Delivering the first chapter of Groups in Office 365

Jared Spataro is the general manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft.

At the SharePoint Conference in March, we announced our roadmap for a set of connected experiences that would enable your company to work like a network. This month, we reached an important milestone with Office Delve. Continuing on this journey, today we are rolling out the first phase of Groups in Office 365.

OWA Groups conversation feed

Getting things done at work means sharing information and collaborating across ad hoc groups and project teams.  But, often times the tools we use to bring people together are different in each app—distribution groups in Outlook, buddy lists in Lync, groups in Yammer.  That’s why we’re introducing Groups in Office 365, so you can easily connect with the colleagues, information and applications you need to do more.

Take a look at this video to learn how Groups brings people together to enable better communication and collaboration across Office 365.

To support a project, you can easily create a new Group and invite colleagues. You can also search for and join existing Groups, which are open by default, to see all discussions, milestones and files and get up to speed quickly.  Of course, you can create private Groups as well for sensitive projects and content.

We’re launching Groups in stages starting today.  In this initial phase, Groups will show up within the web experiences of Office 365 email and calendar and OneDrive for Business.  In upcoming phases, we will add Yammer and Lync to the Groups experience to help you do even more.

I’m excited for you to explore the possibilities with Groups to improve collaboration and begin working like a network!

— Jared Spataro

Frequently asked questions

Q. When will Groups be rolled out to Office 365 customers?

A. Groups will roll out to Office 365 customers in phases, first to customers that have elected to receive significant Office 365 service updates at first release, an opt-in program. Following that, Groups will roll out to all Office 365 customers over several months in standard release, the default option for Office 365 customers. We expect Groups to roll out to all eligible Office 365 customers by the end of this year.

Q. Which Office 365 plans include Groups?

A. Groups is a feature that is available in Outlook Web App email and calendar and OneDrive for Business, and will be rolled out to all customers that have an Exchange Online or Office 365 commercial subscription, both new and existing. Eligible Office 365 plans include the Office 365 Enterprise E1–E4 subscription plans (including the corresponding A2–A4 and G1–G4 plans for Academic and Government customers, respectively), Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium plans, Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business plans and Office 365 Kiosk plan.

Q. Where can I go to learn more information about Groups?

A. Check out the Office.com Groups landing page for detailed user and technical documentation. You can also join our YamJam. On Monday, September 29th, the Office 365 Technical Network will host a YamJam from 9:00-10:00 a.m. PDT to discuss this news and members of the product engineering team will be on hand to answer your questions. For those unfamiliar with a YamJam, it is similar to a “TweetJam” on Twitter or an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” on Reddit, except it takes place on Yammer. It provides the opportunity for the community to ask questions and have a discussion with a panel of internal Microsoft experts on a particular topic.

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Request access to the Office 365 Technical Network. All requests will be approved as quickly as possible.
  2. Join the Groups YamJam group. You can find it by using the Browse Groups function or through the search bar.
  3. Log in at 9:00 a.m. PDT on Monday, September 29th to ask questions, follow the discussions and connect with Microsoft team members.