Over the decade, Microsoft has introduced many new functionalities for on-premise and cloud-based SharePoint platforms such as Office 365 (i.e. SharePoint Online), SharePoint content management tools, Sharepoint for appropriate SharePoint development. A new UI experience called modern UI experience is introduced in Office 365 and it will also available in SharePoint 2019 on-premise version soon.
Various new features are provided to Sharepoint developers with modern UI experience in SharePoint Online. One of the new features in the SharePoint Communication site is a new site template which creates massive confusion because of its similar look and feels with the SharePoint modern team site. The biggest question users face during site creation of SharePoint Online is- From a modern team site or communication site, which site suits your requirement better?
Let’s dive into the basics of a modern team site and communication site to understand the difference between these sites.
What is SharePoint Modern Team Site?
A SharePoint team site is a great place to share content, information and apps between you and team members. For instance, you can use a team site for a group of users who work on the same project to store and collaborate required files, store and manage lists of data you require on a daily basis. On a team site home page, SharePoint developers can set links for important files, external links, recent site activity and web pages. This will be very convenient to keep track of work progress and task management.
Microsoft has updated the UI with a new modern UI experience for team sites in SharePoint Online. With the modern UI in the team site, the new Office 365 groups feature is introduced.
What is Office 365 Group?
The best way to describe the Office 365 group is to collaborate with a set of people and to set up a collection of resources for these people to share. These resources can be shared OneDrive, Outlook inbox, shared calendar or a document library for collaborating on files. The conventional team site has different web parts, document libraries, task lists, etc. Office 365 group is essentially a pre-packaged team space that allows you to store, share documents, see team conversations and can add/remove team members very easily along with conventional team site features.
Microsoft Teams – unified communication platform is provided that is tightly coupled with Office 365 group for sharing files, chit chat with team members, video meetings, etc. Microsoft has made a great effort in delivering a service that enhances the productivity of teams in organizations and integrates with the company’s existing office 365 subscription. In modern team sites, Office 365 groups are tightly coupled with the site and most of the users – team members can contribute to sites therefore, it can be a great resource for team collaboration.
You can create a new team site in SharePoint Online from here.
What is a SharePoint Communication Site?
A SharePoint Communication site is very helpful to share information with others. SharePoint developers can share news, reports and other information in a visually compelling format. And it is available with a modern UI experience. Users can create a blank site or choose one of the site designs, each of which comes along with a default set of web parts. The options available are:
Topic: to share information such as news, events and other contents.
Showcase: to use photos to showcase an event, team or product.
Blank: to create your own design.
You can create new communication site in SharePoint Online from here.
Basically, communication sites are introduced with the concept of broadcasting information to users. A small number of users can edit the content of the site and a large number of users are the readers of the site. For example, SharePoint developers and users can use communication sites to share news, images and organizational events with your employees where a group of users can update the content and others can only read and access the content on site. Communication sites don’t come with an Office 365 group. Though the communication site and modern team site both have the same new look and with the same OOTB web parts and navigation, this makes the communication site differ from the SharePoint modern team site.
Let see the below matrix for few criteria in which these sites are different:
|Criteria||Modern Team Site||Communication Site|
|Primary Objective||Team Collaboration
When you want to create a place
where the members of a workgroup
or project team can collaborate on
project details, plan tasks; events or
exchange ideas, you want a team site.
|Showcase, Share a service, Tell a Story
When you want to broadcast news,
tell a story or share content for
viewing or showcase services or
people, you want a communication site.
|Authors on site||All members are content authors in the site who jointly create or edit the
content on site.
|Few members are content authors
and a large number of members are
content readers or consumers.
|Governance on site||Governance and policies are defined
by the team.
Practices are aligned to get work done.
|Governance and policies are defined
by the organization to manage
consistency of experience and effective
management of organizational information.
|Quantity||Expected to have a lot of sites in one tenant.
Based on the number of projects/teams/workgroups
running in an organization.
|Expected to have very few sites in
Based on the functional area or major topic.
|Behaviour during site creation||A New Office Group will be created and coupled with the site. Sites are
Public by default.
It prompts you to set privacy settings
and add users to the site during site creation.
|Office Group will not be created.
Sites are Private by default.
The capabilities of both Communication Sites and Modern Teams Sites are evolving. I hope this brief introduction on sites will help SharePoint developers and users to choose the right size for your purpose. To keep a notch on the emerging technology changes, it’s a good idea to follow our SharePoint Blog.
Shital Patel is VP at TatvaSoft with a high-level of proficiency and technical precision in SharePoint Development. His experience of the last two decades has helped businesses to solve complex challenges resulting in growth and performance of Startups to Fortune 500 companies.
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