Office 365 groups -What you need to know?

Office 365 groups lets you choose a set of people that you wish to collaborate with and easily set up a collection of resources for those people to share. Resources such as a shared Outlook inbox, shared calendar, shared document library, Planner and a site for collaborating on files are a part of an Office 365 group.

The best part of Office 365 groups is such that you don’t have to worry about manually assigning permissions to all those resources because adding members to the group automatically gives them the permissions they need to the tools your group provides. Additionally, groups are the new and improved experience for what we used to use distribution lists or shared mailboxes to do.

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Although, Office 365 groups helps in addressing many gaps from a collaboration stand point it has become a huge challenge for IT/Office 365 administrators to manage them. So, in this article I’ll be explaining in detail about what Office 365 groups is all about, how you can create it and what are the different sources from which we can create an Office group. So, let’s get into the details …

  1. What are Office 365 groups?

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Well, to put it in very simple words, Office 365 groups is nothing but a cross-application membership service in Office 365. It’s an object created in Azure Active Directory with a list of members in it and also has some inbuilt workloads associated with it such as a SharePoint Team site, Yammer Group, Shared Exchange mailbox, Planner, Power BI and OneNote. You can add or remove people to the Group just as you would add any other group-based security object in Active Directory.

So, what does this mean to me? Well, it simply means that you don’t need to go to different places in your Office 365 eco-system to collaborate with your team members or to find a document that’s stored in a SharePoint document library in a SharePoint site. You have a single console now called as Office 365 groups which can help in bringing all the required workloads into one single hub so that it’s easy for you to collaborate within your team members while you’re working on a project.

Alright, I think I’m just talking all technical stuff till now, but I haven’t really talked or even showed you folks about how this can add value as an end user or as a project manager/ team lead. So, let’s get into the fun stuff now ….

Every time I create an Office 365 group this is what it looks like …

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I would get a welcome email in my mailbox stating that the group is ready and the members whom I’ve added to the group would receive a similar email notification stating that they’re a part of that group now. If you’re using Outlook 2016 or Office 365 Pro Plus, then the group would automatically get mapped as a folder in your outlook client as shown in the image below.

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In addition to that, once you have created a group you would get the below mentioned workloads by default along with the Office 365 group.

a) Conversations -This helps you to have email conversations within the group by sending an email to the group’s email address as shown in the image below. Any conversation which happens within the group can be viewed by all the members of the group.

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b) Files -You can upload all the files related to your project /team in this Tab and once it’s uploaded here it will be available to all the team members as shown in the image below.

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c) Calendar (you can schedule or view the meeting on the group if you’re a member of the group). In addition to this you can view your own calendar as well in the same Tab.

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d) Notebook (Notebook which is used to share updates with the entire team in the group or you can create new section which is password protected). This can be used for capturing meeting points or something of that sort.

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In addition to all these tabs, you would notice an ellipsis button towards your right side next to the “Notebook” Tab as shown in the image below. Clicking on that ellipsis would give you two options as shown in the image below. 1.  Planner & 2. Site

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Now, let’s look into these two options.

e) Planner (You can create tasks and plan them using planner). Any tasks that you need to plan as a part of your project can be added to the Planner with appropriate deadlines. You would also get email reminders for tasks that are nearing the deadlines.

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f) Site (SharePoint group site, which can upload documents or create new pages, web part, InfoPath form, etc.). So, when you click on site it would take you to a SharePoint Site which has the Modern experience and you use this for document collaboration and other SharePoint related stuff.

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Note: The “Files” tab which I was talking about earlier is nothing but a document library which is a part of this SharePoint site. So please don’t get confused that it’s a different document library altogether. I see many people getting confused about these two workloads in an Office 365 group where they think that these are two different pieces altogether. So please bear in mind that these are both the same. The reason why Microsoft has given this as two pieces is, using the “Files “tab you can directly upload the files/documents to the document library instead of navigating to the “Site” tab and uploading it to the document library from there.

