It’s important to understand, that Office 365 Groups are not a new product and they do not compete with existing Microsoft Services. By providing Office 365 Groups to your organization, you are providing choice for collaboration tools to your projects, teams and organisational units. With the self-service functions provided, your employees can create an Office 365 Group and, within it, they can use whatever technology and tools fit their needs to achieve their project goals. At the beginning of a project, the team might start simpe with email, calendar and some files. Later, their needs might grow, and they might want to use more tools for project work such as a full-featured SharePoint Site Collection or a Planner to manage work.

Simply said, an Office 365 Group is “just” an Active Directory object, similar like a Security Group. Users can be added to the group and they will automatically get access to folders and documents due to their permissions.

A big difference lies in the automated provisioning when an Office 365 Group is created. Whether it’s a modern SharePoint Team Site or an Exchange Mailbox, they’re all created and associated to that Group to provide a simple collaboration experience for projects or teams.

A Office 365 Group gets created automatically from the following Microsoft Office 365 products

  • MS Teams: New Team
  • SharePoint:  New modern Team Site
  • Outlook: Create New Group
  • Planner: New Plan
  • Power BI: New Workspace
  • Video: New Channel
  • and more…

Connect a SharePoint site to an Office 365 Group

Connecting an Office 365 group to an existing SharePoint site is important, if you want to modernize that site, or if you want to use other group-connected services such as Video, Microsoft Teams, Planner or PowerBI. This connection also brings your classic SharePoint site a step closer to being like the modern team site, which by default is connected to an Office 365 group.

You can connect your SharePoint site manually to a new Office 365 group via the user interface, which might be a good approach for smaller environments. Larger environments often want to offer a consistent experience to their users, and therefore want to perform a bulk operation of their sites. If you would like to learn, how to execute a bulk update for associating existing SharePoint sites to new Office 365 groups and how to actually make it happen, you can follow this link.

 

What connecting to a new Office 365 group does to your site

When you connect your existing SharePoint site to a new Office 365 group, a number of things happen:

  • A new Office 365 group is created, and that group is connected to your SharePoint site collection
  • A new modern home page is created on your site and set as the site’s home page
  • The Office 365 group’s Owners are now the site collection administrators
  • The Office 365 group’s Owners are added to your site’s Owners group
  • The Office 365 group’s Members are added to your site’s Members group

After your site is connected to an Office 365 group, it behaves like a modern group-connected team site. This means, that if you grant people permission to the connected Office 365 group will also grants them access to the SharePoint site, a Microsoft Team can be created on top of the Office 365 Group, Planner can be used and so on.

By the way, you cannot connect an existing SharePoint site with an already existing Office 365 Group or Microsoft Team. If you would like to transform an existing SharePoint Site into a MS Teams, you first have to connect the Office 365 Group via the SharePoint web interface and then create a new MS Teams based on that group via the MS Teams Client.

 

Do you have another minute?

Learn how to use Seamless SharePoint Sites with Office 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams.