What are Office 365 Connectors? – By Bob Milliken

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Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Microsoft recently announced a new feature in Office 365 Groups called Connectors, which you can use to connect with popular third party services without ever having to leave your Outlook client. This means relevant content and updates that you want are sent immediately to your group feed, making workflow more seamless. Here’s how Office 365 Connectors can help you;

What can they do for me?

Office 365 Connectors enable you to access third party apps and services within your Outlook groups, rather than having to scour through dozens of windows to access a specific application. This new feature allows you to keep your company’s discussion in one place, and enables your employees to stay up-to-date regardless of the service used to broadcast an event. Groups aren’t limited to one particular service either – Twitter, Mailchimp, UserVoice and host of others are available.

Small organizations can also take advantage of connectors. Office 365 lets you develop your own connectors by embedding the Connect to Office 365 button on your site. Basically, with connectors, your Office 365 client becomes a hub for third party that keeps your company in sync to get more work done.

 What are connector cards?

Connector cards offer a user friendly way to interact with external applications. If a particular connector is added to a group, connector cards are generated within the group’s activity feed. While most cards will display events in plain text, some applications like Twitter and Trello provide formatted actions to interact with the card. Trello, for example, allows you to Assign or Comment on an event card.

 Who can create a connector?

Office 365 group members can configure and use an array of connectors. Once you configure a connector for a specific group, that app will be also be available for other members. However, the person who added a connector to the group is the only one capable of modifying that app.

 How do I access Office 365 connectors?

Any Office 365 Mail user can use Office 365 Connectors for Groups. Simply navigate to a Group from your Outlook page and click on the Connectors tab at the top of the page. From here, you can connect the available third party services on offer to any of your Outlook groups. You can even configure the settings of your apps without ever having to leave Office 365. However you should probably only consider pulling in the applications that you think your group will be using the most.

As your business grows, you’re going to need more services to be more productive in the workplace. By aggregating them all in one place, you save time shifting around dozens of apps to find the information that you need. So the next time you create an Office 365 Group, help your team members work more efficiently by setting up some connectors.

 Bob Milliken is the TheITGuy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com and specializes in helping businesses with their IT needs. Connect with him at 604.270.1730