Listed below are the features that you get in the Modern SharePoint site …

  1. Responsive Pages to provide Team News
  2. Group Classification and Privacy always on display, an indicator for external users will also show up here
  3. Jump to the Outlook Conversations or manage Group members right here
  4. Create something new: Document Libraries, Lists, Pages, etc.

Now, that I have given an overview of Office 365 groups and the workloads in it and its functionality let’s try to understand how to create an Office 365 group. Well, when I think about it, it really excites me and scares me at the same time and I’ll explain the reason for that below.

The below mentioned image depicts the different ways of creating an Office 365 group in Office 365 (meaning, the different places from which an end user can create an Office 365 group)

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Note: As shown in the image above, an Office 365 group can be created from all these different sources and this may or may not change in the mere future (meaning, Microsoft can add few more sources from which you can create an Office 365 group, or they might even remove the creation of an Office 365 group from a specific source).

As of today, any end user who has access/license assigned to all these applications can create an Office 365 group. Of course, this is really exciting to me from an end user perspective as I don’t need to go to a specific location in Office 365 to create an Office 365 group and it can be created from within SharePoint, Outlook, Planner, Power BI, Teams, Yammer, Microsoft Dynamics 365 & StaffHub.

But when I think about this from an IT admin/ Office 365 admin perspective it really scares me because this would just open the door for all the users to create an Office 365 group either knowingly and unknowingly (meaning, may be the users intent was just to create a Yammer group or a Planner but, in the backend, it creates an Office 365 group and the user wouldn’t know about this).

However, there’s a catch here. If you pay attention to the image above you would notice that the behavior or the features of the Office 365 group is not the same when its created from a different source (meaning, when a group is created by the creation of a Team in Microsoft Teams you would only get outlook, Teams, SharePoint & Planner and not Yammer. On the other hand, when an Office 365 group is created as a result of the creation of a Yammer group you would only get Yammer, SharePoint & Planner). So, the point here, there’s going to be difference in the features/workloads you get in an Office 365 group based on what’s the source. The reason behind this is, Office 365 acts as a building block for all these groups created in Yammer, Teams and so on.

Now, if you’re interested in knowing more about the functionalities of all these groups and how they differ based from which source they get created then please go through the links below.

  1. 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
  2. Creating a group in Outlook :_ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-group-in-outlook-04d0c9cf-6864-423c-a380-4fa858f27102
  3. Creating a group in Yammer :_ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-group-in-yammer-b407af4f-9a58-4b12-b43e-afbb1b07c889
  4. Creating a group in StaffHub :_ https://support.office.com/en-us/article/add-employees-or-groups-in-microsoft-staffhub-f56ba0bb-8ca2-4583-8c0e-e10be3fc8985
  5. Creating a group in Power BI: _ https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/guided-learning/publishingandsharing#step-6
  6. Creating group in Microsoft Dynamics 365: _ https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/deploy-office-365-groups
  7. 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
  8. 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

So, I believe by now you would have understood the beauty of an Office 365 group and how to create it and what are the different sources from which you can create an Office 365 group.

Now, let me get into the flip side of this….I believe by now you folks would have understood  that Office 365 groups is the basic building block for all the groups that gets created from different sources and let me also tell you that it’s also possible to create a group in Yammer or create a Team in Microsoft Teams from an existing Office 365 group ( meaning , when you create a new group in Yammer or while creating a Team in Microsoft Teams it creates an Office 365 group and that’s something which I already explained before .In addition to this I can create a Yammer group or a Team in Microsoft Teams from an existing Office 365 group ) as shown in the image below .

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Note: In the image above, you can see that I’m trying to create a Team in Microsoft Teams and it gives me an option to choose an existing Office 365 group that already exists in Azure AD.

