Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams – A Comparison

Megha Sharma
Megha Sharma | Updated On - 23 Mar 2022 |

Read time 4 minutes

“For providing collaboration facilities to a group of users, Microsoft 365 has a Group feature integrated with it. A recently introduced feature named Team in Microsoft 365 does a similar function with many differences. Let us have a discussion on it.”

What is a Microsoft 365 Groups?

In general, we can say that it is a service provided by Microsoft 365, an object in Azure Active Directory where members are provided with collaboration facilities with integration to OneNote, SharePoint Site, Planner, etc.

A Microsoft 365 admin can create a Group and add members to it. They can add members to the Group to let them access its resources. There is no need for assigning permissions manually to access resources as it is automatically assigned to all the added members. The Group can be private or public and can be created from different applications like Teams, SharePoint, Planner, Outlook, Outlook on the web, etc. It works with all these Office 365 applications, ensuring collaboration, communication, and data sharing between different platforms. Also, it allows shared access to a collection of resources. Here is the Microsoft representation of Office 365 Groups.Microsoft representation of Office 365 groups

What is a Microsoft Team?

Teams is a Microsoft 365 feature that allows its members to have video chats, chats, document sharing, file sharing, voice calls, meetings, and many other services. Teams work as a platform for many services including those services which they are using with Microsoft 365 Groups. Team is mainly meant for secure internal communication based on chat. Its advantage is that it supports even video chats. When a Team is created, an Office 365 Group and SharePoint document library are created. Alternately, administrators can create Team for an existing Group.

Groups and Teams – How are They Connected?

Many experts consider Microsoft 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams as complementary applications. Whenever a Team is created, a private Microsoft 365 Group gets created automatically. Also, there is a provision to add a Team site to an available Microsoft 365 Group. All the files, documents, and data get saved within the SharePoint site for Teams and Groups. While working on Teams, users are actually benefiting from the features of the Group. When you create a Channel, you get a dedicated folder in the SharePoint document library for it. So, one can see that Teams are dependent on other services.

Group and Team – How do they differ?

A Microsoft 365 Group differs from a Microsoft Team in many ways. Some of them are listed here:

  • Different interfaces: Microsoft 365 Group has more an Outlook-like interface than Microsoft Team. But Teams look more modern in appearance
  • Communication features: Microsoft Team facilitates voice calling, video calling, etc., unlike Microsoft 365 Group
  • Security: Teams cannot have users from outside and security is decided as per the requirements. Groups allow external users as Guests through invitations.
  • Microsoft 365 plan: Users must have Exchange Online plan to have the Microsoft 365 Group feature, but this is not required for Team.
  • Applications: Team has desktop apps while Group does not. However, both have applications available on all mobile platforms (Android, iOS, and Windows).

It is clear that there is no competition between Microsoft 365 Group and Microsoft Team – both go hand-in-hand. Microsoft 365 group and Microsoft Teams work together – Groups act as a platform that allows Azure Active Directory users to collaborate and share files, while Microsoft Teams helps in organizing these files and communicating in different ways.

Both Team and Group can co-exist; Team can be connected to Group easily using Microsoft 365 interface options. For Group users, facilities like File Storage by SharePoint, Planner, OneNote, Exchange mailbox, etc. are available. It is important to know about certain limitations though when a Team is connected with the already existing group.

  • Need to add a SharePoint tab in Team to view File Storage from Group.
  • Groups or Planner cannot view new Planner tasks within Team.
  • Teams cannot access Planner, OneNote content existing within Group.
Microsoft 365 Groups Microsoft Teams
Groups have a user interface like Outlook. Microsoft Teams has a dedicated user interface designed for easy communication and sharing.
The administrator can invite users from the external environment as guests. The external users cannot communicate with Team members.
Groups can function with Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. Video Calling and voice chatting is available in Teams.
Groups do not require manual permissions to the users to access resources. There is a dedicated desktop application available for Teams.
Groups can be linked with the newly created Teams. When the Administrator creates Teams, then the Group, SharePoint Document Library, and OneNote Notebook are created automatically.
Groups can be linked with external third-party applications. Teams can integrate with external third-party applications.

Conclusion

Microsoft Groups and Teams provide collaboration facilities to its users. They are actually complementary applications that work together to give a better collaboration and sharing experience to all Office 365 users. Both these together can help in improving productivity in the organization. Hope you got some idea about Microsoft 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams through this article!