Part 2: Tailor your Teams experience

In the first part we walked through how to develop a Teams app with zero coding and in this part we will go through how to push out our custom app to our users in Teams. For this you either need to work in IT department or have help from someone within that department.

Prerequisites

  • Teams Service admin role
  • Teams “App Studio” app

Step 1 – Publish your app to your organization

In this step we can publish an app in two different ways, either we send the zip-package, we downloaded in the end of part 1, to our IT department managing the Teams service or we upload it via the Teams app store.

Publish app as developer

In your Teams client and in the Teams navigation bar menu you will find the Teams apps catalogue under Apps. Inside we will choose Upload a custom App and Upload for <Comany name>.
Upload your zip-package that we downloaded in part 1.

Depending on how Teams is configured by your IT department your app might not just yet show up under the section Built for <Company name>.
But under here you will be able to control your developed apps, you might want to update your app with a new version including new features.

A Teams service administrator will find your uploaded app in the Teams admin portal under Teams apps and Manage apps.

Publishing apps via Teams admin portal

Publishing an custom app as a Teams administrator is pretty straight forward. In the Teams admin portal under Teams apps and Manage apps we will select upload.

In the Upload a new custom app dialogue we will press Select a file and select the zip-package for the app that we created or received from a developer.

When the app has been uploaded you will be notified in the top that your app has been added to the list.

Search for the newly uploaded app and check so that the app status is Allowed otherwise you need to change your Org-wide app settings to allow custom apps. Do not hesitate that change, in the next step we will go through how you can control who got access to what apps.

Step 2 – App permission policies

App permission policies is used to give users access to Teams apps. A user can only have one app permission policy applied.
In this type of policy you have three types of apps that you can setup different actions for.
First we have apps made by Microsoft.
Second we have third party apps developed by other companies.
Lastly we have custom apps that have been developed by people within your organisation.

All tenants have a global policy as a default policy for new Teams users and hopefully that policy is not configured with default settings allowing all apps from Microsoft, third party and custom made apps.

Hopefully you have some sort of governance regarding Teams apps, otherwise keep your eyes open because this will be a future post by me.

So apps allowed in our app permission policy will be available in the Teams app store catalogue for users that the policy is applied for.

To make our app available for everyone within our organisation we will need to update every app permission policy that we have.

Lets click on our Global (Org-wide default) policy and under Custom Apps choose Allow specific apps and block all others and then select our custom app with selecting Allow apps. Finalize your policy with Save.

Note, during this Corona pandemic period changing policies and applying new policies have been quite slow. In average I have needed to wait 24 hours for policies to take effect during this spring.

Step 3 – App setup policy

App setup policy is allowing us to control which users that should be able to sideload custom apps to their Teams client, we can control if everyone should be able to pin apps in their Teams navigation bar menu and lastly we can install apps and pin them in users navigation bar menus.
A user can only have one App setup policy applied.

Exactly as for app permissions policies we do have one default policy for all new Teams users named Global (Org-wide default). So if we want the custom app we built to be installed and pinned in everyone’s Teams client we need to edit every App setup policy we have in our tenant.

Within your App setup policy you click on Add app under Pinned apps, search for your custom app and click on add.

The custom app will be visible in the list of apps and you can move it upwards in the list for the app to be pinned first in users Teams client.

Note, during this Corona pandemic period changing policies and applying new policies have been quite slow. In average I have needed to wait 24 hours for policies to take effect during this spring.

Step 4 – The end user experience

So when the new policies or policy changes have been applied to a user they will get a notification about that admin updated some settings and that pinned apps might have been moved.

They will find the custom app deployed to their desktop client, to their web client and to their mobile app and in all type of clients the custom app will be placed first in the Teams navigation bar menu.

In the next part we will go through how to update the app with new features.

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