Behavior of an Office 365 group when it’s connected to Microsoft Teams:

  1. When a Group is created through Teams, the privacy of the Office 365 Group is automatically set to private and cannot be changed.
  2. You can add a Teams chat to an existing Office 365 Group if it’s set to private and has fewer than 600 members in the group. Note that this may change in the future.
  3. Teams cannot be added if the Office 365 Group uses Yammer for conversations instead of Outlook, as mentioned above

 

Behavior of an Office 365 group when it’s connected to a Yammer group:

Outlook Conversations are for emails; Microsoft Teams are to live chat and Yammer is for forum-like threaded conversations. Yammer conversations are a little different, as they are not always available with Office 365 Groups. To get an Office 365 Group with Yammer Conversations, you must create it from within Yammer and Yammer only.

If you decide to create a Yammer connected group, it’s exclusive. You will not be able to use the Outlook Conversations, Microsoft Teams, or the Calendar.

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The behavior of an Office 365 groups varies based on which service it’s connected to and you can test if for yourself by creating it from different sources.

Alright. That’s all I have for this blog post and I’ll come back to you folks soon on different topics in Office 365 groups such as 1. How to restrict the creation of Office 365 groups to all the users? 2. Best practices for Office 365 groups administration 3. PowerShell for Office 365 groups etc.

Please stay tuned until then and good luck with Office 365 groups!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recording of my Webinar on Microsoft Teams

Teams demo

Webinar Recording :_  https://youtu.be/MrPXgFn6TXk

Link to the PPT Slides :_ https://www.slideshare.net/VigneshGanesanMCPMCI/overview-of-microsoft-teams

Please keep checking my blog site for more webinars and useful articles .

Good luck with Microsoft Teams!!!

Limitations to be aware of in Microsoft Teams:

Teams logo

Listed below are the limitations one must be aware of in Microsoft Teams.

Note: These are the current limitations as of now in Microsoft teams and this may or may not be changed by Microsoft in the future.

  1. What is the maximum number of teams that can be created in an Office 365 tenant?

The default maximum number of teams that an Office 365 tenant can have is currently 500,000.

  1. How many owners can there be for a team in Microsoft Teams?

A team can have 100 owners.

  1. How many channels can we create in a Team in Microsoft Teams?

We can create 100 channels in a Team

  1. How many teams can a user create?

A user can create 250 teams.

  1. How many teams can a global administrator create?

A global admin can create unlimited number of teams.

  1. What is the maximum number of members you can add to a team?

A team owner can add 999 members to a team.

  1. Can I search for a private team?

No, you can’t search for a private team

  1. Can I customize a team if I’m not the owner?

No, you can’t customize a team if you’re not the owner of it.

  1. What is the maximum number of members a user can add to a chat?

There can be 20 members in a private chat, including the user who created the chat.

  1. What is the maximum number of people in a meeting?

The maximum number of people in a meeting is 80.

11. How many people can join a Team which is public?

The maximum number of people for a public team is 2500.

12. How do I restrict the creation of Teams for my end users?

Since Microsoft Teams is officially backed up by an Office 365 group, restricting the access to create an Office 365 group will also restrict the creation of a Team in Microsoft Teams. As a result, users won’t be a to see “Add a Team “button in Microsoft Teams.

Please go through this link to know in detail about creating restrictions for Teams :_

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-who-can-create-Office-365-Groups-4c46c8cb-17d0-44b5-9776-005fced8e618?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

13. If I add a user to an Office 365 group which was created as a part of Team will he have access to the Team?

Yes, he will have access and it would take 15 mins for him to gain access to the Team once he has been added to the Office 365 group .However , the SLA for this is 24 hours .

Thanks for reading this post …. Good luck with Microsoft Teams!!!

Webinar on Microsoft Teams:

Hi All,

Please join us for a webinar on Oct 28th ,2017 at 6:00 pm IST on ” Overview of Microsoft Teams in Office 365” .

