When it was introduced last September, the potential of Office 365 groups was still unclear. New DL? Team Site extension or replacement? How will they fit versus Yammer? Even the product group spoke at this time of a first chapter in a coming history.
It was however already clear at this time that leveraging Azure AD as a way to break siloes in Office 365 is a great idea!
These are the 3 pillars of the MS vision of collaboration in the future:
Studies show that 80% of collaboration is non-structured and 90% is lost by the organization.
So the idea for groups is to
Bring together people, information, and apps across Office 365, to enable better communication and collaboration.
They will be one of the two key components of the intelligent fabric of Office 365 (the other one being the Graph)
This will constitute the backbone of productivity for the future.
or in an extended version published on Office Blogs here :
So Groups is the new way to communicate and collaborate through Office 365
In this video recorded for SPS Paris, Christophe Fiessinger, Enterprise Social Group Product Marketing Manager, explains (in french,underlined in english) the great benefits of groups :
The existing features of groups were demonstrated:
- with the launch of a Skype for Business meeting with all the members of the group !
- in the browser at 39’ in this session
- showcasing automatic saving of attachments in OneDrive
Here are some key benefits of groups:
- First, groups provide (via AAD) a single definition of the team across Office 365 or even in LOB applications (like Dynamics CRM)
- Self service allows quick creation
- Public by default allow easy discovery
- They provide context and history when you join a project already started by keeping history of exchanges.
- They are simple to manage.
Here is the extended roadmap presented:
New features we can expect before the end of the year can be divided in two parts:
- Integration in Outlook 2016 is already there in the Office 2016 Preview
- Skype Meet now has been demonstrated in the keynote and will allow to quickly call all members of a group
- A mobile app has been demonstrated in this session at 53’ or 53’ in this session :
- The great thing here is Delve integration (with groups pages and cards, already described in this post : [ #Office365 ] Delve news at MS Ignite, part 1 : the journey)
- with a new demo in this session at 56’
- Groups surfacing in Delve :
- Here is the activity and the profile pages for a Group in Delve :
- Pages for groups make the link with NextGen Portals
- with an early preview demo at 48’ in this session
- Pages appear in the Profile page :
- At the end Sites will also be able to be added to Group :
- Another very important step in the groups’ journey is to be able to invite external users of the organization. This is in the roadmap without any date engagement.
- Integration with Dynamics CRM has also been announced and demonstrated (with a demo in this session at 1:00’).
- Yammer will leverage Office 365 groups : yes Yammer will plug-in in the AAD and the permissions and all the other tools of Groups (calendar, OneDrive , …)
- Administration (not so much details on these)
- today: eDiscovery is for mails and files, but in the future a unified experience will be implemented.
- Guest membership will allow to connect external users in a group
- with DLP,Quota management
- deeper integration with AAD
- Extensibility of groups has been announced via a new REST endpoint for groups in the unified API :
Here is my summary for the roadmap (please note that this is not a MS Slide but my own work):