Microsoft Teams: Enable group chats with a Virtual Agent

Within a Microsoft Teams conversation, sometimes a third person would be helpful for answering questions -- a virtual agent. Next to direct chats with this assistant, Cognigy.AI provides group chats as well. This tutorial will explain how to, easily, enable any Microsoft Teams/Azure Bot Services agent for group conversations in an organization.


 

Table of Contents

  1. Install the App Studio in Microsoft Teams
  2. Create a new Teams App
  3. Set up the Bot
  4. Configure an existing Azure Bot Service for group chats 
    1. How to find the Azure App ID
  5. Publish the new Teams App
  6. Admin: Approve and allow the published App
  7. Add the new Bot to a conversation
  8. Example conversation

Install the App Studio in Microsoft Teams

Inside of Microsoft Teams, the so-called App Studio is used for this purpose. With this tool, one could install or create apps for their organization. In this case, it will be used for creating a custom app:

microsoft-teams-app-store-studio.PNG

Create a new Teams App

After installing the App Studio, please open it and navigate to the Manifest editor. Inside of the editor, click the Create a new app button:

microsoft-teams-create-a-new-app.png

Set up the Bot

After providing the general App details, in Step 2, the actual Bot Set up can be seen. In order to configure the Cognigy.AI virtual agent as Microsoft Teams Bot, please click the Set up button:

microsoft-teams-set-up-bot.png

Configure an existing Azure Bot Service for group chats

If one ever created an Azure Bot Service Endpoint in Cognigy.AI before, the related Azure App can be used in this configuration window as well. However, if not, please follow this documentation and create a new Bot Service in Azure:

How to find the Azure App ID? Click here

The most important configuration inside of this window is the Scope section in which one has to select the Personal and Group Chat permission. Otherwise, the group chat functionality will be disabled afterward!

microsoft-teams-set-up-existing-azure-bot-service-app.PNG

How to find the Azure App ID

The ID of an Azure App Registration can be found in the Configuration page of the related app:

microsoft-azure-app-id-configuration.png

Publish the new Teams App

Last but not least, the new Microsoft Teams App (Bot) has to be published to the Teams organization:

microsoft-teams-test-publish-app.png

Admin: Approve and allow the published App

URL: https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/

The Microsoft Teams Administrator has to approve and approve the new bot. Therefore, please navigate to the Manage apps screen:

admin-microsoft-teams-manage-apps.png

Add the new Bot to a conversation

Finally, the new Microsoft Teams App (Virtual Agent) can be added to any conversation. Such as with other people in the organization, the @ key has to be used in order to tag the virtual agent. If it is the first time, one has to click the Get bots and search for the newly created bot, click it, and install it to the chat:

microsoft-teams-add-bot-to-conversation.png

Example conversation

In an internal use case, a personal chat with a colleague could involve the virtual agent for providing company-related information:

msTeamsGroupChat.PNG


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