This November saw Microsoft announce a new product that will be joining the Microsoft 365 ecosystem in the coming months. It is known as Microsoft Loop, and they claim that it will enable users to work, create, and collaborate together in new and more efficient ways. There are a number of companies using IT Support who are considering this Loop – even those who use IT Support for Financial Services and the like are showing interest.
Microsoft Loop is in fact a new package for some of the elements of Microsoft’s Fluid Framework, making it more accessible for users.
Fluid Framework was first unveiled in 2019, and it offered almost real-time syncing across Microsoft 365 applications. It works by replacing file formats in the Cloud with what is known as a Cloud address – meaning it resides in the same location within the Cloud, rather than being passed around, like an individual file.
This cloud address can be viewed by multiple users, across multiple applications, simultaneously. The benefit of this is that when collaborating on documents, or excel spreadsheets that were created natively in the Cloud, it means that any changes made are reflected instantaneously across all endpoints – so if you add data to a spreadsheet, your colleague’s view of the spreadsheet will be instantly updated, even if they are in another location, and viewing it through another app – such as Microsoft Teams. If you have an IT Support Partner, say you’re living in the UK, speak to any Managed Services Provider London businesses trust for their opinion on Microsoft products and how they could benefit your business.
With Fluid Framework, you can achieve extremely low-latency collaboration.
Some of the components of Fluid Framework have now been repackaged into Microsoft Loop, and it comprises of 3 key aspects: Workspaces, Pages, and Components.
A Loop Page is like a blank canvas for collaboration. You can populate it with items from various Microsoft 365 apps – such as Excel tables, or a Microsoft Word text box. A Loop Page can be accessed by multiple users, and each user will be displayed within the page as a different colored cursor (with their name next to the cursor). Components within a Loop Page can be arranged in different ways and edited by any participant.
These are the smallest units within Loop. A Loop Component might be an Excel table, or a Microsoft Word bullet list, or even a shape or image. Loop Components can also be more complicated items, for instance, a sales opportunity from Dynamics 365. An individual Loop Component can be viewed by multiple users in different locations, and across different applications – but anytime a Loop component is edited, deleted, or changed in any way, those changes will happen for everyone.
These are the largest units within Loop. A Loop Workspace is an environment for collaboration. Size must be considered – think about it as though you are deciding whether you’re interested in Full IT Support or Remote IT Support Solutions for your business, both are good you just need the right one for you. You can create Loop Pages within a workspace, and arrange them within tabs and sections. You can create a tab in your Workspace for an Excel spreadsheet, or you can create a tab for a Loop page that is dedicated to brainstorming, and populate it with all kinds of Loop components. A Loop Workspace is essentially a way of bringing all of the Microsoft 365 applications together into one environment that is perfect for collaboration.