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How is Office 365 Groups changing team collaboration?

Office 365 Groups provides a lightweight alternative to traditional SharePoint collaboration, while Sway looks to revamp enterprise presentations, according to an expert.

Office 365 Groups really are a new modality in Office 365. If we look at it through the SharePoint lens, we had...

team sites where you brought together a small team of individuals who were going to create artifacts. At some point, one of those artifacts might be the final, and then you move that into something else, so it's a collaborative approach. Because Office 365 is a fairly vast collection of services, Microsoft is making an effort to try to change how those services are combined and do so in a way that feels familiar.

SharePoint feels a little too administratively burdensome, and Microsoft wanted to create a facility that feels a little lighter, a little bit more agile, and combine a number of different services into something new where I can still collaborate, but it's easier to use. I can onboard individuals a bit easier and I can deal with the eventual external user -- not just the internal users -- much more easily and focus on just producing those artifacts, rather than have to worry about all the other stuff that SharePoint has as this kind of monolithic platform.

There's a different way to think about how people interact. Office 365 Groups is Microsoft's attempt at achieving that, with existing services people are already using -- like portions of SharePoint, like OneDrive, like the online office products -- and all of the new collaboration coauthoring and simultaneous editing that they've announced recently.

Sway, for me, represents Microsoft's acknowledgement that the traditional approach to presenting information needs to change. It's Microsoft's way of taking on the idea of really telling a story and doing so in a visually compelling way -- and in a way that feels more natural. I'm still old school and PowerPoint-centric. But Microsoft Sway is an exciting evolution for presenting content.

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This was last published in November 2015

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How is your company using Office 365 Groups or Microsoft Sway?
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I’ve always found SharePoint to be a little too cumbersome, and stopping just short of doing what I wanted it to do, especially with respect to collaboration on documents. It’s good to see that Microsoft is taking a look at improving collaboration within its suite of tools, but I wonder if it’s too little too late, given the momentum that other file sync and share solutions have already developed.
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