Brandon Bowlin / / Categories: Best Practices, SharePoint/OneDrive, Microsoft

Using the Right Communication Tool

It’s important to understand that there are always multiple solutions to any problem but not all solutions are created equal.  Have you ever heard the expression “If all you have is a hammer, then you treat everything as a nail” and realized that sometimes what you really need is a screwdriver?  Now take the opposite approach … what if you have an entire drawer of different screwdrivers?

Office 365 provides an entire toolbox of applications, all with their own capabilities.  Not only is it important to use the right tool for the job; it’s important to use the BEST tool for the job.  This blog is going to focus on one small piece of Office 365:  team communications and conversations; and try to help you pick the best screwdriver.

Office 365 Groups:

At a base level, think of an Office 365 Group like a distribution list.  It provides a simple method to send out emails to groups of users all at once with the added benefit of having a shared calendar and document repository.

General communications occur using Outlook Conversations.  The O365 Group has a mailbox tied to it not only allowing to send emails to the Group address but allow allowing you to review all prior threads.  For those wanting to use Outlook and email as a primary means of communication then Groups might be the best app for you.

Microsoft Teams:

Microsoft Teams is built on top of Office 365 Groups, adding the capabilities of persistent chat and conversations viewed in a chatroom.  Users can also create channels, providing separation in order to isolate specific topics.  You can also host team meetings (bringing in the Skype aspects) and all conversation are stored even after the meeting has completed.

If you want all the capabilities of Office 365 Groups, plus a little more, then Microsoft Teams might be the best app for you.


Yammer conversations occur in a forum-like environment, often compared to a “corporate Facebook”.  Conversations are generally public and great for wide distribution of information.  Users also have the added benefit of each thread having its own URL that can be used to direct others to the conversation.


Groups, Teams and Yammer are just three of the tools within Office 365 that can be used for communications.  How do you decide which is right for you though?  Hopefully this table with help: 


Conversational Tool


When to Use It

Office 365 Groups

Distribution-list type of mailbox, using Outlook Conversations

  • When email will be the primary communication method
  • When not expecting immediate responses


Microsoft Teams

Conversations occur via Live, Persistent Chat

  • When expecting an immediate response
  • Day-to-day interactions with team members


Forum-type conversations in a thread

  • Not time sensitive or perhaps even expecting a response
  • Public dissemination of information

Office 365 comes loaded with a multitude of applications with endless capabilities.  Pre-planning, understanding and assessing those capabilities are key to ensuring that your users are getting the most value out of Office 365.  Using the right tool right job can ensure full adoption and utilization of services, giving you the biggest bang for the buck.  If you’d like assistance in discovering those capabilities and determining how you can put O365 to work for you, check out our full suite of services at!/Office365.aspx or attend our webinar: Using the Right Collaboration tool with Brandon on August 24th at 2-3pm ET.

 Register Here


Work with our team of Cloud Computing Consultants who have done this so many times they know all of the “minefields” to prevent missteps.