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Rolling out: tenant admin tools to connect existing SharePoint team sites to new Office 365 Groups

It’s time to start bringing the power of Office 365 Groups to your classic team sites!  Last year at Ignite, we shared our plans to provide the ability to connect existing SharePoint team sites to new Office 365 Groups.  Starting today, we are rolling out the first part of this feature, providing the ability for tenant admins to connect existing SharePoint Online classic team sites to new groups. 

 

This feature will be made available in two stages:

 

Stage 1:  Tenant admin tools

Initially, tenant and global administrators will be able to use an API or PowerShell cmdlet to connect existing SharePoint Online classic team sites to new groups.  These tools are being rolled out now and should be available in your tenant over the next few days.

connect group cmdlet.PNGExample PowerShell cmdlet to connect an existing team site to a new Office 365 Group

Stage 2:  User experience for site collection administrators

Later in May, we will allow site collection administrators to connect sites to new groups using a command on the Settings menu in classic team sites.

 

When the user experience ships, its visibility will be managed by a tenant-level setting. By default, the new experience will be available to site collection administrators. A tenant administrator can change the setting to hide the command from the Settings menu. We are shipping the administrative setting as part of Stage 1, so a tenant administrator can determine the visibility of the Settings menu command before it rolls out.

 

How should I prepare for this feature

  • Use the SharePoint modernization scanner tool to assess the readiness of the site collections in your tenant for this feature. This tool is a great resource to plan out your site modernization strategy and will create an in-depth report, including areas that need attention prior to running the feature.  The tool and instructions for its use are here.
  • If you would like to enable site collection administrators to connect classic sites to groups with the command on the Settings menu when we make it available, you don’t need to do anything. If, however, you would like to disable this option, you will need to change the default setting.  Details on how you can change this setting can be found here. Note that tenant and global admins will always have the ability to connect sites to groups using the PowerShell cmdlet or API.

Resources

 

Call to action

If you are a tenant or global admin, we’d love for you to give this feature a try as soon as it is available in your tenant in the next few days!  Start by reviewing the documentation above, run the scanner tool in your environment, pick some classic sites to test, and run them through this feature.

 

Please share comments, feedback and your questions below!

 

Thanks!

Tejas 

50 Comments

Finally!!! I have seen that the cmdlet is part of the April release of the SPO Management shell :-)

Occasional Contributor

Great feature.

 

One the command runs in Power Shell how long should it take to be completed or should a completed message be returned?

 

 

New Contributor

Good to see this rolling out. Will try it out in a dev tenant as soon as it is ready. For the folks that are planning on using this feature and can’t quite test it out:

- Does the O365 group end up with two sites? - the one originally provisioned and the newly associated? How does the UI then represent the two sites and provide navigation to them? What documents library is used to backend channels in an MS Team that has been associated to the group.

or

- Does the O365 group have its original site switched out for the newly associated classic site? If so does the library that is used to backend the MS Team channels get deleted or copied in to the classic site?

 

Microsoft

@Andrew Reynolds - The PowerShell cmdlet should not take very long to run, and it will simply return to the command prompt without a message.  If it fails, you should see errors.

 

@Andrew Jolly - Great question!  Basically what happens is that a new Office 365 Group is created, but instead of provisioning a new SharePoint team site for it, we simply "publish" the site you are connecting to it.  The key point is that a *new* Office 365 Group is created, and its SharePoint resources in Azure Active Directory point to the site you just connected (rather than a fresh new one).

 

Hope this helps!

 

Tejas

New Contributor

@Tejas MehtaThanks for the response, my apologies I read through the original post way to fast (too much excitement), I was assuming that the new capability would pair an existing classic site to an existing Group site, not sure why I dreamt up that that train smash scenario. Group enabling an existing site is great news.

 

Occasional Contributor

@Tejas Mehta thanks for the reply.  The script ran with out an error but 8 hours later the new group hasn’t been created. How long do you expect the background process to run, what would happen if I ran the script a second time?

