Microsoft Groups and Workplace 365: A wedding made in Redmond

Editor’s observe: In response to the coronavirus disaster gripping the world, TechGenix is republishing a collection of current articles, tutorials, and product critiques that include related data for IT professionals as their jobs change dramatically. On this article, initially printed Dec. 6, 2019, we have a look at how Microsoft is utilizing Workplace 365 and Microsoft Groups in its quest to regulate the in-office and distant collaboration market towards opponents Slack and Zoom.

Once I have a look at what’s occurring with Microsoft Groups and Slack and Zoom and comparable real-time collaboration platforms, I usually think about a bunch of gladiators battling it out in an enviornment in historical Rome. “There can be only one” might be simply as true for cloud-based options right this moment because it was in battling to the dying within the days of the Caesars. A lot of questions come up nevertheless as I think about learn how to place my wager on which warrior will end up eliminating all the others as they combat to the end. Will Groups find yourself dominating the market? Will it grow to be extra tightly built-in with Workplace 365 till the 2 principally mix collectively? How will the branding for them evolve if this occurs? And if Workplace 365 plus Groups is the last word path to the highest of the rostrum the place the olive leaf crown can be bestowed upon the winner, how can IT leaders greatest plan their migration from Slack and Zoom to Groups inside 90 days whereas getting their staff on board with the swap as properly?

These and different questions got here to thoughts once I sat down just lately to speak with Hunter Willis, the product advertising and marketing supervisor at AvePoint. Whereas I didn’t get all my questions answered or have time to cowl all the pieces I used to be occupied with, I did be taught sufficient to make me critically think about elevating the ante on my bets regarding Groups dispatching its opponents into the Underworld.

MITCH: Let’s begin with the fundamentals. Actual-time collaboration platforms equivalent to Groups, Slack and Zoom have gotten more and more well-liked with many companies. Why is that?

Microsoft Teams

HUNTER: There are a lot of causes for this, however, in my view, these are the 2 strongest. First, individuals have grow to be accustomed to purposes that encourage chat and private messages which might be simpler to observe, learn and ship message context than e-mail — which may grow to be cluttered and troublesome to observe as a stream of dialog.

Second, with the enlargement of tech, elevated competitors and the character of the fashionable workforce, staff must quickly adapt to wants exterior of their “job descriptions” and tackle extra various workloads. Chat purposes are a lot better fitted to adaptive communication. In Groups, for instance, customers can maintain monitor of all of their conversations, label their chat streams and private multi-user conversations, and affiliate paperwork with particular conversations. Organizations have safety controls over this content material which additional allows them to lean on the tech to get the job finished.

MITCH: Is smart, thanks! How is the market share at present divvied up between these three merchandise and the place do you see it headed?

HUNTER: Except for the news of Slack being in decline, our firm has seen such a rise in demand for Slack migration into Groups that we constructed the performance to make it occur months in the past. As for Zoom, I had a number of enterprise IT admins ask me at Ignite if we had been going to have the ability to migrate Zoom within the close to future, in order that’s a reasonably clear signal, however nonetheless very anecdotal.

MITCH: OK then, why do you assume Groups starting to dominate the market? What options or benefits does Microsoft have that its opponents don’t have?

Microsoft Teams

HUNTER: The largest cause is that Microsoft has brilliantly included Groups with Workplace 365, which many, if not the overwhelming majority of enormous organizations, already use for collaboration to 1 extent or one other. This implies reasonably than paying for licenses for extra instruments, they only have to show it on.

The second cause is that the combination of Groups into the remainder of the Workplace 365 providers makes it a real enterprise-ready one-stop-shop for a lot of the capabilities organizations want. Mix that with its elevated safety, manageability and dialog construction talents over Slack, and for many organizations, it’s a no brainer.

The opposite factor about Slack, specifically, is that to get any capabilities aside from chat, it’s a must to add in apps and providers from different instruments. That is nearly like including micro-microservices to your group, in the end scaling the burden of IT to ensure issues are safe and managed.

With reference to Zoom, it was a lot simpler and extra dependable than Microsoft providers for exterior conferences prior to now. However prior to now 12 months, the one conversations I’ve had about it have been clients asking to maneuver it into Workplace 365.

Now, it’s necessary to notice that Zoom and Slack will all the time have a spot available in the market. Time and time once more I hear small organizations say they’re simpler to make use of and get began with than Groups, and I personally assume they’re. Quite a lot of organizations are additionally conserving Slack for the foreseeable future as a result of their customers favor it to the purpose that IT is agreeing to hold on to it. And that ease of use and person loyalty can’t be discounted on this dialog.

MITCH: OK, so possibly it’s not just like the gladiator enviornment the place a battle to the dying leaves just one victor. However on condition that Workplace 365 may be very well-liked these days with companies of all sizes and styles, do you foresee Microsoft utterly integrating Groups and Workplace 365 right into a single unified platform underneath a single product title? In any case, Groups is at present a separate app, proper?

HUNTER: It is very important observe that Groups is technically a separate app from Workplace 365, nevertheless it’s constructed on the Lync/Skype For Enterprise structure and practically all of its capabilities and integrations rely closely on the Workplace 365 Platform. For all intents and functions, they all the time have been built-in.

MITCH: So, I suppose we’re caught with Workplace 365 because the branding, although maybe even that will change if Microsoft 365 actually takes off. Anyway, let me end by asking about what choices companies have in the event that they’re at present operating Slack or Zoom and wish to migrate over to Groups. Are there instruments that may assist them do that? And are there any challenges that clients might face in performing such a migration?

HUNTER: AvePoint can migrate Slack conversations and information into Microsoft Groups, mix a number of Slack channels into one Group, or migrate every channel into its personal Group. We can also migrate Slack conversations into Groups chats, or migrate them into the Information tab of Groups. In any case, gifs, emojis, and metadata can be preserved, and the textual content is searchable and appears identical to Groups.

As for Zoom, I’m at present unaware of a vendor migrating from Zoom to Microsoft Groups or an organization that has finished that earlier than.

MITCH: Nice. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

HUNTER: My pleasure.

Featured picture: Shutterstock

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