In the current Digital Age, Business Applications are booming, and for every requirement, there is one Application that serves the greatest purpose. Success in Business Operations necessitates the involvement of several entities with a Cross-Communication facility and Real-time Updates between the Applications.
Webhooks as a means have now become integral for Real-time Communication from Web Applications to other Apps. The Data transfer is instant, unlike typical APIs where users need to poll for data frequently in order to get it real-time. Microsoft Teams, a high utility Team Communication App offers Teams Webhook Integration Connectivity for users to connect with third party Applications, to either send or receive messages and notifications from within the Microsoft Team Channels.
This post guides you through a step-by-step procedure for connecting your Microsoft Teams and Channels to your favourite third party Applications using both Outgoing and Incoming Webhook Integration so you can keep up to date and have the greatest experience possible.
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Microsoft Teams: The Group Chat Software
Over the last decade, Business Communications have evolved dramatically. Instead of traditional Email Communications, we’ve seen innovative and rapid alternatives to Team Communications. These new modes of Communication are more collaborative, enable document storage and come with online screen sharing capabilities. Additionally, it is simple to look for past messages or attachments in these Applications rather than squandering through your previous Email Threads.
Just like the popular Slack Platform, Microsoft Teams is a wholesome Team Communication Software offering for everyone. It’s a Cloud-based Collaboration Software, as a part of Microsoft Office 365 Suite, which includes features like Messaging, Calling, Video Meetings, File Sharing and Secure Editing.
Microsoft Teams provides Real-time Collaboration on Content from local and remote workers across different devices, including laptops and mobile devices. Its strong integration with Microsoft products such as Word, PowerPoint, Exchange, and SharePoint makes it a very enjoyable and simple to use Application.
Microsoft Teams is a Platform where Business Teams can securely edit files and see Likes, Comments, Mentions and Replies with just a single click. Your colleagues can add other Websites and Apps accessible to everyone. For merriment and inspiration, you can even use Emojis, GIFs and Bots to stir up your conversations and induce exhilaration in your Team, especially during monotonous times.
Microsoft Teams can also be integrated with third-party Web Services and Applications using User-defined HTTP Callback from Microsoft Teams Webhook functionality. This can fetch real-time updates from the Applications and allow users to subscribe to receive notifications and messages from your Web Services.
Powerful Features and Business Benefits of Using Microsoft Teams
Increased Data Visibility and Better Governance
Business Conversations happening in Microsoft Teams are persistent and traceable. Leaders can track what progress has been made by their Team Members, which areas are they facing troubles in, and how has been the group bonding and culture so far. All the files and documents which are shared with the Team Members get securely uploaded to the Microsoft Cloud, so there are no worries about Data Mismanagement or Loss.
Microsoft Teams also makes the Cloud data available to Microsoft Graph, Microsoft 365’s Data Intelligence Console, which can be used to access tremendous amounts of data in Microsoft 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security.
Microsoft Teams also features better governance through Microsoft 365 eDiscovery tools, a useful tool that can be used in identifying and delivering electronic information that can be used as evidence in legal cases.
Microsoft Teams feature a Guest Access feature that allows users to invite people outside their Organizations to join Internal Channels for Messaging, Meetings and File Sharing. This capability facilitates Business-to-Business (B2B) Project Management and eliminates any to and fro Communication Gaps between the different Teams.
There’s also a brand new way of Team Collaboration Service called Microsoft Teams Connect that is currently in private preview and expected to be released by the end of 2021. This will allow Team Owners to add Individuals and Teams to a single Channel within a Team. More information on Microsoft Teams Connect can be found here: Microsoft Teams Connect aka Shared Channels Coming Later in 2021.
Fewer Email Threads
Email Threads are intimidating, especially when you need to take some reference from a previous Email Conversation.
Microsoft Teams tackles this conundrum very intelligently. Instead of CCing your Work Email Address, you can simply visit ellipses (three dots) next to any Channel and select Get Email Address. This is an Email Address for the Channel to which you’d want to send Emails, making it easier to find files and allowing others to remark.
Microsoft Teams is a game-changer when it comes to User Productivity. With a special feature called History Menu, available on the top left corner of the Microsoft Teams Desktop Client, users can revisit their recently visited or opened Channels, Conversations, Files, Tabs or Apps.
This saves users from tapping repeatedly on the back button if they get lost or want to navigate to the previous Teams Menu or Settings.
Powerful Integration Options
Microsoft Teams is very well integrated with the rest of the Microsoft 365 Services. Users can create and manage Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Files within their Microsoft Team Channels and work with other Content in their Team’s SharePoint Sites. Calendaring connects right into Outlook.
Microsoft Teams can also be integrated with third-party applications using the Microsoft Teams Webhook Integration Service that allows the App to get real-time notifications and messages.
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Microsoft Teams Webhook Integration: An Overview
Webhooks and Connectors are a simple way to connect Web Services to Channels and Teams inside of Microsoft Teams. This extensibility option enables you to either respond to a Channel Message sent to your Web Service from Microsoft Teams (Outgoing Webhooks) or to send a proactive message to configured Channels (Incoming Webhooks and Connectors).
