Collaborate with Office 365

See how to collaborate using OneDrive for Business, Teams and SharePoint online.

When to use Teams, Yammer and SharePoint

A video explaining when best to use each application

Office 365 offers multiple ways to collaborate with who you work with, whether they are at the College or external. The method you choose depends on what kind of group you’re working with. 

Collaboration methods are:

  • Outlook if you’re going to be predominantly using email and calendars to collaborate with others on an on-going project or goal.
  • Microsoft Teams for project work where you want to be able to chat and easily access other Office 365 applications in one place.
  • Yammer if you’re aiming to reach a wide audience of like-minded individuals.
  • SharePoint for creating a secure central file repository for your team with managed permissions. 

Each of these methods creates an Office 365 group. This allows you to easily set up a collection of resources such as a shared Outlook inbox, shared calendar and a SharePoint document library for storing and collaborating on files. For more information and for other methods to collaborate with others, visit our sharing and collaboration tools web pages. 

Diagram showing different office 365 tools for collaboration and when to use them

Groups guidance and FAQs

What is a 'group owner'?

Group owners can add, remove and manage the permissions of users within a group. We strongly advise that you have two or more owners for each group, in case one of them is on leave, absent or leaves the college.

How do I create a group?

Use the links below to find out how to create a group:

Who can view my group?

When creating your group, you’ll need to decide whether you want the group to be private or public.

  • Private groups can only be seen by those within the group, and all new members have to be approved by the group owner.
  • Public group content can be viewed by all, and anyone within the College can join the group.

Guests from outside the college must be invited into both public and private groups. Guests will need a Microsoft Account to have access to the group. You should ask your external contacts for the format that they use to log in to Office 365 (if they have Office 365 at their business or institution) as many are like Imperial and use a different login to the email address. They can either log in using their own Office 365 login (sometimes this is their email address) or log in using their business email address (if they don’t have Office 365) where they will be redirected to create a Microsoft account for that email address.

When you leave the College, you will no longer have access to Office 365, therefore, won’t have access to any of your groups.

How many people can be in a group?

Groups can have up to 999 members, but we recommend you keep groups to a maximum of 250 people to make it manageable.

What is the group naming policy?

In March 2020, ICT will be introducing a naming policy for all Office 365 groups. There are two key elements to this:

  • A short code at the beginning or end of your group name to indicate what department this group belongs to (e.g. ICT-GROUP-NAME). This will be automatic and will help when searching for groups and it will help ICT to direct adoption and use guidance for those areas where this is either lacking or features are not being used.
  • A classification as to whether the group can be viewed by external guests or not, and whether additional security or retention policies are applied to the group. These will be based on the College Data Protection classifications.

Can I add guests to my group? Can I be added to my guests group?

Guests from outside the College can be easily added to a group.  They get to see emails, calendar invites, teams channels, posts, files and tabs and can participate fully in the group as long as any files are shared so that they can access them.
 
To add guests you need to check if they have an Office 365 account of their own, either via another company/institution or personally. If they do, ask for the login that they use (so if this was an Imperial person joining another tenant team (e.g. one run by say Oxford University) then the Imperial staff member would supply username@ic.ac.uk). Don’t assume that you can just use someone’s email address.
 
If they don’t have an Office 365 account, ask if they have an email address where they have a Microsoft Service Account associated (Hotmail, outlook.com, live.com and Xbox.com accounts are all provisioned with Microsoft Services Accounts by default).  Often people do have an MSA associated with their email address, especially if they are an Xbox gamer or Windows 10 user.  Once you have the required details you can add the account detail in the add members option in the group.
 

If your guest doesn’t have an MSA then add their email address. They will get your invite to the group and on first access will be prompted and guided through creating an MSA linked to that email address.  MSAs are free and just work to use the email address as the identifier.

What is the group expiry policy?

In March 2020 ICT will be introducing a group expiry policy, detailed below. 

When a group reaches 365 days from the original creation date with no activity, it will automatically expire.

Automatic renewal occurs when one of the following activities occurs in the group:

  • Outlook: Join group, read/write group message from group space or like of a message (in Outlook Web Access)
  • Teams: A visit to a Teams channel
  • Yammer: Activity within the group

If there is no activity in the group, the owner(s) will be sent an email 30 days prior to the expiry of the group. This email will contain a link where the group can be renewed. If no action is taken, a second email is sent to the group owner(s) 15 days prior to expiry with the renewal link. If no action is taken again, then the day prior to expiry a third email is sent with the same link.

If the group is not renewed using any of the above methods, then on the expiry date the group will be deleted. An email will be sent to the group owner(s) with a ‘Recover my group’ link which will be available for 30 days from expiry. Expired groups have all data and conversations deleted. If no action is taken, then at the end of the 30-day period the data is permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.