In November of last year, Microsoft made an exciting announcement: a new application for the enterprise, called Microsoft Loop. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, called Microsoft Loop “the next big breakthrough in Microsoft 365.”
The application promises to revolutionize how employees communicate and collaborate while working remotely. Below, we’ll look at how the application works, what its features are, and how it can help your business.
First things first, what is Microsoft Loop?
Microsoft created Loop to better serve employees who work remotely or hybrid. Even as the world begins to open again, research suggests that most companies won’t go back to mandating employees come to the office five days a week. A massive 70% of US companies are planning to adopt a hybrid work model for the foreseeable future while leading companies like Adobe, Salesforce, and Spotify have already announced plans to shift to hybrid work permanently.
Most organizations managed to cope with the shift to hybrid work thanks to applications like Teams, Slack, and Office 365 – but Microsoft believes the work from home experience can still be improved. For example, working on shared documents in Teams can be clunky, and version control often gets out of hand. Office 365 also lacks the functionality to keep track of team projects in real-time; employees have to use email, which can be slow and laborious.
To solve pain points like this, Microsoft has created Loop: an application specifically designed to empower employees to collaborate seamlessly – no matter where they are. As well as being its own application. Loop will integrate into Microsoft 365 and Teams. You can think of it as an evolution of Microsoft’s most famous applications: documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
The difference is that these applications are combined into one dynamic interface with Loop. Multiple employees and teams can view Loop simultaneously, with data syncing in real-time as people make edits in the application.
Below, we’ll explore each of Microsoft’s Loop elements in more detail.
Loop Components are dynamic widgets – things like notes, to-do lists, and trackers – that your employees can create and share with their teammates. Components will help employees with project management, collaboration, and engagement when working from a distance.
For example, say your employee is working on a new business project with many elements. They can use Loop Components to create a to-do list that notes the responsibilities of each person in the group, along with deadlines. When each person is finished with their task, they can update the list, and everyone will see. Effectively, Components creates a single-point-of-truth that every employee can see and access, reducing the likelihood of confusion and endless Teams calls trying to keep a project on the straight and narrow.
Excitingly, Loop Components is available in Teams right now. You can find it in the chat function. It should also be incorporated into applications like Outlook and OneNote in the coming months.
Loop Workspaces is the homepage for Loop Components and Pages (we’ll dive into that next!). Workspaces is kind of like a pinboard, where your employees can see the tasks they are involved in and who’s working on what. To keep things neat and organized, employees will be able to create multiple workspaces for their different teams.
Loop Workspaces should be launched in the next few months. Our IT consulting team will keep you in the Loop (pardon the pun!).
Loop Pages is the evolution of Microsoft Word, enabling your employees to create documents and collaborate in real-time. Moreover, Pages has added functionality, allowing your people to embed links, files, data, and even emoji reactions into their documents, making for a seamless, collaborative team experience.
Should you invest in Microsoft Loop?
Microsoft Loop promises to elevate the way employees collaborate when working remotely. However, the application isn’t necessarily for everybody. If your business plans to bring employees back into the office full-time, or you have a small team, Loop might not be a necessary investment.
Broadly speaking, Loop is a good fit for organizations with large teams, or who have fully embraced hybrid work. If you would like to invest in Loop, we advise helping your people to familiarize themselves with the application by experimenting with the Loop Components function that is available in Teams. We’ll keep you posted on more Loop announcements as they come!
Let’s Supercharge Your Microsoft Experience
Are you using Microsoft’s suite of tools to their full potential? Unity IT can help your Fresno area business ensure you get the most out of Microsoft 365, Teams, and Loop.
Contact us today to schedule a technology consultation at 559-297-1007 or reach out online.