Users rage as Microsoft announces retirement of Office 365 connectors within Teams

Expletives fly as admins deal with recommendation to move to Power Automate workflows

Updated Microsoft has thrown some enterprises into a spin after confirming that, with only a few months' notice, Office 365 connectors within Teams will be cut.

The connectors and webhooks are used to plumb workflows into a Teams channel. For example, users might use them to post an update into a chat stream. This means you can read content and service updates directly in a Teams channel that originated from something like a ticketing platform or a notification from a CI/CD system.

This is the sort of glue that enterprises depend on to make different systems communicate. Or at least it was. From August 15, 2024, Microsoft will block all Connector creation within all clouds. From October 1, 2024, all connectors within all clouds will stop working.

Microsoft has been a little vague on exactly why it is doing this. Its recommendation is for users to switch to Power Automate workflows to "ensure that your integrations are built on an architecture that can grow with your business needs and provide maximum security of your information."

It added, "Users currently utilizing Office 365 connectors should transition to Power Automate to maintain smooth operation of their services."

Users have been less than impressed by the news. Comments to the company's post have passed the 100 mark and are generally negative, with some describing the plans as "a greedy cash grab" and others reacting with bewilderment at Microsoft's decision:

"Do Microsoft not learn from insufficient transition deadlines? You’ve given users 3 months, 2 of which are during peak holiday season where many staff will be on annual leave for parts of it, to move service integrations away from connector format to possibly something they've never even looked at. Why?"

Register readers have also been in touch to share the impact the change is having on them. One, who uses RSS feeds and webhooks to send CI/CD notifications to channels, agreed with comments that the change was a "PITA with no benefit to the customer" and noted that the precious few months of notice given wasn't very long.

Another said, "It's already hitting us since they've decided in their infinite wisdom to include a SPAM on each and every post made to a webhook telling us that the webhook is going to stop working. The urgent note of this SPAM makes it seem more important than the message it is appended to."

Message from Microsoft Office 365 connector for Teams showing impending deprecation

Connector spam (credit: A Register Reader) – click to enlarge

Our reader went on to say, "We're using webhooks in several Teams channels so that e.g. our monitoring system can post an alert to the right team to go fix a problem. Or from our ticketing system to post 'Hey, there's a new ticket in your queue: $subject.'

"I count at least 60 posts via webhooks since this change started to affect us and each one has the same spam appended to the end of it."

The Register invited Microsoft to comment on the reasons behind its decision, the notice period, and the issues reported by users with Power Automate workflows. Should the company respond, we will update this piece.

In the meantime, we'll leave the last word to a Register reader dealing with the fallout from the impending retirement.

"MS are proving how well they understand the enterprise again..." ®

Updated at 11.49 UTC on July 12, 2024, to add:

Four days after we requested comment, Microsoft sent us a statement yet still failed to answer our question about the tight timeline.

A spokesperson said: "This month, we announced changes to the way customers can relay information into and out of Teams in a scalable, flexible, and secure way, transitioning from the Office 365 connectors feature to Power Automate. These updates are driven by our ongoing commitment to security, and in alignment with Microsoft’s Secure Future Initiative. Power Automate workflows not only offer a much deeper catalog of Office connectors, but also ensure that integrations are built on an architecture that can grow with business needs and provide maximum security of information."

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