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SharePoint Teams: Learn about all the integration possibilities of the Microsoft 365 signed duo

You certainly know that the tools in the Microsoft 365 suite are essential for any self-respecting digital workplace.

But do you also know that you can integrate them to unlock new features?

Let's take a look together at one of the most beloved combos: SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams!

SharePoint e Teams:
Two sides of the same coin?

Microsoft offers a range of tools to accomplish all kinds of tasks and simplify one's professional life. Among them, we decided to explore SharePoint Online and Teams today.

The former allows you to create websites, publish content and store files that circulate in your company or are shared for a variety of reasons.

The second needs no introduction: we are sure you have all, at one time or another, used the ultimate professional collaboration and communication app. 
With its meetings, video calls, and chat, it is impossible not to have in front of your eyes those two little blue men with their unmistakable little square and the white T. 

If we were to summarize what distinguishes these two tools, we would probably draw a diagram like the following:

Microsoft SharePoint Online Microsoft Teams

Cloud file storage

Collaboration on shared files
Managing access permissions Coordination between project teams
Branded content creation Real-time communication


Clear, right?

On one hand, we have a platform that allows us to create targeted content for corporate audiences; on the other hand, we have the ideal app to spread all corporate communications across our various teams and channels.

On the one hand, Teams allows us to create dynamic workgroups; on the other hand, SharePoint is the management center from which to control access permissions and store shared documents in a secure, simple and well-organized way.

So let's find out how to bring these complementary pieces together.

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  • 100% integrated with SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365

Microsoft SharePoint Team Site:
How to create a collaboration site with Microsoft Teams


The first type of integration between SharePoint Online and Teams involves groups and team sites.

A Microsoft Teams group is a collaboration space that in fact connects to one or more SharePoint sites. Specifically, we are talking about team sites (if you have no idea what these are, we recommend you check them out here).

This means that whenever you create a Teams group, a team site is automatically created on SharePoint. Here, all the files shared in the linked Teams group are saved and stored.

But of course, that's not all.

Each Teams group can be divided into channels, which are nothing more than smaller teams than the main group. For example, the Marketing group may need channels dedicated to specific products or events to better coordinate the work of its members.

However, there is not just one type of channel in Teams, but three. And to each of these types, corresponds a different connection to SharePoint:

  • Standard channel = a folder with shared files is created within the SharePoint team site linked to the main group.
  • Private channel = a new SharePoint team site is created, completely autonomous from the site connected to the main group.
  • Shared channel = reread what happens for the private channel.

In this way, each group and channel will have its own storage space in SharePoint Online to be able to save, store, and collaborate on project documents without losing them in the general shuffle.

Having reached this point, you may be wondering if it is possible to operate in the opposite direction, that is, if there is a possibility to create a group on Microsoft Teams from SharePoint.

The answer is yes, HOWEVER.

It is simple. But not automatic.

In fact, to create a group on Teams with the same people with whom you share a team site on SharePoint Online, you must click on "Add Microsoft Teams" at the bottom left of your site's home page.

If the unmistakable Teams icon appears in the navigation bar of your SharePoint site, then that's it. That icon is quick access to your group in the Microsoft Teams app.

SharePoint Lists:
How to integrate lists (and more) from SharePoint Online into the Teams app

In the Microsoft universe, a list is a collection of data that can be easily shared and helps organize a wide range of information in a flexible way.

A list always consists of two elements: rows, which contain data, and columns, which contain metadata.

The latter are used to group, categorize, and track the information we are interested in.

Let's take the example of a contact list.

In each row, we will find the names of people of interest to us, such as those involved in one of our initiatives or projects. In each column, however, we will find metadata such as the company where our contacts work or the role they play.

In addition, files such as spreadsheets or documents can be linked to each item in a list so as to provide further details.

If everything is clear so far, let's proceed with our discussion.

SharePoint from Microsoft 365 has specific features that make it the ideal platform for collecting and cataloging any type of data. Among these features, we find the ability to create our own lists.

In particular, SharePoint web parts can be configured to add lists such as contacts, but also announcements, project tasks, quick links and more to the pages of the intranet or team site created for a particular event.