Microsoft Teams webinar poster

Agenda:
  • Introduction to Microsoft Teams
  • Architecture of Microsoft Teams
  • Demo on Microsoft Teams
  • Organizing your Team in Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Teams clients
  • Planning the implementation of Microsoft Teams

 

We’ll be discussing in detail about Microsoft Teams  and all it’s new features and functionalities.

Webinar details : _ http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/events/overview-of-microsoft-teams

Microsoft Teams in Office 365

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I hope everyone would agree to the fact that Office 365 has been one among the best products Microsoft has delivered till date and it’s good to see Microsoft adding a lot of new features and functionalities to the Office 365 suite every now and then. Today many organizations have started choosing Office 365 over on-premises Microsoft products as they’re easy to use and manage and in addition to that you get to remain up to date with all the latest updates.

  1. SharePoint provides intranets and content management solutions to more than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people.
  2. Yammer is the social network for work, enabling cross-company discussions for 85 percent of the Fortune 500.
  3. Skype for Business provides real-time voice, video and conferencing and hosts more than 100 million meetings a month.
  4. Office 365 Groups is our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another.

Today in this article, we will be discussing about “Microsoft Teams “, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365 that has built-in access to SharePoint Online, OneNote & Skype for Business Online. It was recently introduced by Microsoft couple of months back and acts as a hub for team chats, calls, meetings, and private messages.

Microsoft Teams mainly focuses on these four areas ….

  1. Chat for today’s teams
  2. A hub for teamwork
  3. Customizable for each team
  4. Security teams trust

Let’s look on all these areas and understand how Microsoft teams is built to support all these four areas that can enhance business as well as user experience.

  1. Chat for today’s teams:

It provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. You can also add emoji’s, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.

  1. A hub for teamwork:

Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365 Groups and is backed by Microsoft Graph. So, it brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips.

  1. Customizable for each team:

Since all teams are unique, Microsoft has invested deeply in ways for people to customize their workspace, with rich extensibility and open APIs available at general availability. For example, Tabs provides quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. Microsoft Teams also shares the same Connector model as Exchange, providing notifications and updates from third-party services like Twitter or GitHub. In addition to that Microsoft has also included full support for the Microsoft Bot Framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into your team environment

  1. Security teams trust:

Microsoft Teams is designed in such a manner that it provides the advanced security and compliance capabilities that our Office 365 customers expect. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Like all other commercial services, Microsoft has implemented a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Microsoft Teams will support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more. In addition to that, Microsoft Teams is served out of our hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

Availability of Microsoft Teams:

As of now Microsoft Teams is on preview mode and its general availability details can be found below.

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Subscription details for Microsoft Teams:

If you have a personal Office 365 subscription, you won’t be able to access Microsoft Teams. To access the app, you need one of the following Office 365 license plans:

  1. Business Essentials
  2. Business Premium
  3. Enterprise E1, E3, or E5
  4. Enterprise E4 (for anyone who purchased this plan prior to its retirement)

Note: If you’re licensed for a suite plan like Office 365 Education or a non-suite plan like Skype for Business Online Plan 2, then you won’t be able to get the app. You need to change your license or purchase additional licenses for your company.

Alright, I guess we have now see enough about Microsoft teams. So, let’s see how to enable this in your Office 365 tenant so that your end users in your organization can start using this.

Note: I’ve chosen India in the county field while signing up for Office 365 and I’m able to see Microsoft teams in my tenant. If you’re not seeing that in your tenant it could be because you’re choosing a country where this feature is not available yet.

Turning on Microsoft teams in Office 365 tenant:

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.
  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center as shown in the image below and click on the app launcher. You can optionally click on “Admin” option as shown below.

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3. Click on “Admin” as shown in the image below.

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4. Navigate to Settings and click on “Services & add-ins” as shown below.

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5. On the Services & add-ins home page, choose Microsoft Teams as shown in the image below.

