Microsoft Makes Office 2016 Collaboration a Group Effort
New Groups support in Outlook 2016 brings Microsoft a step closer to its vision of an innately collaborative ecosystem of Office apps.Yesterday, more than two months after the Mac version made its debut, Microsoft officially launched Office 2016 for Windows. Enterprises with volume licensing plans can start downloading the software on Oct. 1. Although it remains anchored by the software giant's stalwart business applications—namely Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint—the latest version of Office hews a little closer to the company's mobile-friendly, cloud-enabled vision of getting work done. "The way people work has changed dramatically, and that's why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a Sept. 22 statement. "These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork," continued Nadella. That collection of connected apps includes Outlook 2016. The email management and calendar software now supports Office 365 Groups, a Yammer-inspired information-sharing and collaboration feature introduced last year. Today, Groups are natively supported in Outlook 2016, according to Christophe Fiessinger, senior product manager, Microsoft Office 365.
"In Outlook 2016, creating a group is easy and new colleagues can also join existing groups and quickly get up to speed," Fiessinger noted in a blog post outlining the new capability. "Each member of a group can participate in conversations, schedule meetings, share files and notes and even initiate a Skype for Business voice and video call for urgent real-time decisions."