Within organizations that are using both Office 365 and G Suite, inter-platform collaboration can often be difficult.
Scheduling meetings between users who are in opposing platforms will often be unsuccessful due to users being unable to see the availability of users within the opposing environment. While calendar coexistence is an option for some organizations, it often can cause complications due to configuration requirements.
One alternative is to use a process automation service such as Microsoft Flow to automate the copying of events within Office 365 calendars to G Suite calendars, allowing users within G Suite to query the availability of a user without the need for a coexistence solution.
Microsoft Flow provides business automation tools to connect web services together, in this case Google Calendar and Outlook Office 365.
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We asked our Technical Product Specialist, Adam Brown, on how to connect Google Calendar and Office 365 in a few simple steps. So, over to you Adam...
The solution relies on a user having an identity in both platforms, making the solution perfect for organisations currently undergoing a migration between G Suite and O365.
Users are provisioned in O365 with full capabilities of their chosen license, their previous G Suite account is left in place post migration to O365, optionally with Gmail disabled, however it’s key that Calendar is left enabled.
Microsoft Flow watches for new Outlook calendar events being created, and silently copies the event details including attendees and event recurrence into their G Suite Calendar. This allows for users who have yet to be migrated to O365 to see the availability of users who have been migrated.
Additionally, users who have yet to be migrated can use a Microsoft Flow to watch their G Suite Calendar and copy events, when created into their Outlook Calendar. This allows for users who have been migrated to O365, to see the availability of those users who have yet to be migrated.
Resource rooms, also known as Meeting rooms in G Suite, can be configured to automatically manage their attendance. If the resources have yet to be migrated to O365 and exist only in G Suite they will respect bookings from Office 365 users, reducing the risk of resource mismanagement.
First, head to https://flow.microsoft.com and sign in. You’ll need to read and accept the license agreement, as you are giving Microsoft access to other accounts so they can pipe data between them.
Once you’re signed in, search for ‘calendar’:
(You may need to create a new environment if you haven't used Flow before)
In the search results, you’ll see a number of different workflows, including two variants of the same basic workflow:
Copy new events in Office 365 to Google Calendar and send a notification
Update Google Calendar events previously created from Office 365. Which one you use will depend on your current setup. We’ll use the second, more generic workflow as an example here.
To achieve the ideal coexistence solution, users need to have events copied from their O365 calendars into their G Suite calendars, and vice versa.
First, grab the “Copy new events in O365 to GSuite Calendar and send a notification” flow.
You’ll see that you will need to authenticate with your G Suite details in order to complete the flow.
Once signed in you will be brought to an interface very reticent of Systems Centre Orchestrator (one of my all-time favourite applications!)
Now, I’ll walk through the setup of each required step now. O365 Calendar connection:
From here, you are able to select the calendar that you wish for Flow to look at, normally this is just your default Calendar, (called Calendar), however, this can scan any calendar you have attached to your account.
G Suite Calendar Connection:
From here you would select the G Suite Calendar that you want events to be created in, again this can be any calendar you have attached to your account.
You can edit the description field, however, I wouldn’t remove the “Copied from your O365 Calendar” line, as it is used in another flow.
That's it! Well, for a basic flow, that will keep the two calendars in sync that's all you need...