Yep, seeing the same...after many hours, the group is not there yet

Occasional Contributor

Wonderful!! Such a great new! I will try to test it now!


@Tejas Mehta wrote:

It’s time to start bringing the power of Office 365 Groups to your classic team sites!  Last year at Ignite, we shared our plans to provide the ability to connect existing SharePoint team sites to new Office 365 Groups.  Starting today, we are rolling out the first part of this feature, providing the ability for tenant admins to connect existing SharePoint Online classic team sites to new groups. 

 

This feature will be made available in two stages:

 

Stage 1:  Tenant admin tools

Initially, tenant and global administrators will be able to use an API or PowerShell cmdlet to connect existing SharePoint Online classic team sites to new groups.  These tools are being rolled out now and should be available in your tenant over the next few days.

connect group cmdlet.PNGExample PowerShell cmdlet to connect an existing team site to a new Office 365 Group

Stage 2:  User experience for site collection administrators

Later in May, we will allow site collection administrators to connect sites to new groups using a command on the Settings menu in classic team sites.

 

When the user experience ships, its visibility will be managed by a tenant-level setting. By default, the new experience will be available to site collection administrators. A tenant administrator can change the setting to hide the command from the Settings menu. We are shipping the administrative setting as part of Stage 1, so a tenant administrator can determine the visibility of the Settings menu command before it rolls out.

 

How should I prepare for this feature

  • Use the SharePoint modernization scanner tool to assess the readiness of the site collections in your tenant for this feature. This tool is a great resource to plan out your site modernization strategy and will create an in-depth report, including areas that need attention prior to running the feature.  The tool and instructions for its use are here.
  • If you would like to enable site collection administrators to connect classic sites to groups with the command on the Settings menu when we make it available, you don’t need to do anything. If, however, you would like to disable this option, you will need to change the default setting.  Details on how you can change this setting can be found here. Note that tenant and global admins will always have the ability to connect sites to groups using the PowerShell cmdlet or API.

Resources

 

Call to action

If you are a tenant or global admin, we’d love for you to give this feature a try as soon as it is available in your tenant in the next few days!  Start by reviewing the documentation above, run the scanner tool in your environment, pick some classic sites to test, and run them through this feature.

 

Please share comments, feedback and your questions below!

 

Thanks!

Tejas 


 

Occasional Visitor

That is great!

 

How does this work with Project Online - Project Sites? We have a bunch of Site Mailboxes in production that would love to migrate to Groups

Joaquin,

You can add a new Group to existing Site Collections so in terms of Project Online you could add a new group to each Project Online Site Collection you have, but not to the Project Sites

Occasional Visitor

Thanks Juan  Carlos,

 

it was understood according 

 

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/use-office-365-groups-instead-of-site-mailboxes-737d6b1f-67...

 

that Site Mailboxes will be replaced by Office 365 Groups.

 

There is no sense in creating one Group for one PWA when we have around 120 projects with Project Sites and Site Mailboxes.

Trusted Contributor
Please forgive my ignorance: what is the difference between a tenant administrator and a global administrator? I don't see any reference to tenant administrators here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/about-office-365-admin-roles-da585eea-f576-4f55-a1e0-87090b... Thanks.

Well,

You are partially right...Office 365 Groups replace Site Mailboxes as you mention, but Office 365 are site collection scoped so you cannot have an Office 365 Group tied to a SPO Subsite...here is where services such as Project Online are basically no covered by the new design pattern pushed by Microsoft where every time you create a Group or a Team, you are creating a Site Collection behind the scenes...in Project Online, every time you create a Project Site, you are creating a subsite in your PWA instance...adding here @Tony Redmond @Susan Hanley  to start a good discussion here :-)

I believe that the plan is to use these tools (or similar) to migrate from site mailboxes to Groups.

 

In the interim, it is easy enough to see how you could migrate manually (at least for documents) by using the OneDrive client to synchronize the libraries belonging to site mailboxes and those belonging to new groups that you create as a migration target. Then, use Windows Explorer to copy the files from the site mailboxes libraries to the groups libraries. 

