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RM Unify Microsoft Office 365 group sync
Published Date : 26 Jul 2016   Last Updated : 07 Apr 2020   Content Ref: TEC5285553  


RM Cloud Service Delivery can assist you with your MIS Sync installation and Office 365 federation. For further information, please speak to your Sales representative on 0800 046 9798 or email networks@rm.com, quoting this article.


As an establishment with RM Unify MIS Sync enabled, it is possible to sync your teaching groups, year groups and registration groups from your MIS with Microsoft® Office 365™. This means teachers can share content and send emails to a class without needing to manually add the members of each class each time (or manage manual groups). After syncing the group to Office 365, RM Unify will set the group up as follows:

Group type in RM Unify

Office 365 Group owners*
(These are the group admins, with management rights for the group.)

Office 365 Group members
(These can take part in discussions and collaborate in the group.)

Year group RM Unify admin(s) selected on the Group Sync Settings page. Students in the year.
Registration group** RM Unify admin(s) selected on the Group Sync Settings page. Students in the registration group as per the MIS.
Teaching group† RM Unify admin(s) selected on the Group Sync Settings page, plus the registered Teaching Staff*** on record in the MIS. Students in the class as per the MIS.

* If the group is created by clicking the Action button in the Management Console, the logged in RM Unify user will also be set as a group owner.
** Might be known as 'Tutor group' in your MIS.
*** Except for Glow schools using SEEMiS (where all Staff group members will be made owners), this will be a single Staff user/owner. Additional group owners can be added via the Office 365 Admin centre.
† Teaching groups are not extracted for the ScholarPack MIS.

Note: The RM Unify Management Console displays student membership of MIS groups. It does not display teacher membership of MIS groups.

How Microsoft Office 365 groups work

Microsoft Office 365 contains a number of apps for schools to use, including Mail, OneDrive®, SharePoint®, Yammer and Classroom. Groups can be used across Microsoft Office 365 apps to enable content to be shared with multiple members of a group such as a class or a registration group. You can consider an Office 365 Group similar to a lightweight SharePoint site, complete with file storage, calendar, OneNote and an email address. When a user logs on to any Office 365 app, they can see the groups they are part of on the left-hand menu, giving quick access to all their class and project work.

For more information on Office 365 Groups:

Groups can be created manually within Microsoft Office 365 or pushed to Microsoft Office 365 from an Identity Management system like RM Unify. In either case the groups are held within the Azure Active Directory, which is the directory of users for Office 365. RM Unify manages users in the Azure Active Directory by creating, updating and deleting accounts according to changes made in your Active Directory or MIS.

How RM Unify Microsoft Office 365 Group sync works

RM Unify Microsoft Office 365 Group sync works by syncing MIS group and membership into Office 365. If members of a teaching group change in your MIS and RM Unify, e.g. a student moves in or out of a class, an overnight schedule automatically syncs those changes to Office 365.  You can resync a group's membership at any time from the RM Unify Management Console by clicking 'Resync members to Office 365'. Similarly, if you want to remove the group from Office 365, click the 'Delete group from Office 365' option in the RM Unify Management Console.

If you wish to sync your school's year groups, registration groups and teaching groups from your MIS to Microsoft Office 365, you must first sync your MIS with RM Unify. To set this up:

  1. Log on to RM Unify as an RM Unify administrator.
  2. Click Management Console, MIS Sync Settings.
  3. Follow the steps to install Create mode or Link mode. For more information, refer to TEC5427652 in the Other Useful Articles section below.

To automatically send and create groups in Office 365
  1. Log on to RM Unify as an RM Unify administrator.
  2. Click Management Console, Groups.
  3. At the top of the page, click Settings, 'Set up groups sync to apps'.
  4. On the 'Automatically Create Groups in Apps' window, select the MIS group types that you want to automatically create in Microsoft Office 365.

    If the groups are not selectable, you need to first enable the Office 365 APIs to allow automatic group syncing: 
    1. On the current window, click the 'Enable this in the Support Info section of App Details' link to be taken to an Office 365 tile in the App Library.
    2. Under the Support Info section, in the ACTION REQUIRED box, click 'Click here'.
    3. Click Enable Office 365 APIs.
    4. Log on to Office 365 as a global administrator if prompted.
    5. On the 'RM Unify needs permission to' window, click Accept.
  5. Enter a group 'name identifier' if required, to include in group names in Office 365 (the default will be your school's DfE code).
  6. Select which RM Unify admin users you want to additionally set as a group owner of new groups. Teaching staff members of teaching groups are automatically set as group owners.
  7. Click Save.

