Type in "Office 365 groups" on Google and you’ll find no shortage of users who are confused about this service. "Groups in Office 365 let 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," says Microsoft on their website. Say what?
At its core, groups in Office 365 are actually pretty simple. Basically, they let you share content with all the people you work with. This content includes documents, spreadsheets, emails and project plans — all the stuff you already use in your business. Here at Knack Training, we understand why this tool is important for collaboration. We’ve explained some of the features and benefits below.
With Office 365 Groups, you can create a group of people you want to share content with. Think of Groups as secret societies, where only members of the club share information. If you’ve ever created a private group on Facebook, you’ll find Groups on Office 365 pretty similar. You can share sensitive or valuable content that you don’t want the rest of the world to see.
"When creating a group you’ll need to decide if you want it to be a private group or a public group," says Microsoft. "Content in a private group can only be seen by the members of the group and people who want to join a private group have to be approved by a group owner."
At this point, you’re probably thinking that Groups sound a lot like Microsoft Teams — the chat-based tool on Office 365 that lets you communicate with other people — but there are several differences. Both have a separate interface, for starters. Teams and Groups also have different file-sharing capabilities. You can actually add Teams to an existing Office 365 Group, too.
Groups in Office 365 streamline several business processes and give you more control over how you exchange information with other people.
You can send an email from your inbox to everyone in your Group.
In OneDrive for Business, you can share documents with members of your Group.
In OneNote, you can share notes with members of your Group.
Schedule meetings and plan future events when you share a calendar with your Group.
Essentially, these features are great for the majority of businesses because they allow different departments to collaborate on projects and solve problems.
If you think setting up Groups sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t. You don’t need to manually assign permissions and privileges to each member of your Group — it’s all done automatically.
You won’t automatically qualify for Groups, though. Any subscription to Office 365 that includes Exchange Online and SharePoint Online will support the feature. Microsoft says this includes the Business Essentials, Business Premium, Enterprise E1, Enterprise E3 and Enterprise E5 plans.
Office 365 Groups is a new service that combines email lists, document sharing, Microsoft Teams and more. We’ve covered the basics on this page, but there’s a lot more to this feature that you should know about. Knack Training can help you grapple with Groups with one of our classes. Click here to find out more!