Using Office 365 Groups without Exchange Online




My company would like to start using Planner and SharePoint Group sites (and OneDrive group documents). But since we are using another email solution (at this time) we plan not to enable Exchange Online licenses to our Office 365 users.


1) If no solution on: Do anyone know if it´s possible to deactivate a O365 user personal-mailbox, but give access to o365 group mailboxes?


2) I see that o365 Group member administration is tight connected to "Exchange online". This is not a good thing given that we plan to not enable Exchange Online licenses to our Office 365 users. Is it any plan to disconnect O365 Group member administration from Exchange Online?


3) If a user without Exchange Online license in Planner in the ... dropdown menu he/she will have possibility to eg. click on "Conversation". The user will then get a NOT Nice web-page telling "Something went wrong". These menu-elements pointing to Exchange Online should have been hidden if the user is not assigned a Exchange Online license.


Do anyone have thoughts around this?



Br. Rune

11 Replies
AFAIK, Exchange Online is a requirement to have both Groups and Planner working

Perhaps consider turning on Exchange Online for your users and setting up automatic forwarders to your official email addresses?

@Juan Carlos González Martín have you seen Groups in an Exchange Hybrid setup?

Not in my case, @Tony Redmond and @Christophe Fiessinger can share more insights here about Groups in a hybrid architecture....I don't think at this time an hybrid architecture could be a solution for this scenario

Hybrid isn't an option here. The situation is that you need accounts with Exchange Online mailboxes to be functional before you can use those accounts to access Teams and Planner. Hybrid accounts can't be used.

@Tony Redmond @Juan Carlos González Martín, what are the implications if Exchange Online is operational and users have a license but the primary SMTP / Mailbox is on prem and not in Exchange Online, so in actual fact Exchange Online is using the .onmicrosoft address?


Would this work? I have a few customers that have Exchange on prem and no plans to move to Exchange Online in the immediate future, but would like to use Groups....

AFAIK, you need an Exchange Online mailbox to access the group mailbox. Someone with an on-premises mailbox can't access that mailbox.

It is possible to use Groups with onpremises mailboxes in a hybrid scenario according to this article:


I have not set it up myself yet but according to these settings this should work and you should be able to communicate with a group from Outlook 2016.



What the article is saying is that with Azure AD Connect you can write back groups to your OnPrem environment but it's not saying you will setup an OnPrem Inbox for the's also interesting that you need Azure AD Premium for this

That is correct: the group inbox will be on Exchange Online. But Onprem users will be able to communicate with Groups. Yes, it is a downside that you need AAD Premium. But it may be a solution if a hybrid setup is needed for a longer timeframe.

My question is if there is no hybrid in existance, mailboxes are all on prem but users have been given an exchange license so i assume they get a .onmicrosoft address?

Will Groups work?