How does Microsoft Loop affect the Microsoft 365 service?

The addition of Microsoft Loop is probably the most important change Microsoft has made to its Microsoft 365 platform.

Microsoft Loop, based on Microsoft’s Fluid Framework, allows users to collaborate in ways previously impossible. Some of these new features are already available in Microsoft Teams, but Microsoft will soon be making Loop available everywhere all Microsoft 365 applications. Loop is now in private preview and public release is imminent.

The elements of Microsoft Loop and how they interact with Microsoft 365

Microsoft Loop features are very different from other collaboration features available today. To understand and appreciate what Loop brings to the table, it’s helpful to look at the basic building blocks that make up Microsoft Loop and how they connect to Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Loop consists of three high-level structural elements: Loop Components, Loop Pages, and Loop Workspaces.

loop components

Of the three, loop components are arguably the most important. A loop component is basically just a loop-enabled document object. To put this in perspective for a Microsoft 365 user, imagine a Microsoft Word document. Although Word is primarily for writing and editing simple text, it supports numerous design elements. With the addition of looping components, Word supports multiple component types with real-time editing across the Microsoft 365 suite. These live editing components include bulleted paragraphs, tables, checklists, and numbered lists.

Loop is different from its heritage Microsoft Office 365 Mate, as these elements are collaborative throughout the productivity suite.

Imagine a user adding a paragraph to a Microsoft Word document but not sure if it is correct. Instead of emailing the entire document to someone who could edit and approve the amendment, that user could copy the loop component in Outlook and send it to or message a manager Microsoft Teams. The recipient opens the message with the paragraph and makes a change in Outlook or Teams. This change is immediately reflected in the original Word document. Other loop components behave similarly in Microsoft 365 applications.

Loop Pages

A loop page is a document that contains one or more loop components. In its current form, the Microsoft Loop app acts as a blank canvas on which you can add Loop components. Some users could work within this interface, but the value of Microsoft Loop is that users can keep the components in the apps and files they need without having to locate them.

Loop workspaces

It can be helpful to think of loop workspaces as a sort of next-gen OneNote and essentially serves as a file explorer for Microsoft 365. OneNote allows users to create notebooks that group similar information together. Users can then create sections within the notebook and pages within each section. These pages are in free form and can accommodate different types of content. This can be embedded files, handwritten text, recordings, or countless other looping elements.

Microsoft Loop has enormous potential to change the way a company works together.

Loop Workspaces is an application developed to help users organize their Loop pages. For example, a user could group related loop pages for a project, and this workspace could serve as a central hub for a team to access all project resources.

Loop workspaces don’t limit users to working exclusively with loop pages. Like OneNoteusers can add a variety of other content types, e.g. B. a Word document next to some loop pages.

Enterprise use cases for Loop in Microsoft 365

Microsoft Loop has enormous potential to change the way a company works together. Organizations that have adopted a hybrid work model, where some users are in the office while others work remotely, could particularly benefit from this technology. This is because Microsoft Loop is location independent. Remote users and users working on-site can all collaborate on the same documents at the same time if they have an internet connection and a valid set of Microsoft 365 credentials.

It’s fair to say that real-time document collaboration is nothing new. At the height of the pandemic, many organizations added Google Docs and other Google Workspace services to their workflows because they allow remote users to collaborate on a document in real time. What makes Microsoft Loop different?However, Loop does not tie the collaborative process to a specific document. Collaboration occurs at the loop component level, not at the individual file level. This means users can manipulate the data with whichever loop-enabled application makes the most sense to them at any given time. One user could edit a spreadsheet in Word, while another user viewing the spreadsheet in Teams would see the change in real-time.

There is another aspect of Microsoft Loop that is far more profound. Loop gives enterprise users a single source for all their Microsoft 365 work, data, and files. Consider how many copies of a single document might exist within an organization. There may only be one copy of the document stored on a SharePoint site, but that doesn’t take into account the original Word document, which is stored on – possibly – multiple laptop hard drives. How many versions of this document have been emailed back and forth between users? Due to each user’s changes, all these document copies are likely to be slightly different from each other. Loop makes it so that even if someone were to open an old document, the data within the document would be copied is always up to date — provided it is based on loop components.

Third party integrations for Loop

While Loop is a compelling collaboration framework on its own, one move Microsoft has made is sure to make Loop a game changer for some businesses. Microsoft made Loop extensibleallowing private developers and third parties to create new loopable data types.

From the perspective of a company’s IT department, this means that eventually users will be able to create loop pages which contains both Microsoft 365 data and data from the line-of-business applications they use in their daily workflows. Because all of this data is loopable, it is always up-to-date and reflects real-time changes. It may even become possible to establish relationships between these different data types, e.g. B. A real-time Excel chart linked to data from a sales app.

While these third-party plugins and integrations are still barely ready for the market, the potential of this technology across numerous business-critical processes could be far-reaching.

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