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Microsoft Office addresses changing work world with Loop

Adapting to changing times and changing work processes, Microsoft has announced Microsoft Loop, a new app that combines a flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across apps—to enable teams to think, plan, and create together.

According to a blog post by Wangui McKelvey, "Microsoft Loop consists of three elements: Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces." It 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."

Loop components are an evolution of Fluid components, said McKelvey, providing atomic units of productivity that help users collaborate and get work done in the flow of their work—in a chat, email, meeting, document, or Loop page. Loop components can be as simple as lists, tables, notes, tasks, or as sophisticated as a customer sales opportunity from Microsoft Dynamics 365. And, because components stay in sync, no matter how many places they live in, users always work with the latest information. 

As part of Loop, McKelvey also said Microsoft is introducing new components for collaboration:

  • A voting table that makes it easy for teams to ideate, drive consensus, and finalize decisions together.
  • A status tracker which will help you gather information from your team, track progress towards all aspects of your project, and always maintain an up-to-date status across your team.

Microsoft is also adding new Loop components to facilitate users’ business workflows—starting with Dynamics 365 records, while third-party application developers will also be able to build Loop components by extending their existing message extensions applications and Microsoft Graph connectors integrations with minimal investments.

According to McKelvey, Loop pages are flexible canvases where users can organize their components and pull in other useful elements such as files, links, or data to help teams think, connect, and collaborate. Pages are optimized for thinking together and getting work done. They can start small and continue to grow to match the size of their ideas and projects.

Loop workspaces are shared spaces that allow users and their team to see and group everything important to their project. Workspaces make it easy for users to catch up on what everyone is working on, react to others’ ideas, or track progress toward shared goals. Teams can collaborate synchronously or asynchronously whenever inspiration strikes. 

Microsoft has also announced Context IQ—a set of natively integrated AI experiences across Microsoft 365 that predict, seek, and suggest information people might need, right in the flow of their work. McKelvey said the first experience to be transformed by Context IQ is Microsoft Editor. Currently, Editor helps users write with confidence—correcting grammar and spelling across documents, email, and the web. Now, Context IQ takes Editor to another level, with additional suggestions.

With the expanded focus on digital content, especially video, Microsoft is also expanding its creation tools to include Clipchamp to enable users to create and tell stories. Clipchamp allows creators of all skill levels to create, edit, and share professional-looking videos.

In addition, said McKelvey, because delivering a message should not depend on being physically or virtually present, Recording Studio in Microsoft PowerPoint lets users tell their story, in their own words, helping them deliver more engaging presentations. It allows users to customize their background, annotate on their slides, and even select different views to help them record, and deliver their content with ease. Once a user has completed their recording, they can watch a preview, and if needed, re-record either a particular slide or the entire presentation. When they are done editing, they can share their presentation with others by simply exporting it. Recording Studio will be generally available in early 2022.

Commenting on the Microsoft announcement, Xavier Pornain, VP—corporate business development, at Microsoft partner Sinequa, noted, “Over the past 18 months, enterprises have realized how important it is for workers to have a platform that will enable efficient and effective working. Microsoft plans to solve this need with its new Microsoft Loop app, which aims to provide a seamless collaboration experience for teams and greatly benefit the rates of productivity."

Pornain added, "As we continue to live in an era of hybrid working, sourcing the right information at the right time will continue to be of high significance. With the continued development of new tools and platforms focused on boosting efficiency and collaboration, enterprises stand to become more productive, no matter where their workers are based.”

For more information, including enhancements to Office.com and the Office app for Windows, go to McKelvey’s blog post at www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2021/11/02/microsoft-office-transforming-for-the-hybrid-world.

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