Microsoft Teams has two approaches to Teams Webhook Integration:
- Outgoing Webhook
- Incoming Webhook
Microsoft Teams Webhook Types: Outgoing Webhook
An Outgoing Webhook allows users to send a message from a Channel to your users’ Web Service or to your Web Service. Once configured your users can add @mentions on Outgoing Webhook to have Microsoft Teams send a message to your Service. Your Service gets five seconds to respond to the message and optionally include a text-based message or a card.
Outgoing Webhooks are manually configured on a per-team basis and they aren’t included in a Custom Microsoft Teams App.
Key Features of Outgoing Webhooks include:
- Scoped Configuration: Webhooks are scoped on a per Team basis.
- Reactive Messaging: Users must use @mention for the Webhook to receive messages. Currently, users can only message an Outgoing Webhook in Public Channels and not within the personal or private scope.
- Standard HTTP Message Exchange: Responses appear in the same reply chain as the original message.
- Limited Microsoft Teams API Message Support: Outgoing Webhooks sends an HTTP POST to a Web Service and gets a response. They cannot access any other APIs, such as retrieve the roster or list of Channels in a Team.
Microsoft Teams Webhook Types: Incoming Webhook
Incoming Webhook allows any external Apps to share Content in Teams Channels. These Webhooks are used as tracking and notifying tools. An Incoming Webhook requires more work to configure wherein users have to manually configure Incoming Webhook on a per Channel basis.
Just like an Outgoing Webhook, Incoming Webhooks can’t be included in a Custom Microsoft Teams App.
Key Features of Incoming Webhooks include:
- Scoped Configuration: Webhooks are scoped on a Channel level.
- Secure Resource Definition: Messages are formatted as JSON payloads. This declarative messaging structure prevents the insertion of malicious code.
- Actionable Messaging Support: Actionable message cards are supported in all Office 365 groups including Teams. If you send messages through cards, you must use the actionable message card format.
- Independent HTTPs Messaging Support: Cards provide information clearly and consistently. Any tool or framework that can send HTTPS POST requests can send messages to Teams through an Incoming Webhook.
- Markdown Support: Support for the rich formatting of text.
Guide to Configuring Microsoft Teams Webhook Integration
Microsoft Teams Webhook Integration: Configuring Outgoing Webhook
To create an Outgoing Teams Webhook, do the following actions:
Step 1: Visit your Team Tab from the left pane in your Microsoft Teams Application.
Step 2: Under the Teams Tab, you’ll find several Teams in which you are a participant. Click the ellipses beside the Team Name and select “Manage Team” from the dropdown.
Step 3: Head for the Apps Tab under the Team Settings.
Step 4: Select the option “Create an Outgoing Webhook” by scrolling down on this page.
Step 5: Fill in the following details in the Create an Outgoing Webhook Page:
- Name: The Webhook title and @mention tab.
- Callback URL: The HTTPS endpoint that accepts JSON payloads and receives POST requests from Teams.
- Description: A detailed string that appears in the profile card and the Team-level App dashboard.
- Profile Picture: An App Icon for your Webhook, which is optional.
Click on the option Create to finalise the process.
At the close, you will get a Hash-based Message Authentication Code (HMAC) dialogue box. It is a security token used to authenticate calls between Teams and the designated outside Service.
Note: The Outgoing Webhook is available to the Team’s Users, only if the URL is valid and the Server and Client authentication tokens are equal. For example, an HMAC handshake.
Microsoft Teams Webhook Integration: Configuring Incoming Webhook
To add an Incoming Webhook to Microsoft Teams Channel, perform the following steps:
Step 1: Under the Channel Settings (accessible by clicking on the ellipses in the top navigation bar), select Connectors from the drop-down menu.
Step 2: Inside the Connectors menu, you’ll find an option to add Incoming Webhooks with a Configure button beside it. Click on the Configure button and provide a name, and upload an image for your Webhook if required.
Note: If you are unable to find an option of Incoming Webhook Connector, you will need to visit Microsoft Teams > Apps, and add Incoming Webhook Utility from Microsoft.
Next, a dialog box will appear proffering a unique URL that maps to the Microsoft Teams Channel. Save this Webhook URL for future uses. Select Done to finish the process.
Note: In Teams, select Settings > Member permissions > Allow members to create, update, and remove Connectors so that any Team Member can add, modify, or delete a Connector.
You can also remove existing Incoming Webhook Connectors by visiting the Configured Menu under the Manage Connectors option.
Under the Incoming Webhook, you’ll find an option to configure your Connectors. Select the drop-down that appears below to Configure button.
Next select Manage next to the Connector that you wish to remove.
Select the Remove button to delete the Incoming Teams Webhook Integration.
To recapitulate, we examined Microsoft Teams, an outstanding Team Communication App with features such as Data Visibility, Better Governance, Fewer Email Threads, and Powerful Integration Options with the native Microsoft 365 Apps and Teams Webhook Services. The post provided a step-by-step approach for establishing Webhook Integration for both Outgoing and Incoming Webhooks on Microsoft Teams.
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