The modern workplace has shifted irrevocably in the past 12-18 months, and Microsoft is adapting to meet its ever-evolving needs. In that vein, Microsoft has a new application called Loop that looks to alter how business teams accomplish their mission.
But what is Loop, what are its capabilities, and how might it impact productivity? Let’s take a closer look at Loop and what it can do for you.
Think of Loop as the next evolution in the Microsoft ecosystem.
In the beginning, there was Microsoft Office, with its suite of creative applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. This morphed into Office 365, which introduced a cloud computing into the mix.
Then came Microsoft Teams, which built on what came before while adding additional cloud and AI capabilities. Teams embraced our new working posture, where virtual work is more than just a perk and is in most cases a necessity, adding instant messaging and videoconferencing capabilities.
Now along comes Loop. According to Computer World, Loop taps into Microsoft’s already-developed “Fluid Framework.” This framework enables Microsoft users to introduce various components from their other Microsoft applications, ensuring they are updated across apps.
An example of this would be that a table built in one application – such as OneNote – would be able to be embedded and edited in another application such as Outlook.
That isn’t all Loop can do, however.
Microsoft announced the release of Loop in early November 2021. According to the company, Loop is a “new app that combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps – enabling teams to think, plan, and create together.”
It’s the next iteration in a long line of Microsoft workplace productivity tools, but with a twist: it restructures how colleagues can interact with each other in an easy-to-use interface relying on three new features.
These features are known as components (as noted above), pages, and workspaces. Here’s how they work:
Building on Microsoft’s Fluid Framework components, Loop’s components represent anything team members might use to help them collaborate and accomplish a task. These can be direct messages in a chat, a Word document, a spreadsheet, a table, a chart, or pretty much anything you can share across the enterprise.
These components sync with each other, updating in real-time so all of your team members will have instant access to the most up-to-date version of the components everyone is working on.
As part of the Loop release, Microsoft included a few new components as well: a voting table and a status tracker. This enables you to take your team’s pulse on a topic and also maintain awareness of task completion.
If components represent the ideas, tasks, or data your team documents, think of pages as the places in which they document them. Pages provide you with a repository to store your various components to encourage teamwork. Pages can be as big or as little as you need them to be, depending on the size of your team.
Workspaces are where your team can view all of your project materials in one place. You can provide access to a workspace to any member of your team that might need it.
IT office tools, whether they’re made by Microsoft or other vendors, have the same ultimate goal: help your team have an easier time communicating and collaborating.
First, here’s how Loop helps foster more clarity in how your teams communicate.
Consider a team that holds daily standup meetings, briefing each other with status updates or trying to work through progress blockers. It’s critical for everyone to have the same data in front of them in order to truly understand how to best tackle any obstacles. Loop’s capabilities ensure all of your team’s updates have been made for everyone across apps.
If your team doesn’t hold daily meetings and communicates less frequently, Loop also supports that. Loop enables you to rely on team members making updates at their own pace, with synced status trackers and other components to help ensure milestones are being met.
In today’s workplace, the way teams communicate very much depends on the team itself. Whether your group likes to do so synchronously or asynchronously, Loop offers a platform that works for either stance.
The other benefit of Loop is that it isn’t replacing Microsoft’s existing collaborative toolset – quite the contrary. If your teams already feel comfortable using Microsoft, Loop’s set of features should only serve to enhance their working experience.
Loop allows everyone to edit components across apps, meeting your team members wherever they’re most comfortable doing work. Loop doesn’t require them to learn a new set of processes to continue deriving value from Microsoft’s suite of products. Instead, it functions as a seamless transition to a more coordinated user experience.
One of the biggest concerns for any team looking to collaborate on documents is version control. With Loop, any worry over this is removed.
Microsoft’s suite of services is valuable in that they encourage communication and collaboration among disparate team members. More than that, though, they allow everyone within your organization to create and work within the same set of IT systems.
Of course, implementing these systems – and getting optimal value out of them – isn’t guaranteed. For some within your organization, there may be a learning curve associated with using it. They may have a working knowledge of Microsoft’s products, but they might lack the expertise needed to truly get the most out of Loop’s new capabilities.
For help navigating Loop and its great new set of features, look no further than Schilling IT.
At Schilling IT, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience working with Microsoft and can help your team get acclimated quickly, helping you ramp up your operations so your entire team feels comfortable implementing Loop.
For more on how Schilling IT can assist your team with Microsoft Loop, contact us today!
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