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Microsoft Teams users seek better channel management tools

Microsoft has kept two highly demanded channel management features for Microsoft Teams on the backlog since 2018.

Users of Microsoft Teams are increasingly frustrated that the software vendor has kept two highly demanded channel management features on the backlog for years.

Thousands of customers have asked Microsoft to introduce the ability to archive channels and move them between teams. But Microsoft has kept both feature requests on the back burner.

The features' absence causes headaches for IT admins as they try to keep their organization's Teams account organized.

Sometimes users create channels under the wrong team. But the only way to fix the mistake is to delete the channel and all the user work inside.

Other times, a project moves from one team to another. In those cases, users want to move the channel associated with the project to the new group.

After only six months of using Teams, a data management consulting firm in London had heavily active channels that it needed to move but couldn't.

"It is frankly ridiculous," said a senior manager. The admin requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk for the firm.

The lack of such an essential feature as moving channels demonstrates how Teams is still relatively immature as a collaboration app, said Eric Prosser, who oversees IT and facilities for the Santa Clara County Housing Authority.

"It just doesn’t have a lot of the bells and whistles that other tools have," Prosser said.

Channel archiving would be another important feature for keeping Teams organized. Users can already hide channels from view. But they also want to archive them so that they no longer count towards the 200-channel limit within a team.

With more than 21,000 votes, the ability to move a channel between teams is the third most popular request on Microsoft's user feedback site for Teams. Channel archiving, at more than 14,500 votes, is the seventh most popular.

The features are two examples of necessary enhancements to Teams that users have been waiting on for years. For instance, users are also seeking improvements to the calendar and the ability to use multiple Teams accounts simultaneously on the desktop version of the app. 

Instead of fixing these problems, Microsoft has made it a priority to improve its video conferencing capabilities to catch up to Zoom. The vendor recently expanded its group video display and planned to launch a new virtual reality-style video mode.

"It's Microsoft," Prosser said. "Microsoft thinks that they know everything for you."

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