We took the Inner Loop and Outer Loop visual a little further...

Regular Contributor

At Ignite, MS did a fantastic job sharing the inner and outer loop visual which was helpful for our team. It helped us understand the social collaboration landscape and finally understand the dynamic between O365 Groups, Yammer and Teams.


We took this back to our users and then realized... they didn't get it as easily as we did :-(... 

So we worked on the visual and made it a little more granular (yes, a little prescriptive). The result was a v2 version of the visual (I wish I could share the final polished version but unable to share).


Anyways, we decided we would direct the organization to either Yammer and Teams for social collaboration solutions. 


So what happens with O365 Outlook Groups? No worries we still love Groups and they are still an option :-). We actually have a few use cases that seem to be working well (mostly project managers that can't break up with email).  That said, for 2018 we will intentionally not market O365 Outlook groups as much as the other two. 


The O365 Groups conversation will not end there. After all, O365 Groups are omnipresent and can be one in itself or live within both of the social workspaces.


So far the instant feedback has been positive!


It is too early to tell if this will be successful in the long term (we think it will be). I'm sharing for anyone that's just getting started unsure about how to move forward...where to start the converation MS original.png


Where to start the conversation.PNG


7 Replies
This is good initiative and view, however I think there are some challenges with the representation:
- Inner Loop can include people across departments, and Teams works very well for this.
- The same is applicable for External Contacts thanks to guest access.
- Locations should be irrelevant (ie. "other locations") as to inner/outer loop

Common scenarios for inner loop would be:
- national sales team - location
- projects - across department and with external contacts

Hi Loryan, thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this! First... the caveat is that there many variables and options that are available for anyone strategizing social in an organization. So I absolutely agree with your points. Here's additional context on our approach.

Inner loop - For us, the distinction is the reach/audience (I believe it might have been @Melanie Holhertz who said ask "who's in the room"). So with this frame of mind, we think Teams is extremely useful in a functional team environment. Which by the way, your right, Teams can include people across departments and locations. For the moment, we want to be as clear as possible with our users and prescribing using groups for small group (no more than 25 people). Based on a few test use cases we don't see how its efficient when teams are larger than that (messy channels, conversations and people had a hard time navigating content). In saying that, we are not restricting people to just 25. Users are ultimately free to use Teams regardless of the size of their group.

Outer Loop: Re: location and across departments, we are referring to visibility. Sure one can argue that Teams is "visible" if the group is public. For us, the power of Yammer is the ability to discover content serendipitously or deliberately. Right now, Teams is not at that place where content is visible unless you know to search for it (and even then I think this could be improved). That said, we want to keep our people on the course of using Yammer for sharing and broadcasting information across the organization.
Lastly, external contacts. Yes, we could enable guest access and boom at a snap external users can participate and access. For the moment, that is not what we plan to do so we give people the option of using external Yammer networks for those needs. 

Lastly, I can't recall who or where (maybe Twitter) but someone posted factors to consider back when the whole "when to use what" was top of mind. These factors resonated with me and my team so along with the visual we include those factors with our users when looking to decide where to start and/or "draw the line" if applicable...I hope I didn't lose you (it makes better sense out loud ;-).

Here's the factors I'm referring to. Sorry I don't know the source and some of it was modified to fit our audience....





@Lillian Diaz A lot changed since the creation of this post! Considering that this thread got over 5,000+ views I thought I'd circle back and share how we evolved since the whole inner/outer loop business surfaced. My hope is that it helps anyone still facing the infamous "when to use what" question. Yes, believe it or not, I shamelessly share that we have people STILL ask that question!


But, in all honesty, can we REALLY blame them??


I mean, options and flexibility with collaboration tools is fantastic and all. But, sometimes having TOO many options can really be confusing. In fact, it was as a result of, feedback from our people and big request from the business, that I had no choice but to regroup and craft yet again, a more prescriptive-explicit guidance to help our people engage with our tools.


Most importantly, this might be relevant for anyone currently running Skype and Teams side-by-side (yes, we still are... SMH).  That said, I hope the following matrix can be useful for organizations dealing with this. The feedback has been EXTREMELY positive so I hope this helps anyone in the same shoes! 

That's legendary, thanks for sharing Lillian!

@Lillian Diaz 


Beautiful slides. Thank you so much for sharing. 


Hi Lillian , very valuable information. Tx for sharing.

@Lillian Diaz 


Excellent! I'll be working on a version for our company and will share if it adds to your good work here.