Maximizing Collaboration with the Right Balance of Office 365 and SharePoint

Maximizing Collaboration Office 365 and SharePoint

Maximizing Collaboration with the Right Balance of Office 365 and SharePoint

By Tracy van der Schyff | May 18, 2018

Over the past few weeks, this blog series has delved into SharePoint’s evolution over the past decade. This fourth installment of our SharePoint blog series discusses how SharePoint fits into Office 365 and potentially your organization’s collaboration strategy, so you can determine which SharePoint version supports your business objectives and how to plan your migration there.

The previous posts covered:

My final article in this series will cover:

  • Common SharePoint Business Cases
    • How have organizations successfully deployed SharePoint in their environment?

The Versatility of SharePoint?

Ask anyone “What is SharePoint?” and you’re sure to get a variety of answers. This is not because they don’t know, but purely because it is so versatile and can be used in many ways.

Microsoft explains that:

“Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.”

Think of a website, but this website is closed to a certain group of people. If you go to your bank’s website you’ll find information about the bank, the different services they deliver, documents or forms you might use as well as tools, calculators and of course, the internet banking (which is an app as well). The website consists of various web pages and libraries or lists in which the content is stored. Navigation allows for links to other apps and tools.

On your own website you could have libraries with documents, links to apps (leave application, log a call, incident management), and pages with news and information about services or departments. Your internal websites (SharePoint sites) could have two target audiences as well:

  1. Open to everyone, which is an Intranet
  2. Open to a group of people, like a department or team site.

Inner / Outer Loop

At Ignite 2017, Microsoft introduced us to the Inner / Outer loop infographic to help us understand how the different tools work together to achieve the preferred goal:

microsoft 365 teamwork

Figure 1:  Image credit - Microsoft

Communication and Sharing of Content

I’ve redrawn my own version to help business make sense of all the content we work with and the different platforms we communicate on. In the end it’s about using the correct tool for the job - AND getting the most out of it.

Communication & sharing of Content

Figure 2:  Communication & Sharing of Content

Office 365

Many companies have used SharePoint On-Premises for years, as a standalone “App”. Now with Office 365 and Microsoft 365, SharePoint has truly been integrated into the other apps and services we used, and the introduction of Microsoft Teams have brought SharePoint back into the ‘circle of friends’.

User adoption has always been a struggle as users had to navigate away from their normal workplace to open the web browser and navigate to the libraries and lists they use.
When Microsoft Teams was launched, many of my clients asked whether SharePoint would still be used. To answer this, I need to explain what happens when a Microsoft Team is created.

Microsoft Teams

When a Team is built it provisions the following for you:

  • SharePoint Site Collection
  • Shared OneNote / Planner
  • Shared Mailbox / Calendar
  • PowerBI Workspace / Stream Group
  • Office365 Group for permissions / distribution list

Yes, that’s right, a SharePoint Site Collection is built in the background. Which means that all documents you share in your Team (through Conversations which is Skype for Business, or in the File Tab) will be stored in SharePoint in the document library – automatically. I think that’s amazing, as users do not need to navigate to SharePoint to upload content after they’ve collaborated on it in Skype for Business.

Let me give you an overview of the role of SharePoint in your Microsoft Team:

Apps in Office 365

Dependant on your subscription you could see the following apps in your Office 365 portal:
Admin - Your admin web portal—for managing people accounts and settings for each subscription.
Bookings - Online appointment scheduling for your small business. Your customers schedule appointments through Bookings and automatically get confirmations, reminders, updates, and cancellation notices.
Calendar - Schedule and share meeting and event times, and automatically get reminders.
Delve  - Get personal insights and relevant information based on who you work with and the content you work on.
Dynamics 365 - Break down the silos between your business processes and applications with Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Excel - Do more with the tool you already know. Discover and connect to data, model and analyze it, and visualize insights.
Flow - Create workflows between your apps, files, and data to automate time-consuming tasks so you can focus on what's next.
Forms - Create surveys, quizzes, and polls in minutes. Send them to anyone and easily see results in real time.
MyAnalytics - Create better work habits. MyAnalytics shows you how you spend your time at work with insights into your meetings, email, and focus hours.
Newsfeed - Stay connected to your organization's social pulse while on the go. Easily navigate your news feeds to have meaningful conversations.
OneDrive - Store your files in one place, share them with others, and get to them from any device connected to the Internet.
OneNote - Capture notes by typing, drawing, or writing. OneNote lets you organize and reuse your notes across all your devices.
Outlook - Use business-class email through a rich and familiar Outlook experience you can access from your desktop or a web browser.
People - Organize your contact info for all your friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances in one place. It's faster than ever to keep in touch.
Planner - Create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you're working on, and get progress updates with Planner.
Power BI - Create actionable, dynamic, and engaging data dashboards to share with your company or school.
PowerApps - Build mobile and web apps with the data your organization already uses.
PowerPoint - Take your presentation to the next level. Design like a professional.
Security & Compliance - Meet your organization's legal, regulatory, and technical standards for content security and data use.
SharePoint - Share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information, and seamlessly collaborate across the organization.
StaffHub - Manage your work schedule online. Request time off, swap shifts, and communicate directly with your co-workers and supervisors.
Stream - Share videos of classes, meetings, presentations, training sessions, or other videos with people in your company or school.
Sway - Create and share engaging interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. Sway does the design work for you.
Tasks - Create and manage tasks in Outlook.
Teams - The customizable chat-based team workspace in Office 365.
To-Do - Manage, prioritize, and complete the most important things you need to achieve every day.
Video - Share videos of classes, meetings, presentations, training sessions, or other videos with people in your company or school.
Word - Bring out your best writing. Going from a blank page to a beautiful document is easier than ever.
Yammer - Connect to the right people, share information across teams, and organize around projects with co-workers or classmates.

SharePoint Integration with other Apps

Microsoft Flow

In Microsoft Flow you’ll find templates created to integrate with SharePoint. Today I found 147 templates available to get more from your data in SharePoint:

SharePoint Templates in Microsoft Flow

Figure 3:  SharePoint Templates in Microsoft Flow


You’ll also notice the ability in SharePoint to use PowerApps to create an app and customize your forms:

sharepoint integration with powerapps
Figure 4:  SharePoint Integration with PowerApps

Apps and Web Parts

On SharePoint you can add your own apps, for example document libraries, lists, calendars, tasks etc:

SharePoint Apps

Figure 5:  SharePoint Apps

On the pages you can add various web parts, many of these are integrations into other apps and services. For example, Bing Maps, Stream, Twitter & Yammer:

SharePoint Web Parts

Figure 6:  SharePoint Web Parts

SharePoint for your Intranet

Finally, SharePoint is the perfect platform for your Intranet. With the launch of Communication sites, it got even easier as the new templates are fully responsive and beautiful to say the least. The newsfeed on these sites also integrate to the SharePoint Mobile App:

SharePoint Communication Sites

Figure 7:  SharePoint Communication Sites

Read our blog: “Understanding SharePoint Communication Sites, Newsfeed, and Mobile Apps” to see more on this.

Let me show you how a Communication Site Template can be used to build your Intranet:


I hope by now you’ll understand that SharePoint is here to stay. How we access and use it might have changed, but SharePoint’s role in your company is as critical as ever, if not more.

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Tracy van der Schyff

Tracy is a Microsoft MVP and an energetic, hyperactive adrenaline junkie who sees challenges and issues as opportunities and thrives on improving processes, environments and the general quality of life. Her broad knowledge about IT and Business gives her the ability to communicate on both levels and convey meaningful requirements and narrow the (ever present) gap between the two.

Written By: Tracy van der Schyff