Microsoft Loop And Copilot – How They Will Change How You Work

Microsoft Loop Copilot
Microsoft has released two new apps designed to increase productivity. Copilot and Loop are designed to help organizations break down silos and extract better outcomes from information sharing. Both functionalities are available in targeted release and require administrators to make them available to the organization.
Microsoft has released two new apps designed to increase productivity. Copilot and Loop are designed to help organizations break down silos and extract better outcomes from information sharing. Both functionalities are available in targeted release and require administrators to make them available to the organization.

What is Microsoft Loop?

Microsoft Loop aims to solve the problem of omni-channel collaboration, enabling users to co-create across devices or tools. The Loop app, available as a desktop, mobile, or web app, is comprised of three core functions: workspaces, pages, and components.

Loop Components
Components were introduced late last year as functional application chunks, like a table, list or text, that can be embedded and co-authored in Teams. With the launch of the Loop app, Microsoft is extending the ability to embed components in Outlook and Word online. That means that a single chunk, for instance a table with product pricing and descriptions, can be inserted into an email, a word document, and a Teams chat — and edited from any or all, of those places in real time.

Components can be very useful in allowing collaborators to effectively update information from a variety of places, without having to update or make changes to the entire work product. For example, let’s say a company maintains a word document outlining a project scope that includes a price list of services. A smaller group of executives set the price list. That list can be shared in an email or teams chat with the group and dynamically updated in the word document by any of the members.

Loop Pages
A page is a document that can be structured with a variety of components (tables, ordered or unordered lists, tasks, text, etc.), in combination with hierarchical text (headings) and links. Loop provides templates to help users get started quickly, including project management, decision-making, brainstorming, note-taking, and issue tracking. Users can add a title, cover image, and add an icon to help differentiate or visually group pages together.

Pages are searchable, can be shared with people, or embedded into supported Microsoft 365 apps just like components. Embedding the page allows users to co-author the entire page content (not just a single component) from within the embedded location. Pages also maintain version history, like in Office apps, that allow users to review and restore previous versions.

Loop Workspaces
A workspace is a collection of pages. Users can navigate pages via a sidebar, where they can also add custom links. This could be useful to provide a single point of reference for information and access to tools for a single project. Users switch workspaces via a dropdown.

Within a workspace, users can organize pages by dragging page names in the sidebar, including setting them as subpages of other pages.

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The latest generative functionalities of Microsoft’s AI technology continues to drive efficiency in content creation and information management. Microsoft’s Copilot functionality will give users the ability to extract useful information and create a variety of useful outputs from data held in Loop pages and workspaces.
Copilot can summarize Loop page content, and even the content of documents linked in the workspace. Prompts give users a starting point to create, brainstorm, blueprint, and describe — or users can type in their own prompt using natural language like, “help me create a mission statement.” Outputs can be turned into a component for further collaboration.

Copilot is currently in private beta.

First impressions: Excitement and Concern

At first glance, Loop sounds a lot like a repackaging of functionality found in other Microsoft tools like OneNote, Teams, and SharePoint. In fact, the Loop app looks and feels much like a sleeker, more modern version of OneNote. Functionally, however, Loop takes note-taking and information sharing to a new level.
Fans of productivity tools may be enthusiastic about trying Loop with Copilot, but I have already heard concerns from IT and Operations professionals about the introduction of yet another place for collaboration, information management, and content creation.

This is arguably the most critical challenge of our present age: the ubiquity and accessibility of digital tools that requires good governance and strategic management. As Loop Workspaces grow, operational diligence will be necessary to address how and where information is managed long term. The dynamic, omni-presence of components and pages does help alleviate some of this problem. However, IT and Operations leaders will need to develop strategic rules and SOPs, and leverage tools to manage governance and security.

For instance, if a project has a corresponding team in Microsoft Teams and a Workspace in Loop, the team owner should incorporate the Loop workspace in a Teams Channel Tab as a website. Using a tool like Powell Teams could help automate this process for new projects, incorporating Loop at the onset and establishing the workflow within the existing Team structure. This would unify all communication and collaboration in a single place with good governance for accessibility and functionality.

With Teams, Project, SharePoint, individual documents, and now Loop, organizations need to continuously review their operational strategy. We are already incorporating this into our discovery process as we work with our customers to craft their Digital Workplace strategies.

Bottom Line

It’s no secret that Microsoft has been targeting collaboration as a primary focus of their product offerings. As organizations tighten their definition of where work happens, Microsoft is accelerating solution development geared to enable and empower people wherever, whenever, and however they need to collaborate.

With Loop and Copilot, Microsoft is taking a step deeper into this space, virtualizing not just where we communicate and collaborate, but how we do that work. Breaking down the process of brainstorming, problem solving, and project management, and providing structure and automation to organize and coordinate information, ideation, and communication all in one place.

There’s no doubt that Loop and Copilot will help teams shorten time from collaboration to productivity. Putting all of this into operational use still requires some strategic planning, and that is something AI hasn’t been able to automate… yet.