SharePoint Online Team Sites Integrated with Office 365 Groups

Blog written by:
Chris Ang
SharePoint Architect
CCNA, MCPD, MCTS, A+

Intro

We all know that Office 365 Groups brings the Exchange and SharePoint features together to give users (teams and groups of people) a way to collaborate for achieving common business goals. Whether it’s sharing files, working on files online as well as offline, connecting with teams, having conversations or setting up a calendar for the group, reminders and alerts, Office 365 Groups is a platform to bring together the members of a team and enable them to work collectively.

Benefits of Team Site & Office 365 Group Integration

Recently, SharePoint announced that the team sites would be integrated with Office 365 groups. What this means is that when a user adds a new group, a modern SharePoint team site will also get added. And when the user adds a new team site, a new group membership would be created. This new capability will enhance the manageability and extensibility of the team sites and will help users enjoy easy and quick access to Office 365 Groups and the associated Office 365 apps.

With more users adopting the new SharePoint 2016 and warming up to the concept of on-premises and hybrid scenarios, the focus has been increasing on Office 365 Groups to improve the user experiences. While team sites, Exchange, Yammer and other applications like Lync and Project Server are commonly used by teams or groups for different purposes, Office 365 offers several features combined in one application. It not only has distribution list that is a set of email addresses, which can be used to send group emails but also a shared inbox, calendar, library, OneNote notebook and planning tools for organizing and assigning tasks. So, as soon as a user joins a group, he has access to all the shared information from any device: mobile, desktop or in the cloud. (ref: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Learn-about-Office-365-Groups-b565caa1-5c40-40ef-9915-60fdb2d97fa2?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US )

So now, basically when you create a group in Office 365, you not only get a shared inbox, calendar, library, OneNote notebook and a Planner but also get a full-powered SharePoint team site. (ref: https://blogs.office.com/2016/08/31/new-capabilities-in-sharepoint-online-team-sites-including-integration-with-office-365-groups/ )

And with this, each group will get a modern home page with the option to create additional pages, document libraries, lists and business apps. With the integration of SharePoint team sites and Office 365 groups, users will benefit enormously. This is true because at the time of creation of a new team site, a fresh group membership will also get created.

Office 365 Groups vs SharePoint Groups / Azure AD Groups

While users can now leverage the benefits of Office 365 and SharePoint team sites integration, it’s important to understand the difference between Office 365 Groups vs other groups that those on SharePoint and Azure AD.

Firstly,
Groups on Office 365 are created and located in the Windows Azure AD (Active Directory). And because they are a feature of Office 365, the Groups can be easily used in all features of the Office 365 as well as those belonging to the Windows Azure AD environment.

Secondly,
One needs to understand that Office 365 Groups are not based in SharePoint Online or Exchange Online but they use several features from SharePoint, Exchange and several other applications. Hence, Office 365 Groups will not only have their own team sites but also get modern document libraries, modern lists and support for Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. (ref: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2016/08/31/new-capabilities-in-sharepoint-online-team-sites-including-integration-with-office-365-groups/ ).

Conclusion

These new features that arise from the integration with SharePoint Online Team Sites make them a class apart from other groups and will definitely set new standards in communication and collaboration.

Sources:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2016/08/31/new-capabilities-in-sharepoint-online-team-sites-including-integration-with-office-365-groups/

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Chris Ang

Chris Ang

Solution Architect at Cognillo (formerly QiPoint)
Chris Ang (New York, NY USA) is a SharePoint Architect with 20 years experience in programming and network infrastructure.

Currently working at Cognillo (https://www.cognillo.com), he has helped architect and develop SharePoint Enterprise products for customers such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.N. Security Council of Netherlands, Australian Government, U.S. Dept of Treasury, U.S. Dept of Justice, Canadian Dept of Defense, Scotiabank, JPMorgan CHASE Bank, Intel, Ford Motors, Microsoft, NASA, DARPA, SNC Lavalin, Penguin Books, and more.

He is a proud father of 2, and when he has any spare time, he loves to paint portraits of his kids.
Chris Ang

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