Each night, new MIS groups of the selected type(s) will be automatically created in Office 365.

To manually send and create a group in Office 365
  1. Log on to RM Unify as an administrator or teaching staff user.
  2. Click Management Console, Groups. 
  3. Find the group* you wish to sync with Microsoft Office 365 and click Actions.
  4. Click 'Create group in Office 365'.
    Note: This menu option is not available on role groups or non-MIS year groups as these are already automatically created in Office 365. 
  5. Edit the group name if required and add a description (these will be visible in Office 365).
  6. If you want the group content (conversation, files, etc.) to be visible to all the Office 365 users in your organization, then change the privacy setting to Public. Otherwise it will default to Private, which means that just the group members can see the content.
  7. Indicate the 'Required lifetime' of the group. This helps the Office 365 administrators to know how the groups are being used. There is no automatic deletion of groups.
  8. Click OK.

* If you have enabled non-MIS year groups then your MIS year groups will be hidden from view in the Management Console. They will, however, get auto-created in Office 365 if that option was selected during the 'To automatically send and create groups in Office 365' section above. To find out if you have enabled non-MIS year groups:

  1. Click Management Console, Groups.
  2. Click Settings, 'Set up year groups'.
  3. Look for groups with a tick in the Enabled box.
  4. If you want to view your MIS year groups in the Management Console, then untick all Enabled boxes and click Save.

It takes up to half an hour to send this group to Azure Active Directory and for it to appear within the Office 365 apps to use.

More Information

Is it possible to add groups as members of an Office 365 group?
Microsoft do not currently allow this (at time of writing). Only individual members can be added to Office 365 groups. Driving group membership from the school's MIS via RM Unify therefore makes management of Office 365 groups that much easier.

What group names will be used?

When RM Unify receives MIS group data, it creates groups using the following naming convention:

<MISGroupName><NameIdentifier><MISAcademicYearStart>, where MISGroupName and MISAcademicYearStart come from your MIS and NameIdentifier is set in the RM Unify Management Console.

Here are some examples of group name outcomes in RM Unify and Office 365:

group type
group name
Name identifier

in MIS

Default domain in Office 365* RM Unify group name Office 365 group name Office 365 group email address
Year 13 1234567 01/09/18 school.onmicrosoft.com 13[1234567][2018] 13[1234567][2018] 13.1234567.2018@school.onmicrosoft.com
Teaching 2S/DT1 1234567 01/09/18 school.onmicrosoft.com 2SDT1[1234567][2018] 2SDT1[1234567][2018] 2SDT1.1234567.2018@school.onmicrosoft.com
Registration 5L 1234567 04/09/19 school.onmicrosoft.com 5L[1234567][2019] 5L[1234567][2019] 5L.1234567.2019@school.onmicrosoft.com
Teaching Mon Ch 1234567 04/09/19 school.onmicrosoft.com Mon Ch [1234567][2019] Mon-Ch[1234567][2019] Mon-Ch.1234567.2019@school.onmicrosoft.com

* To view your default domain, sign into the Office 365 Admin Centre as a global administrator and click Setup, Domains.

Can I change the Office 365 group name and/or primary email address?
Yes, a group owner or administrator can change the group name and/or primary email address in Office 365. However, there is no write-back feature, so the group will retain its original name and email address when viewed in the RM Unify Management Console. Future membership and group changes will continue to sync from RM Unify to O365 but none will revert the group name or email address to their original value.  It is possible to change the 'Name identifier' attribute used to create new Office 365 groups, but this will not retrospectively update any groups that have already been created. As an RM Unify Super Admin, navigate to the RM Unify Management Console, Groups, 'Set up group sync to apps' and edit the 'Name identifier'.

Other Useful Articles

RM Unify MIS Sync (TEC5427652)
RM Unify MIS group sync - what happens to groups at the end of year rollover (TEC5786546)
Creating a personal tile to link directly to an Office 365 group (TEC6568241)

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Document Keywords: sync, o365, office365, msoffice365, synch

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