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16 February 2019

Work smarter, not harder with Azure AD B2B collaboration

Profile photo for Marcus Idle - Head of CIAM.
Written by Marcus Idle

See the tangible benefits that B2B collaboration technology can bring to your business.

There are very few professions that work in isolation. Our work networks sometimes expand far beyond just our colleagues to partners, suppliers, contractors and more. This can very easily lead to communication and access issues that hamper productivity.

That’s why collaboration technologies such as Azure AD B2B exist, to help alleviate those issues and ensure that everyone who needs access, has it.

B2B collaboration comes into play every time you need external people (typically people without an email address at your organisation) to help get things done.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they are your suppliers. They could be resellers or brokers – right at the other end of your supply chain – or, in some cases, competitors collaborating with you on a joint venture.

Let’s take a look at a few real-world examples where B2B collaboration has delivered noticeable benefits.

A versatile tool for seamless access


Large construction projects invariably require different partners to work together. These partners will need to share access to the same plans and other documents.

One of our clients works on large private and public sector projects, involving large numbers of stakeholders who need to share project documents. They wanted project managers, not IT admins, to take control of the invitation process in order to speed up onboarding.

At the same time, they wanted watertight security – nobody should get in or out without their own corporate credentials – and the host organisation should have access to reports on who has been invited, and reminders about ageing and possibly lapsed access.

This is a huge advantage because building projects are in a constant state of flux, with specialist contractors (collaborators) coming and going. Having a way to quickly grant them access to see the most recent drawings and schematics without setting them up on your system enables projects to flow smoothly and efficiently – saving time and money.


Insurers will often work with brokers who sell their products to businesses or the general public, and brokerage firms often employ many individuals who each need access to the appropriate sales tools. The person responsible for granting access to these applications will typically receive a list of users to provision – a process which involves trusting the main contact at the brokerage.

Why not allow the main contact to add their colleagues, which not only saves administration but also allows individual brokers to get up and running more quickly?

The same security controls apply, but the process becomes more streamlined.


Universities can often partner with other institutions to deliver comprehensive learning experiences for students. For example, a university medical school may be working very closely with a teaching hospital.

In this instance, visiting academics and other staff don’t want to have to remember two logins to be able to access teaching materials, student records and other data held by the university. It’s better if they can use their own Office 365 or other institutional credentials to login everywhere.

Business benefits of seamless & secure collaboration

Collaboration features within Azure AD or Access Centre let you share your company’s information, applications and services with guest users from any other organization with just a simple invitation. Collaborating in this way allows you to work safely and securely with external partners, while maintaining control over your own corporate data.

It doesn’t involve your own identity management solution, so there is no external administrative overhead for your organisation, or worries about user account lifecycles.

These improvements not only improve your (the host) organisation’s level of comfort over security and access control, they also improve your competitive edge, as you can see from the examples above.

When you rely on partners for getting things done, and you can get them up and running more quickly and more securely, you are improving the speed at which you do business.

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Profile photo for Marcus Idle - Head of CIAM.

About Marcus Idle

Head of CIAM and IP Development

Marcus Idle is our Head of External Identity. Expert in Microsoft’s Azure AD B2B and B2C technologies, Marcus is passionate about bringing cloud and external identity to life to solve business...


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