The cultural impact of Office 365 Groups for your organisation

admin May 11th, 2017

Office 365 Groups

Sharegate and FiveP’s partnership has helped multiple organisations move their business to the Cloud, gain visibility over their Office 365 & SharePoint, and keep control of their environments. In this article we talk about digital transformation in the enterprise world and the impact Office 365 Groups and Teams is having in organisations.

To say technology is changing fast is an understatement. But what effect does this rapid innovation have on the business landscape? The 181st episode of the Microsoft Cloud Show, featured Sharegate’s own Ben Niaulin. Ben is one of the biggest personalities at Sharegate and has a reputation for defending Microsoft SharePoint against its nay-sayers.

*This podcast episode took place in New Orleans, at InspireX, the Nintex annual conference. You can listen to the full episode here.

Migrations are evolving businesses

There’s currently a lot going on in the world of Microsoft, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Office 365. SharePoint Sever 2016 was released last year but what was remarkable about this release was how it showed Microsoft’s focus is moving away from on-premises solutions and into the cloud. The interesting thing about this, it seems, is that organizations aren’t only migrating to SharePoint Online, but taking the opportunity to change how they work as they invest in the cloud.

For example, businesses seem to be moving to a more activity-based working culture. Hot-desking is now more common, and it pushes people to get together with members of their team that they need to work with, and work on a project together. This is a very dynamic new working culture that seems to be evolving from cloud computing which is making everything more mobile, agile and flexible.

The lift and shift is the easy part

So, when it comes to migrations, businesses need to think about this new way of working, and not just bluntly attempt to recreate their on-premises structures and infrastructure in the cloud. The migration itself is the easiest part of the move. The hard part comes in thinking how best to utilize their new, powerful, tools.

For example, you may find it best to plan everything out and make a change away from your current SharePoint architecture. One of the setups we see a lot is the “vertical SharePoint” approach where an organization will have one Site collection with two hundred subsites. Instead, in Office 365 it’s automatically flatter by design, so for new projects or departments you have a new site collection. For the purposes of organization and security this is a better format to house your content in SharePoint. You can create an entire intranet this way and more easily wrap everything up—if you’re worried about being able to find your data, don’t be; SharePoint Online has a very powerful search function.

The rise of Microsoft Office 365 Groups

Microsoft have developed Office 365 Groups to make it super easy for your employees to work on projects together. What tends to happen in this case is your teams are handpicking the tools they need for their specific projects, rather than the organization buying SharePoint licenses and trying to maneuver it into everything.

Learn more about Office groups here

Microsoft Groups and Microsoft Teams have gained popularity since both their inceptions, and has caused businesses to think a little bit more about the way they work. Previously with SharePoint and Office on-premises the only question was whether you were going to upgrade to the next iteration. Now when they see something like Microsoft Groups they can look at it and think about how it can change the way their employees and teams get things done.

The way organizations are functioning now is based on the work they are doing rather than the product they are using. In Groups, you’re no longer focusing on an individual Microsoft product, but rather on the group itself—you will be using multiple products in the group—and what purpose the group is for.

For example, you might have a project that utilizes Outlook calendar for scheduling meetings, OneDrive for Business for document sharing, OneNote for notes and SharePoint Online to house the details of your customer. The security policies you put in place are not based on these individual products, but are assigned to a classification list in a group that will affect the entire suite of products the team is working with.

So, one of the first major shifts businesses should make when thinking of moving to Office 365 is to take a step back and not just ask: “can I migrate my SharePoint to the next SharePoint?”, but think more about how they are going to rearchitect everything.

Remember: The transition is in the change management

When we talk about this sort of change, it’s vital that you get the office on board. They should embrace this activity/group/project-based work, because if you have a different architecture in place, but still the traditional top-down model culture, it will be a really big transition for not just IT, but for every department.

For example, even within IT, the SharePoint team is going to have to start talking to the Exchange team, who will have to talk to Active Directory, etc., because every time the SharePoint team creates a new site collection it creates an object in Active Directory, and an email address within Exchange directory. And that pattern will continue into other, non-IT departments. So, you need to make sure your teams are ready.

To hear the full episode of the Microsoft Cloud Show and Ben’s contributions, click here.

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