait, what? That’s right.
  5. Then you’ll exit out of Teams and enter into a browser where you must log in to Box… again. This truly defeats the purpose of going to Teams to work with content in Box. Now that you are in native Box…
  6. You can finally make your edits.

Here it is in picture form:

Synchronize Content with Microsoft Teams in Two Steps

Now that you understand this mess, let’s address how to fix this problem and get to the reason why we really like using Teams…

Introducing SkySync (yes that’s us), an enterprise content integration and orchestration platform that enables cross-platform bi-directional synchronization.
Huh? What does that mean?

Exactly what it says:
No matter where content is located (in the cloud or on-premises), SkySync can synchronize the content. In the scenario we’re addressing with Box, as well as with any of the other scenarios mentioned in the beginning of the post (content on-premises, other cloud repositories, legacy ECM solutions, etc.), you can synchronize all your content into the Microsoft Teams cloud storage. No matter if you’re in the native repository or in Teams, all changes, additions, and deletions can be configured to be synchronized. Doing so enables all the native functionality in Teams to be accessible to any of the content that is synchronized.

Not getting it? Let’s replay the Box scenario but now leveraging the capability to bi-directionally synchronize content between Teams and Box.

Previously, the Box connection in Teams acted as a clear door with no handle. Remember?  Well, now the game has changed. Since the content is now synchronized into the Teams site, you can leverage the search and edit functionality, natively.

What took six steps previously, can now be accomplished in two…

  1. Search for your file.
  2. Edit that file.

All changes will get synchronized back to Box. This functionality can be applied to content anywhere. No matter where content exists, it can be synchronized into Teams leveraging SkySync, or any other bi-directional synchronization application.

I know, you don’t get it unless you see it.  Here’s the revamped visual:

“We need one place to manage all our content.” Upon hearing this request, your initial thought was a full-migration. Not anymore! The concept of a bi-directional synchronization has blown your mind… Now you can see how the Microsoft Teams add cloud storage capability can function as a single pane of glass, enabling users to collaborate content in one place – no matter where the content originated.


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Matthew Kaylor