 

If you have any messages that you need to recover from the site mailboxes, you can email them to the group... 

Yep, but the point here @Tony Redmond is the lack of flexibility in Project Online where each Project is just a subsite under the PWA Site Collection so you cannot "Groupify" each project site, you can only do for the PWA Site Collection

Occasional Visitor

Sounds good Juan Carlos,

very straightforward and clear answer, then what is the recommended strategy for clients already using Site Mailboxes with Project Server 2013?

We are about to migrate to Project Online in a couple of months. 

 

We would love to see a mix of Teams/Groups features for Project Sites but this seems to be very far away from where we would like.  

Right, so you would have to manually process each sub-site to a target Office 365 group... 

I wish it could be so easy :-)...the problem with Project Online instances is that every time you create a Project, a subsite is created and it's not possible to manually link the  Project to another site collection...it simply does not work. 

Can you synchronize a sub-site for a project with the OneDrive client?

It seems like Project Online has not yet been aligned with the modern concept of no sub-sites. User Voice topic?

Regular Visitor

Fantastic to see this rolling out. From the messaging on this post, is this getting pushed out to Targeted Release only at the moment or GA?

 

What would make it even better in my view:

  • When you choose the Keep Homepage switch, can we get it to not create a home(1).aspx page

  • Can we have a no logo replace switch?

 

Occasional Contributor

@Tejas Mehta@Juan Carlos González Martín

Where the script has run with out error but nothing appears to have happened 24 hours later - do you have an estimated processing time?

Can or should the script be re-run ? ?

Don't want to run again if this could cause issues !

 

Andrew

@Andrew Reynolds I'm essentially having the same issue you are having so I guess the ability to add a Group to an existing SPO site is not yet in my tenant

Microsoft

@Andrew Reynolds & @Juan Carlos González Martín - it is possible that the underlying API has not yet made it to your environment.  Can you PM some details if you are able:

1) Your tenant name

2) Your userid

3) The site you are trying to connect

4) Rough date/time of when you tried running the PowerShell cmdlet

Microsoft

@Kevin Beckett - the global admin tools (e.g. PowerShell cmdlet and API) are being pushed to GA, and can take a few days to fully appear in all environments.

 

On your other questions:

1) If keeping the old homepage - is it a classic page?  Or a modern one?  The primary reasons for adding a new home page to the site are:

- you get the latest home page layout

- it's modern, and you get all the benefits of page authoring, web parts, etc

- you get all the group connected benefits on the page, including group metadata in the header (e.g. privacy, classification, group membership, group info via group card) and left nav (e.g. link to group conversations).  

- includes a link to the previous home page as a sub-node to the 'Home' node in left nav

 

If you already have a modern page as your homepage and like it, you can always delete the home(1).aspx page.  But fair feedback.   

 

2) We're looking at ways to preserve the original site logo as the group's logo, but don't have this feature yet. :)

Microsoft

@Tony Redmond - Yes you can sync project online sites with the OneDrive sync client

 

And for the discussion about connecting site collections - yes only top level site collections are eligible to be connected to new Office 365 Groups.  While those site collections can have subsites, the Office 365 Group created will point to the site collection as it's SharePoint resource.


Generally, if your top level site collection has a site mailbox, connecting it to a new Office 365 Group with this feature and then moving mails over from the site mailbox to the group mailbox is a reasonable approach.  Adding @Mohammad Sarosh if he has any additional comments.  If the site collection has subsites that have their own site mailboxes, those subsites will need to be migrated to top level site collections in order for them to take advantage of Office 365 Group capabilities (including group mailbox). This should be a top consideration for Project Online sites.

Regular Visitor

@Tejas Mehta - thanks for the feedback, this is briliiant, very useful.

From testing the commandlet on a tenancy that does not have the functionality enabled, it will immediately proceed to the next line. When I tested it the following day (today), when it was enabled, it took a bit longer to think about it and process the request (so I guess that can be a way to check if it is enabled yet or not). It would be great if there was some confirmation text to show that the request is being executed or processed though, it would make it a bit more obvious.

