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RM Unify Group Sync for Microsoft 365 groups
Published Date : 26 Jul 2016   Last Updated : 20 Jul 2022   Content Ref: TEC5285553  





Symptoms

RM Cloud Service Delivery can assist you with your MIS Sync installation and Microsoft 365 federation. For further information, please speak to your Sales representative on 0845 070 0300 or email networks@rm.com, quoting this article.



Procedure

As an establishment with RM Unify MIS Sync enabled, it is possible to sync your MIS teaching groups, year groups and registration groups from your MIS with Microsoft® 365™. This means teachers can share content and communicate with their students without needing to manually manage membership in Microsoft 365 (M365).

We recommend Microsoft classes over Microsoft 365 groups

From RM Unify, you can choose to create either Microsoft 365 groups, or newer Microsoft 365 classes. Microsoft classes provide a better experience for teachers and students and allows for easier setup of Microsoft Teams, so for this reason we recommend that you select to create Microsoft classes over Microsoft 365 groups. Please see TEC7627933 in the Other Useful Articles section below on how to set this up.

If you still want to proceed with using Microsoft 365 groups instead, then the remainder of this article is of use.

After syncing the MIS group to Microsoft 365, RM Unify will set the group up as follows:

Group type in RM Unify

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

Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 365 groups work

Microsoft 365 contains a number of apps for schools to use, including Mail, OneDrive®, SharePoint® etc. Groups can be used across Microsoft 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 a Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft 365 groups:
https://support.Microsoft.com/en-gb/article/Learn-about-Microsoft-365-groups-b565caa1-5c40-40ef-9915-60fdb2d97fa2

Groups can be created manually within Microsoft 365 or pushed to Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Group Sync for Microsoft 365 groups works

RM Unify Group Sync for Microsoft 365 groups works by syncing MIS group and membership into Microsoft 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 Microsoft members'. Similarly, if you want to remove the group from Microsoft 365, click the 'Delete Group from Microsoft 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 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, please refer to TEC5427652 in the Other Useful Articles section below.

To automatically send and create groups in Microsoft 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 MIS groups in Apps' page, select the MIS group types that you want to automatically create in Microsoft 365.
    • If the groups are not selectable, you need to first enable the Microsoft 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 a Microsoft 365 tile in the App Library.
      2. Under the Support Info section, in the ACTION REQUIRED box, click 'Click here'.
      3. Click 'Enable Microsoft 365 APIs'.
      4. Log on to Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft 365.


To manually send and create a group in Microsoft 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 365 and click Actions.
  4. Click 'Create Group in Microsoft 365'.
    Note: This menu option is not available on role groups or non-MIS year groups as these are already automatically created in Microsoft 365.
  5. Edit the group name if required and add a description (these will be visible in Microsoft 365).
  6. If you want the group content (conversation, files, etc.) to be visible to all the Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft 365 if that option was selected during the 'To automatically send and create groups in Microsoft 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 clear 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 Microsoft 365 apps to use.



Possible Issues

Teams created from Microsoft 365 Groups

More Information

What is the group naming convention?

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 Microsoft 365:

MIS
group type
MIS
group name
Name identifier

Academic
YearStart
in MIS

Default domain in Microsoft 365* RM Unify group name Microsoft 365 group name Microsoft 365 group email address
Year 13 1234567 01/09/19 school.onmicrosoft.com 13 13[1234567][2019] 13.1234567.2019@school.onmicrosoft.com
Teaching 2S/DT1 1234567 01/09/19 school.onmicrosoft.com 2SDT1 2SDT1[1234567][2019] 2SDT1.1234567.2019@school.onmicrosoft.com
Registration 5L 1234567 04/09/20 school.onmicrosoft.com 5L 5L[1234567][2020] 5L.1234567.2020@school.onmicrosoft.com
Teaching Mon Ch 1234567 04/09/20 school.onmicrosoft.com Mon Ch
Mon-Ch[1234567][2020] Mon-Ch.1234567.2020@school.onmicrosoft.com

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


Can I change the Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 M365 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 Microsoft 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'.

Can I add additional owners and members directly to Microsoft 365 groups?
  • New owners added directly to a Microsoft 365 group are retained, even on the next group sync or update from RM Unify.
  • New members added directly to a Microsoft 365 group are removed on the next group sync or update from RM Unify.

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


Other Useful Articles

RM Unify MIS Sync (TEC5427652)
RM Unify Group Sync - what happens to groups at the end of the year rollover (TEC5786546)
Creating a personal tile to link directly to a Microsoft 365 group (TEC6568241)
FAQ for RM Unify Group Sync (NWS7289136)
How to create a class team in Microsoft Teams from a Microsoft 365 group (TEC7426106)
RM Unify Group Sync for Microsoft 365 education classes (TEC7627933)

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Document Keywords: sync, o365, office365, msoffice365, synch, office, m365, groups, TEC5285553


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