But what we are interested in today is the ability to insert lists as tabs within the Microsoft Teams app.

In fact, we can add a list, a document library (which is nothing more special than the others) or even a page from a SharePoint site as a quick link in Teams.

To do this, simply click on the "+" in the top navigation tab, select SharePoint, and choose the item we want to insert.

Add a new tab to a Teams group

Add a new tab to a Teams group

 

 

Add a SharePoint list or document library as a tab in Teams

Add a SharePoint list or document library as a tab in Teams


It is worth noting that we can integrate a list that is present on the team site linked to our Teams group or from any other SharePoint site we have access to.

This will allow us to quickly reach pages of general interest such as those contained in the intranet (the SharePoint communication site that caters to the entire corporate population) and that may come in handy for the project our team is undertaking.

Finally, the integration between the Microsoft 365 tools also allows us to edit SharePoint lists and pages directly from our Teams app: so here we have added to the real-time communication features those of managing and editing shared content.

Not bad for working as a team, right?

Before we close this chapter, we recommend you read this article: here, we tell you about one of the latest additions to Microsoft's apps to make your company's digital workplace even better.

We're talking about Microsoft Lists, the tool that extends the list creation capabilities of SharePoint Online and strengthens the integration of these elements into Teams.

Take a look at it to find out how to make the most of lists and thus simplify your work!

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Power Automate:
Connect SharePoint and Teams through automated workflows

Power Automate.

The tool that gets professionals around the world buzzing on par with Excel.

But what does it do?

In a nutshell, it tries to achieve the same goal as its peers, which is to make work easier - and perhaps a more enjoyable task! - and it does this by allowing workflows to be created without having much programming knowledge.

These workflows are useful for automating low-value, monotonous and repetitive tasks and processes, such as sending an email to a specific person every time a document is approved.

Lo and behold, the third possible integration between SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams involves precisely Power Automate automations.

The use cases can be endless, but let's think back to the example mentioned a moment ago: the process of approving a document (or task). 

Thanks to the integration between the different Microsoft tools, we can imagine following these steps:

  1. Select a file from a SharePoint site.
  2. Launch the approval process with Approvals from Power Automate. 
    In the submitted form, we can enter any relevant data inherent to the file and we can also indicate the list of people to approve.
  3. Power Automate sends a notification message in the Teams groups we want to involve in the process.
  4. If the file is successfully approved, our workflow automatically sets the status "approved" as the file's tag on SharePoint.

Here, countless manual actions are replaced by a smooth, fast and efficient process that connects all the tools we can equip our digital workplace with.

The time saved through this integration can be spent on other far more satisfying and more valuable activities. Or it will allow you to enjoy a longer, more relaxing coffee break.

 

Microsoft Viva:
How to embed quick access to SharePoint sites on Teams

We have reached the last mode of integration between SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams of our article.

Let's talk about the ability to create quick access to a SharePoint site via Teams, while maintaining the latter's context of use and navigation.

To clarify, we can add an icon in the sidebar of the Teams app to reach the linked SharePoint site without going directly into SharePoint Online.

We could imagine this integration as a merger between the two tools, allowing us to access content on the intranet or other SharePoint sites with Teams.

For each linked site, a quick access icon is added to the sidebar, as we mentioned. Each of these icons can be customized with company-specific logos and palettes not only to make navigation clearer and more intuitive, but also to leverage a new space to spread our brand identity.

Quick access to the SharePoint intranet from Microsoft Teams

Quick access to the SharePoint intranet from Microsoft Teams


In addition to the intranet, which is the SharePoint site of most interest to the corporate audience, we may decide to integrate access to the training portal.

In this way, users can use their Microsoft Teams app to communicate, collaborate, keep up to date, and learn new skills.

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  • We update all components to the latest Microsoft standards.

Simplify internal communication and digitize your business with minimal investment.

Giuseppe Marchi

Microsoft MVP for SharePoint and Office 365 (now called Microsoft 365) since 2010, Giuseppe founded Dev4Side and intranet.ai with the aim of helping companies to have a simpler and more effective working environment thanks to Microsoft technologies. He works as a consultant for everything related to collaboration, intranet portals and Microsoft cloud platforms.

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