I am unapologetically a huge fan of Teams. I use it constantly, and have almost completely stopped using Skype for Business for my day to day work – apart from a few outliers, and a few features that haven’t quite hit parity between the two… I’m all in!
That said, one of my biggest frustrations in using Teams on a day to day basis is my inability to log in to multiple clients / Teams tenants at the same time – switching back and forth is time consuming and annoying, not to mention the further annoyance of missing out on notifications from one or the other when you’re switched.
Looking around on the web, I can see that I’m not the only one with this frustration – fellow MVPs Steve Goodman and Tom Arbuthnot have suggested some pretty cool solutions to the problem, so feel free to go down that route if you want to manually create the Chromium/Electron web apps yourself. Alternately, you can go the route of using multiple browsers, or even multiple Chrome “people” to have separate identities.
As much as I love the idea of having separate apps for my different Teams Identities, I’d prefer a more integrated approach if possible, so I don’t have to keep an eye on a bunch of different windows and screen clutter, etc.
I’m not even sure where how I first stumbled across Franz, but it’s quickly become one of those apps that I can’t imagine living without! Franz essentially performs those web connections for you, and allows you to maintain multiple different accounts across a fairly large amount of services that you might want to connect to. For example, I am currently logged in to four different Teams tenants at the same time. :O
On top of the different Teams tenants I connect to, I also have my WhatsApp and Discord accounts added, which is pure win in my books!
Installing the app is as easy as you’d imagine it to be – once you have it installed, you’ll be prompted to add your first service, and then you can add as many others as you’d like. You can see that there are both a lot of services to choose from, and you can request missing services you’d like added as well:
Yammer is still missing, but I’ve requested it be added – I might not use it as much as I’d like to, but it sure would be useful to have it all in one spot.
Pros & Cons
Lots to love, and nothing to hate… that’s for sure.
- All my accounts are in one app, and I don’t have the pain of trying to maintain separate browser windows, etc.
- Notifications work great across all the services I’m connected to.
- My taskbar icon is badged when I have a notification (like you’d expect), and
- Connections are sticky enough that I don’t have to log in constantly.
- Since it’s a web/modern auth connection under the hood, MFA works correctly, and I’m prompted to authenticate when necessary.
My accounts are neatly stacked, and notification badges show up on the appropriate service, making it easy to switch between them and reply to messages.
Guest accounts!! This deserves its own section, so I’ll get into it below.
Not really much in the way of cons, but there’s a couple of things I notice that are worth mentioning.
- Incoming calls can be a bit confusing, and it doesn’t always ring through the web client – I keep my main Teams client running anyway, and answer calls on there. I haven’t needed to take calls on my other logons yet, so it hasn’t been a problem for me.
- Remember that you’re essentially accessing each of these services through the web client – every now and again I get prompted to “download the app” which wants to of course download the app for whatever service your connected to. Nothing much to do about that, again, just recognize that it’s a web application and you’ll be fine.
Adding Teams Guest Accounts
Ok, I didn’t actually even realize this was possible until I was writing this post – now that I know I can do this, I love it even more! I’ve been logging in to my individual Teams accounts but hadn’t even thought of maintaining a separate connection for each tenant that account is a guest on.
Setup is just as easy as it should be – simply add a new Teams service in Franz, log in with your regular Office 365 credentials, and then click on the little drop-down beside your picture in the top right of your screen:
Switch over to whichever Guest tenant you want to set this service to and then (if you’re like me) give it a name and a logo to differentiate it from your other Teams logons. Since each connection is being maintained individually, you’ll be able to switch between your main and Guest tenants quickly and easily.
Chalk up another win for Franz!