Back to my questions...

The homepage for the sites I have tested this on our modern pages. The modern experience has been on the site collections for a while and the site collections might have one or more modern pages already and the transition to this new look and feel is already well underway (the groupification is the last step).

 

I can understand a homepage being created and set when the flag is not present (and I take on board your comments), but I think there are two reasons why someone might want to use the keep homepage flag:

 

1) They have a homepage which they love and it has all of the settings / WebParts and content on it that they need (modern or otherwise). Flipping back to a different one without that content can be confusing for both the users and the admins of the site.

 

2) They want to create the homepage themselves as a secondary step with the correct WebParts as part of the upgrade process (with a predefined pnp template, via a script). Otherwise you might have gone from a fully envisaged beautiful homepage to one with three quick links and a news Web Part (obviously the site admins can change this in the UI).

 

Obviously you could do that after the sites have finished being processed, but due to the asynchronous nature of the process, it's hard to know when the process has completely finished (so you would have an interim homepage until this gets sorted).

 

Now what would be amazing, along with the logo switch, is a way to throw a PnP template into the mix to define the shape and create the homepage once the process has finished.

 

Keep up the great work, I hope this stuff doesn't sound like undue criticism, but more like things that could make it even better :) 

Microsoft

@Salvatore Biscari - sorry for the terminology confusion.  When we say 'tenant admin' we are referring to global admins.

Microsoft

@Kevin Beckett - Love the feedback.

 

1) Agree we should have a warning/error that appears when the underlying API is missing. :)  Since our rollout is expected to take a few days, its absence should only be a transient problem.  But we'll fix that. :)

2) Also great feedback on the homepage.  We did spend a fair bit of time debating whether to automatically provision a new page for every group, and did settle on offering an option to prevent its automatic promotion to being the homepage.  We can see a set of customers that would love to have the option to flip over to the new home page once they've customized it, but also see another set that want full control.  I'll take this as an opportunity to consider the ability to suppress the creation of the new page.

3) On the PnP front, we're definitely looking at ways to offer up ways to configure/customize the way these tools 'modernize' sites.  Stay tuned for more here.


Keep the feedback coming, we love it.


Tejas

@Tejas Mehta what about providing the ability to decide what home page to use for the site you are connection to an Office 365 Group? Scenario: let's imagine a classic SPO site where I have a custom home page that I would like to keep as home page even if I connect the site to a new Group

@Tejas Mehta some more feedback: adding a new group to an existing SPO Site has an unexpected effect...if the site is configured in language that is not English, and you add the new Group, the language of the site is going to be switched to English (default language I have for the user that is adding the Group to the site)

Wonderful and overdue EXCEPT... I bit the bullet a while ago and created new parallel groups for each of my teams/projects, to gain access to Teams/Groups, whilst retaining our old Team Site and file structure. This means I have duplicate Team Sites for each Team which are effectively unused. Is there, or will there be the ability to swap the linked Team Site for an existing Group? Or what is your suggestion to consolidate without losing every document link ever created?
Senior Member

I understand Microsoft Group has only Owner and Member (with edit permission), there is no Read permission. In classic SharePoint site, there is Visitor (Read permission). How this Read permission will take effect when the user accessing the content in Microsoft Team?

Occasional Contributor

@Tejas Mehta 

I was able to successfully use this command to create new group and associate an existing site collection.

But My intranet has several department sub sites created under one site collection. Is there any way to associate new group at subsites level as that will be super helpful.

@Savita Mittal You can only add a new Group at the site collection level. It's not possible to add a Group to a subsite

Regular Contributor

@Savita Mittal Unfortunately for those of us that tried to build a hierarchy of Sites w/ Subsites there is a long arduous migration in our future. I am just hoping that they update the SharePoint migration tool to allow moving objects between SharePoint online sites. I will probably have to make my company buy something like ShareGate though. :(

Occasional Contributor

How do we rollback or if we want to remove o365 group association from the site? How to disconnect the site from the group and then delete the group?

