An Overview on Office 365 groups

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What does an Office 365 group do? In simple words it lets you choose a set of people with whom you wish to collaborate with and set up a collection of resources. Resources such as shared outlook inbox, shared document library, planner and a site for collaborating on files are a part of an Office 365 groups. And the best part of using Office 365 groups is that you don’t have to worry about assigning permissions to all those resources manually since adding members to the group automatically provides them the privilege to use the tools. In addition, groups always provide improved experience in using distribution list or shared mailboxes.

Office 365 thus addresses in managing various gaps from the collaboration point of view, but still, it has become a huge challenge for IT/Office 365 admins to manage them. Now let’s see what is Office 365 all about, how to create them and from what sources.

What are Office 365 groups?

In simple words, Office 365 groups are nothing but cross-application membership service in Office 365, an object created in Azure Active Directory with a list of members in it. It also has some inbuilt workloads integrated with it such as Yammer Group, Planner BI, Sharepoint team site etc. You can add or remove people to the group, as you would add any other group based security object in active directory.

This means that you don’t have to hunt in different places in your office 365 to collaborate with other members or find the docs shared in the SharePoint document library. Now you have a single console called as Office 365 groups which can help in bringing all the workloads to a single hub so that it’s easy to collaborate with your team members.

Now let’s dig deep into the technical stuff of building an Office 365 group

What it looks like when you try to create an Office 365 group

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Now you and the members you have added get a welcome mail stating the group is ready to use and all of them are part of the group now. If you are using Outlook 2016 or Office 365 proplus then the group would automatically get mapped to a folder in your outlook as shown below.

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Once you have created an Office 365 group you get these workloads by default. This include

— Conversation
— Files
— Calendar
— Notebook

In addition to these tabs you also have two other options-Planner and Site.

Now let’s see what features you get in a modern SharePoint site:

— Responsive pages to provide team news
— Group classification and privacy always on display
— Jump to Outlook Conversation or manage group members right here
— Create something new: Document libraries, lists, pages etc.

Explained above is an overview of Office 365 group, the workloads in it and its functionality. Now let’s see how to create it. The below image shows the different ways of creating an Office 365 group.

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Nowadays any user who has the access and license to all the applications can create an Office 365 group. This will be very helpful for an end user thinking from an end user perspective since you don’t need to go to a particular location to create an Office 365 group instead it can be created from anywhere within SharePoint, Outlook, Yammer, Power BI etc. However, thinking of Office 365 admin perspective it really scares me since this would open the door for any user to create Office 365 groups either knowingly or not.

However, you can notice that the behavior and features of Office 365 groups is not the same when it is created from different source. There is going to be the difference in the workload depending on the source from where you created the group. This is because of Office 365 acts as a building block for all these groups created in yammer, Teams and so on. To see how they differ based on different source please take a look at these links.

A. Creating a Planner in Office 365 (this would create an Office 365 group in the backend): _ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-plan-in-microsoft-planner-93e65b03-6fac-4661-a502-e3161475ab93

B. Creating a group in Outlook: _ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-group-in-outlook-04d0c9cf-6864-423c-a380-4fa858f27102

C. Creating a group in Yammer: _ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-group-in-yammer-b407af4f-9a58-4b12-b43e-afbb1b07c889

D. Creating a group in Staff Hub: _ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/add-employees-or-groups-in-microsoft-staffhub-f56ba0bb-8ca2-4583-8c0e-e10be3fc8985

E. Creating a group in Power BI: _ https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/guided-learning/publishingandsharing#step-6

F. Creating a group in Microsoft Dynamics 365: _ https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/deploy-office-365-groups

G. Creating a team in Microsoft Teams( this would create an Office 365 group in the backend): _ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-team-for-staff-in-microsoft-teams-314ac9d5-36a9-408e-8ae4-7ef20e9f1ddf

H. Creating a modern team site in SharePoint Online (this would create an Office 365 group in the backend):_ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-team-site-in-sharepoint-online-ef10c1e7-15f3-42a3-98aa-b5972711777d

Now you might have understood the beauty of an Office 365 group, how can you create a group and what are the different sources from which you can create an Office 365 group.

May 11th, 2018 by