Connect your favorite tools and apps to Outlook Groups to improve collaboration within your teams.

If you work in most any technology driven organization, you’re aware of the many web based tools that help keep the day to day functions of a business running. For many years these were disparate tools that didn’t work well together.

group of people standing behind a desk looking at computer screen

Over the past several years, communication tools have begun to integrate with other web based tools to make communication among team members much smoother. In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced that it’s adding Office 365 Connectors to Outlook Groups which will enable integrations with various apps and services such as Trello, Twitter, GitHub, Salesforce, Wunderlist, Visual Studio Team Services, MailChimp, Asana, Stack Overflow, Zendesk and many others.

How do Office 365 Connectors work?

Connectors are online services, tools, and apps such as Trello, Twitter, Salesforce or RSS, that allow your team to connect and collaborate, track projects, keep tabs on current events, and more. Office 365 Connectors are tightly integrated with Office 365 Groups and take just a few minutes to setup.

These connectors fall into a variety of different categories to suit the needs of every type of team member including those focused on information gathering (RSS, Bing News) or productivity (Asana, Trello) to developer tools (Stack Overflow, BuildKite), to email marketing providers (MailChimp) and much more. Users can hook multiple connectors to a group and when connected are available to all members of the group.

When you connect an app or tool to a group, everyone that has access to that group can see the messages being delivered by that service. For instance, if your group wanted to follow news updates about your company, you could add the Bing News connector to your group and configure it to send links to news stories and even specify the frequency of delivery. When news reports are sent to the group, everyone can easily access and respond to them.

The Office 365 connector messages are provided via rich connector cards, that can be easily viewed across multiple clients including Outlook for Windows, Outlook on the web, and in the Groups app for Android and iOS.

How to add and remove a connector

Adding or removing connectors requires that you are using Outlook on the web. All group members can add or remove connectors. The person who adds the connector is the only one that can modify its settings.

Add a connector

  1. Browse to one of your groups in Outlook on the web.
  2. On the menu ribbon, select Connectors.
  3. Browse through the list of connectors to find the one you want to add and select Add.
  4. Follow the instructions to set up the connector. All connectors may not be set up in the exact same way, but each connector offers step by step instructions to walk you through the process.

Remove a connector

  1. From Outlook on the web, browse to the group where you want to remove one or more connectors.
  2. Select Connectors from the menu ribbon.
  3. Browse to the individual connector that you want to remove and click Configured. You’ll see the number on the button which indicates the number of instances of this particular connector that are configured within your group.
  4. Locate the specific instance of the connector that you want to remove and click View.
  5. Click Remove.

Connectors bring additional versatility to Office 365

The introduction of Office 365 Groups already significantly streamlined communications among team members within a group. Adding Office 365 Connectors to the mix increases the ways in which team members can communicate, collaborate, and automate various functions within their groups. For more information on putting Office 365 Connectors in action within your organization, contact a MessageOps team member today.

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