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July 3, 2020

Microsoft Teams, Outlook Groups, Yammer Communities: What to Use When

Not sure what to use between Microsoft Teams, Outlook Groups, SharePoint Online, or Yammer Communities? In this article, we are going to talk through each platform in detail to clarify what to use and when.

Productivity and Collaboration with the Right Office 365 Tool

Not sure how to best collaborate and communicate in your digital workplace? Are you always wondering which Office 365 tool to use? 

The plethora of collaboration tools in digital workplaces can be tiresome. With more digital workplace and collaboration tools than ever, we’re left more confused and we’re not sure which Office 365 tool to pick for our teams. That is the paradox of choice.

Perhaps you’d tap into your network to recommend a project, team, or knowledge management tool to get work done. Yet, you’re still not sure how to stay organized, collaborate, and communicate with the efficiency your business demands. 

We get it. It’s not easy to get things done while staying organized and productive all the time. 

One Size Never Fits

It’s never a one size fits all solution. Digital workplaces are unique. Each organization has its own way of communicating and collaborating, with specific information sharing and knowledge transfer needs and requirements.

The good news is, with Orchestry it doesn’t have to be that way.

Orchestry eliminates the confusion and indecision that comes with too many Office 365 choices so that you can focus on getting things done with the right tool for the right purpose. 

Each Office 365 tool serves a purpose and has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s very important to list and prioritize what’s important for your business. That’s why we at Orchestry take the time to assess your Office 365 technology needs to uncover the right tool for your specific use case(s).

Craft a Tailored Employee Experience

Craft the right digital experience with Microsoft Teams and other Office 365 Tools. Orchestry helps you maximize your teams’ productivity and create collaborative digital workplaces that leverage the right Office 365 tools.

Let’s look at Microsoft Teams and how it compares to other Office 365 Tools with regards to speed of communication, information sharing, knowledge transfer, governance, and confidentiality.

ms teams meeting for microsoft project management
Image: Microsoft Teams for Digital Meetings

MS Teams vs Yammer Communities

Not sure whether to use MS Teams or Yammercommunities? Orchestry has got your back.

Leveraging Office 365 Groups, both MS Teams and Yammer apps help you work better with people and easily share information by saving files on SharePoint sites, thanks to the integration with SharePoint Online. Each channel in a Microsoft Teams team gets a folder within the SharePoint Online Document Library.

Also, your MS Teams team (aka Group members) can be part of a private (by invitation only) or public (open for anyone) group.

If you’re trying to get work done within a close-knit group and have a single view of your team’s activities, use MS Teams.

MS Teams is best for instant and fast communication for smaller teams. Communication is usually informal and between members who work with each other regularly.

With powerful chat, audio/video conferencing, channels, and 3rd party app integrations (e.g. Slack) capabilities, it’s so much easier to communicate, plan, meet, collaborate, and get word done without ever leaving your MS Teams app. Information can be easily shared among team members within conversations in different formats (shared document library, chats, notebook, or app integration). 

Additionally, you can always change membership with no impact on content availability. However, MS Teams usage can be a challenge, especially with confidential information if default settings are not managed to control access to sensitive information.

 If you’re trying to bring people together or foster open communications across your organization, use Yammer. 

Yammer is more inclusive for two-way communications. It’s great at pushing communications, creating discussions, and conversations between leadership and staff or crowdsourcing ideas. 

Communications aren’t restricted to your immediate teams. Collaboration in Yammer doesn’t have to be work-related. You can simply join a Yammer community that’s important to your line of work to share and discuss expertise or best practices. Yammer can be used for all sorts of groups that share a specific interest.

Information is easily shared but you may lose track of specific content without proper tagging or group maintenance. Yammer isn’t for sharing sensitive information.

Outlook Groups across desktop & mobile view
Image: MS Outlook -Desktop and mobile

MS Teams vs Outlook Groups

Just like MS Teams, Outlook Groups are ideally suited to small groups or close-knit teams.

With Outlook Groups, communications are sent via, you guessed it, Microsoft Outlook! All email conversations and attachments are retained in one central place. Also, with MS Outlook shared calendar, members of your Outlook Groups have shared visibility into meetings, events, and out of office notifications.

Information is usually shared as attachments and stored in the Office 365 Groups document library or files repository. Similar to MS Teams, change in membership in Outlook Groups has no impact on content availability and newly added members can access old files.

Outlook Groups are not designed, however, to keep the conversation flowing and maintain timely communications.

Also, without the appropriate level of transparency, sensitive information can be exposed in Outlook Groups if the default settings are not carefully managed to control access.

Microsoft Office 365 - Microsoft SharePoint - Dashboard display on mobile and desktop
Image: Office 365 - SharePoint

MS Teams vs SharePoint Online

Think SharePoint Online for document management.

A single source of truth where you can find and access documents on SharePoint sites and folders. SharePoint Online is your go-to collaboration Office 365 tool for directing users to specific documents or leveraging content across your Office 365 Group.

Documents are organized for all team members and always available even if the content owner gets deactivated. What’s more, knowledge is easily transferred and maintained with co-editing, document versioning capabilities, and authorizations for external authorized users.

Similar to MS Teams, you can control the access and privileges to your SharePoint sites. Some sites can be limited to your team members while others can be public, or open for everyone in your organization. Sensitive documents may require additional safeguards for compliance.

Yet, unlike MS teams, SharePoint Online is not designed to communicate unless documents are shared from within another Office 365 tool such as MS Teams. SharePoint Online works best with MS Teams but can’t deliver everything MS Teams can do for your team.

Work Smarter in MS Teams, Yammer and Outlook with Orchestry

At Orchestry, our mission is to make work simple in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online and across Microsoft 365 by empowering your IT Administrators and employees to define a winning Microsoft 365 adoption and change management strategy that provides a roadmap of what to use when, for what purpose.

Orchestry increases usage and adoption while empowering through governance and simplifies through intelligent provisioning in Microsoft 365, organization-wide at a fraction of the cost, on a subscription basis.

To see Orchestry in action, send us an email at or start your free access now!

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