Microsoft 365 Groups vs Distribution Lists – What You Need to Know

Microsoft 365 Groups vs Distribution Lists – What You Need to Know

If your company is thinking about moving to Office 365 – or you have already – then welcome to the club! You are now one of the one billion people harnessing the power of Microsoft’s suite of apps to improve business efficiency and enhance productivity.

Microsoft has been one of the big guys for a long time – but it really came into its own in 2020, when many organizations were forced to embrace remote working. In fact, Microsoft Office 365 witnessed a 21% rise in usage to 258 million users in 2020, and the number of Teams users went from 20 million in 2019 to 115 million in 2020.

It is fair to say that Microsoft is great – and Office 365 can be super valuable for businesses of all sizes. However, like all new technologies, making the most out of the Microsoft suite requires a bit of practice, exploration, and trial and error. Microsoft has a lot of features that are easy to miss unless you know about them! Some features also seem to allude to users, and they’re not exactly sure how they work.

One feature of Microsoft 365 that businesses often tell us they are confused about is Microsoft 365 groups. In particular, they wonder how it differs from traditional distribution lists.

If this question has been on your mind too, then keep reading this article! We will explain everything there is to know about Microsoft 365 groups – and how this feature is different from distribution lists.

Quick definitions

Before we compare Microsoft 365 groups with distribution lists, we thought it would be helpful to give a quick overview of each.

  • Distribution lists: A distribution list is a group of email recipients that can be contacted via a single address. The distribution list looks like a regular email address. For example, if you have a marketing team in your business with three people, you could set up a distribution list with the email marketing@domain.comand add each individual marketing team member to the list. When you send an email to the name of the distribution list, all the team members will receive the email. This can save time for large teams with many email recipients. It also reduces the likelihood of an employee forgetting someone in an email!
  • 365 groups: Office 365 groups are kind of like collaborative software that goes into the expansive lists of usage. They have the functionality of distribution lists for email – and much more! With an Office 365 group, your team can share resources across Microsoft applications. They can, for example, share calendars, access the same documents over SharePoint, and receive emails to a shared inbox.

Essentially, 365 groups provide you with all the functionality of distribution groups – and then some! It’s excellent for enhancing collaboration – especially if your employees work from home.

Let’s look at the differences in more detail.

How Microsoft 365 Groups goes beyond distribution lists

Microsoft 365 groups for Outlook is a collaboration tool for teams and groups that makes it easy to find and share resources. Features include:

  • Shared files library– Your Group will have a dedicated SharePoint where team members can share and collaborate on documents and other files.
  • Shared calendar– Your Group will have access to a shared calendar, where team meetings can be inputted. Each member can respond to events so that they also appear in their personal calendars.
  • Shared OneNote notebook– Users can use a shared OneNote notebook for collaborative note-taking.
  • Guest access– You can add clients and partners to your Group as needed.
  • Customizable– By default, Groups are set to public, making it easy for members of your organization to find a team – and join the Group if they wish. Alternatively, you can set a Group to private so that only team members can view it. Other employees will have to request access to join.

Getting started with Microsoft 365 Groups

It’s straightforward to upgrade your distribution lists to Microsoft 365 Groups. Our experienced team can do this for you. We offer managed IT services, where we act as the administrator for your Microsoft 365 accounts.

We can help you to create and manage your groups. We can even deliver training to your employees so that they understand how to use Groups to their full potential. We will help you get the most out of Microsoft 365 so that you use the solution to its utmost potential.

Are You Getting Your Full ROI from Microsoft 365?

Do not leave value on the table just because you are not sure how to best use a Microsoft 365 app, like 365 Groups. Twin State Technical Services has software integration experts who can help your Quad Cities area business optimize your M365 utilization.

Contact us today for a consultation. Call 563-441-1504 or contact us online.

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