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6. On the Microsoft Teams settings page that opens, click or tap to switch the toggle to the on position to turn on Teams for your organization, and then choose Save.Once you’re done you will be redirected to the Microsoft teams home page as shown in the image below and this where you need to enable the features specific to Microsoft teams.

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7. On the Microsoft Teams settings page, in the General section, you can choose if you want to show an organization chart in user profiles. By default, this setting is turned on. To change this setting, click or tap to switch the toggle next to Show organization chart in personal profile to Off or On, and then choose Save.

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8. In the Teams & Channel section you can manage team owners and members by using the Groups control panel in the Office 365 admin center portal. At this time, you cannot create teams from the Groups control panel – teams must be created by using the Microsoft Teams desktop client or web app which we will be discussing later in his article.

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9. In the Calls & Meetings section, you can choose if users can use video and screen sharing during calls and meetings as shown in the image below.

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10. In the Messaging section, you can turn on or turn off media content such as animated images, memes, and stickers etc.

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Note: To turn on or turn off animated images, click or tap the toggle switch next to Add fun animated images to the conversations, and then choose Save. When animated images are turned on, you can apply a content rating to restrict the type of animated images that can be displayed in conversations. You can set the Content Rating to be one of the following:

  1. Strict
  2. Moderate
  3. No restriction

To turn on or turn off custom memes, click or tap the toggle switch next to Add customizable images from the Internet, and then choose Save.

To turn on or turn off stickers, click or tap the toggle switch next to Add editable images to the conversations, and then choose Save.

  1. The Tabs section, let you customize a channel to include content and capabilities your team needs every day. They provide quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. In the preview release, there are several built-in tabs such as Files and Notes. In the Microsoft Teams client, at the top of the channel, users can add tabs for Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, OneNote notebooks, Power BI reports, and plans from Planner.
  2. You can turn on Tabs as shown in the image below.

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Please check the Tabs section in my “Microsoft teams” desktop client below.

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13. Finally, you can enable Bots as shown in the image below

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Note: Using Bots, Microsoft Teams users can complete tasks such as querying information and performing commands by using bots. Users can also integrate your existing LOB applications with Microsoft Teams by using a bot.

To prevent or allow side-loading of proprietary bots, click or tap to switch the toggle next to Enable side loading of external Bots, and then choose Save.

Finally, once all the features are enabled this is how the Microsoft teams home page will look like…

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Point to Note:

Although the Office 365 Global administrator has turned on this feature in the tenant end users may not see the Microsoft Teams app tile in the app launcher after an admin turns on Microsoft Teams for an organization. Admins can direct end users to go to https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads to get the desktop apps. To access the web client, users can go to https://teams.microsoft.com. For mobile apps, go to the relevant mobile store for Google Play, Apple App Store, and Microsoft Store.

Desktop client for Microsoft teams:

The below mentioned image depicts the desktop client for Microsoft teams using which I can create my team. You can do the same using web client as well.

Desktop client for Microsoft teams:

You need to sign in with your Office 365 credentials in the desktop client.

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Web client for Microsoft teams:

You can check the web client below which opens on a browser and you can also notice that I’ve created my team in the image below.

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Creating a team:

You need to use the Create Team on the bottom left of your screen as shown in the image below to create teams. In addition to you also have a “settings” option on the left corner which can help you turn on and off certain features.

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Conversations in Microsoft Teams:

You can notice some conversations happening between the users in my team in the image below. You can mention a user, reply to a message and like a conversation or a reply.

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In addition to that as mentioned earlier, you can add emoji’s to your conversations, attach files and also use the video camera icon to create new video meetings.

Adding a Tab:

Finally, you can add tabs using the “+” symbol as shown in the image below to add documents & One Note files to your conversations. You can notice that I’ve added a One Note file to my conversations in the image below

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Microsoft teams is truly phenomenal and is a great way for users to communicate within themselves in a team . Please turn this on for your users so that they can enjoy this great application.

Thanks for reading this post …. Good luck with Microsoft teams in Office 365!!!