Microsoft is welcoming the outside world to collaborate and chat on Microsoft Teams.

Today Microsoft added "guest access" to Teams for all Office 365 commercial and education customers, according to a blog post from Lori Wright, general manager for Microsoft Teams.

"Now Office 365 users can add people from outside their company to a team, so guests can participate in chats, join meetings, collaborate on documents and more," Wright wrote. 

Users can add anyone with an Azure Active Directory account to their Teams channels. Microsoft plans to broaden this to anyone with a free Microsoft account in the next few weeks.

Microsoft made other announcements around Teams today:

  • The enterprise collaboration tool is used by 125,000 organizations in 181 markets and 25 languages
  • Botkit now supports Teams, offering developer tools for building bots for internal or customer-facing services. JIRA, Bitbucket Cloud and GitHub will also now integrate with Teams.

Microsoft Customers Requested Collaboration Feature

"Guest access has been one of the top requested features for Teams among our customers, and we’ve been working hard to get it right," Wright wrote. 

Microsoft is paying attention to security and compliance with the new users, according to Wright. Customers, after all, requested those with guest access in Teams provide enterprise-grade security and compliance assurances. 

Microsoft said guest accounts in Teams will be securely managed within Azure AD through Azure AD B2B Collaboration. 

"This enables enterprise-grade security, like conditional access policies for guest user access," Wright said. "Azure AD also uses adaptive machine learning algorithms and heuristics to detect anomalies and suspicious incidents, enabling mitigation or remediation actions, such as multi-factor authentication, to be triggered as appropriate."

IT teams can centrally manage how guests participate within their Office 365 environment.

Screenshot of Microsoft Teams collaboration platform

In other technology news ...

Spain Sues Facebook for $1.4M

Call it a dry run for GDPR compliance?

Spain data protection authories have slapped a $1.4 million fine on Facebook, according to reports published today. The social media network collected data on Facebook users in Spain and failed to tell them how it was used, according to Spanish Data Protection Authority officials.

A Facebook representative challenged the claims made by Spanish officials in a statement released to media:  

“We take note of the DPA’s decision with which we respectfully disagree. Whilst we value the opportunities we’ve had to engage with the DPA to reinforce how seriously we take the privacy of people who use Facebook, we intend to appeal this decision.

"As we made clear to the DPA, users choose which information they want to add to their profile and share with others, such as their religion. However, we do not use this information to target adverts to people.

"Facebook has long complied with EU data protection law through our establishment in Ireland. We remain open to continuing to discuss these issues with the DPA, whilst we work with our lead regulator the Irish Data Protection Commissioner as we prepare for the EU’s new data protection regulation in 2018.”

It's certainly not the first suit regarding users' data for Facebook and it most likely won't be the last.

HubSpot Unveils SEO Content Strategy Tool

HubSpot, a Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing automation provider, released a new content strategy tool designed to surface relevant topics for coverage.

HubSpot is supporting a topic-based model on creating content, called topic clustering. It serves search engines with better information architecture and more content the crawler can index, according to HubSpot officials.

“SEO best practices have changed drastically in the past five years," Kipp Bodnar, CMO at HubSpot, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, many marketers are still using the same old tactics that worked a decade ago, but now only serve to clog up search results with irrelevant content and keep teams from hitting their goals .... By combining machine learning and hard data, Content Strategy empowers marketers to deliver better results and more traffic with more high-quality, targeted content.”

Learning Opportunities

The content strategy tool uses machine learning to help surface recommendations, helps marketers optimize existing content and "build clusters that help increase authority and organic traffic," according to HubSpot officials.

Content strategy is currently available to all HubSpot Marketing customers. 

BounceX Launches on Salesforce AppExchange  

New York City-based BounceX, a marketing technology company, today announced it launched on the Salesforce AppExchange.

BounceX’s Behavioral Email will allow Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers to capture more email addresses for high intent visitors.

Salesforce AppExchange is an enterprise apps marketplace that features more than 3,000 partner apps and more than 4 million customer installs. 

AdRoll Launches New ABM Advertising Platform 

San Francisco-based AdRoll, a performance marketing platform, has announced the general availability of its updated account-based marketing (ABM) advertising platform, AdRoll ABM. 

The new features enable marketers to target based on attributes (job title, industry etc.) and sync data bi-directionally now with HubSpot and its existing integration with Marketo. 

The newly added bi-directional HubSpot Connector, and the previously available Marketo Connector, gives marketers direct access to connect AdRoll ABM with their CRM. 

Resulticks Launches Voice-Assisted Tech

Resulticks, a San Francisco marketing automation provider, has integrated voice assistant technology to its omnichannel lineup.

The voice assistant leverages data from multiple sources, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

“Context and relevance are the rules of the game in a brand’s interaction with its audiences,” Redickaa Subramanian, CEO and co-founder of Resulticks, said. “Pairing our pioneering marketing intelligence module with voice assistant technologies like Google Home and Alexa actually delivers on consumer expectations for what these devices should do."

The voice assisted tech can do things like recommend air conditioner maintenance based on local weather forecasts, generate insurance policy renewals and automate appointment scheduling for B2B clients.