I see many changes after applying this. My site collection is gone from SharePoint admin center ->Site collections. What it means?

I fear this is a one-way trip. If you delete the Office 365 Group, you also delete the associated site...

Microsoft

@Tony Redmond and @Savita Mittal - That is correct.  There is no mechanism to 'detach' a site from its parent Office 365 Group today.  Once a site has been connected to a new Office 365 Group, its lifecycle is governed by that of the group.  

Microsoft

@Robert Woods concerning the migration question :  Since the transforming a normal site collection into a group doesn't break the site structure it is totally appropriate to migrate your site structure as is.

 

If you take a look at the the sharepoint migration tool open beta version , the tool can create the site structure for you.  http://spmtreleasescus.blob.core.windows.net/betainstall/default.htm 

we are in continuous improvement cycles for the tool to do more but even in the long run depending on your need it is totally possible that you will need the help of a 3rd party tool in order to get the full fidelity you might want. 

 

Regular Contributor

@Simon Bourdages Please update the link to be https. also, I cannot find anything in the documentation about the beta tool supporting migrations between SPO sites. 

 

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/SharePoint/migrate-to-sharepoint-online/how-to-use-the-sharepoint-m...

Senior Member

So it looks like the Template doesn't change when you connect a classic site to a new Office 365 group.

 

In the new SP Admin Center the template still shows as 'Team site (classic experience), even after converting. Am I being impatient and this will change after a bit of a delay or is this planned?

 

If planned it results in me getting an error when trying to apply a Site Design (Invoke-SPOSiteDesign), as the Design is built for a Modern Team Site, not a classic one. The only way around this I can see is to connect the site collection to a Hub Site so it inherits the look and feel, but this isn't practical in all cases with the 50 hub limit.

 

Like many customers this is going to be one part of a much bigger strategy to modernise our tenants and we absolutely need the ability to add site designs to these sites to allow us to implement consistent branding.

 

Just want to add, I really like the fact this is now something we can do and don't want to seem negative, I just need the functionality to be enterprise ready before it becomes GA.

Microsoft

@Iain Prout - you are correct, running this feature does not change the web template of the site collection.  This is by design.  

 

As for applying Site Designs, we currently limit their application to modern experience team sites and communication sites.  We do intend to expand template coverage for site designs, and will share additional information soon.  Adding @Sean Squires as FYI.

Microsoft

@Robert Woods  you are correct the SharePoint migration tool does not do  SPO to SPO. we have people looking at this scenario but we have no roadmap on that piece.

Occasional Visitor

@Tejas Mehta How do we know that this feature is available for our tenants?

 

I tried to execute Set-SPOSiteOffice365Group but the command is not getting recognized. I have connected to the tenant using SPOService before executing the command.

Microsoft

@Praveen Kumar Reddy Remata - have you downloaded the latest PowerShell tools for SharePoint Online?  What error message are you seeing?

@Tejas Mehta, no issues after downloading the latest PowerShell tools for SharePoint online, Thanks.

 

One query, is it possible for us to connect existing Office 365 group to an existing Classic SharePoint site.?

 

Microsoft

@Praveen Kumar Reddy Remata - no, it is not currently possible to replace the current site of an Office 365 Group with another classic site.

Occasional Contributor

@Tejas Mehta Can't get this to work using Azure AD App Only client context. 

 

I'm receiving the following exception.

{"odata.error":{"code":"Authorization_RequestDenied","message":{"lang":"en","value":"Insufficient privileges to complete the operation."},"requestId":"c9e74c5a-c5bf-4f2f-ae4e-5d2c29b619d6","date":"2018-07-03T11:50:08"}}


image.png

 

 I've given consent to delegated permission Group.ReadWrite.All.image.png

 

What am I missing?

 

@Tejas Mehta when can we expect availability of below feature

 

"connecting existing SharePoint team sites to existing office 365 groups"

 

is this one in progress or not in plan?

 

Thanks,

Praveen