The importance of Collage into your Digital Workplace

Product overview by Gokan Ozcifci – requested by – thoughts are my own.

As today’s technology is changing, finding crucial information can be tough. When you consider the services that the cloud is offering/providing us, you’ll see that many services are overlaying each other. As a Power User, you do not always have the possibility to choose the tools (Teams, SharePoint Online, Yammer, Groups …) that you want to use for your toolkit – which I call Office 365. It’s already complicated within the Microsoft stack and I haven’t even mentioned systems like Zendesk or SalesForce who are integrated with Office 365…As my fellow friend Vlad would say: Information Overload is an increasing problem both in the Digital workplace and in life in general. Information Overload is when you are trying to deal with more information than you can process to make sensible decisions. The result is that you either delay making decisions, or you make the wrong decisions.

A few real-life scenarios:

  • Where is my architecture document? OneDrive for Business? OneDrive Premium? OneDrive Personal?
  • I uploaded my PowerPoint presentation into a SharePoint List but didn’t implement any metadata and the search results are not correct; hey SharePoint Admin – please help me!

Situations like these are problematic for the information workers to handle. Well, created and integrated their intelligent Collage™ technology directly in the Outlook Add-in to allow users to be more productive every day and not struggle with “where are my documents?”

The definition of Collage is quite simple: Collage technology combines artificial intelligence with patent-pending innovations to uncover and associate topics across many apps, so workers can focus on customers, projects, and products, rather than on toggling between apps to put together the big picture.

How does it work? (Please check here for more information:

  • Rather than adding a new functionality into my Outlook, the Collage add-on incorporates Microsoft Graph insights with machine learning technology to extract topics (metadata) from different cloud services such as Email, Documents and Enterprise Social to categorize them.
  • Employs matching algorithms to pair topics across the cloud services where uninteresting topics can be dropped or renamed per your internal governance.
  • Takes actions without leaving the active window. Maintaining work context preserves focus and promotes productivity.

Why am I using Collage every day? There is no way that I can do without email, and finding the correct information can be a huge issue for me. By using Collage, I eliminate the need to toggle between the different tools and can do my work from my Outlook client. I do not need to check different places as everything is available from one screen.

  • Collage keeps me up to date with important updates and notifications
  • Collage avoids having to connect into different tools as everything is available from one screen in my Outlook client.
  • Collage integration between tools works smoothly (I personally tested Office 365 and Yammer)
  • Collage reminds me that every single document that I send via email should be saved into one of my tools (if the option is still enabled) – this helps me to get all data into one central location.

David Lavenda – Co-founder and Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy explained the idea behind the tool: “We had this idea of a single screen app that aggregates everything together. We have always been about bringing people’s work into Outlook – that’s people’s comfort zone. So we decided to make it a contextual Outlook add-in and bring all that richness of the topic driven interface and the aggregation of all the applications into the email window.”

Before getting into my five favorite functionalities of Collage I’d like to close the theoretical part with the following statement: Using Collage in the new era of the Digital Workplace – is an inevitable core principle that you can’t avoid.

My partner in crime Vlad Catrinescu and Wendy Neal already blogged on how to use Collage, and writing another how-to wouldn’t be beneficial for the community. Therefore; here are five reasons I love using Collage:

  • The Discover tab is my favorite feature as it allows me to see trending documents within my organization. The Delve-like Discover tab uses the Microsoft Graph and shows you what’s interesting for you.

  • Collage is intelligent enough – as it relies on machine learning – to add topics (metadata) into emails, documents etc… This is one of my favorite options as you can add any topic that you like – if what Collage’s proposes to you is not accurate. This is a life saver in certain scenarios where keywords such as “SPWK216-P0” – as an example – are only understood by you.

  • Being able to filter and edit in real time the results while still staying in the same screen – aka unified experience – is simply amazing.

  • The intelligence behind Collage that will analyze my selected email, generate the topic and show me all emails who are corresponding to that topic. No need to search through my mailbox and waste a lot of time.

So, that’s it for an introduction to Collage, which I think is a powerful tool for your Outlook Client. If you want to learn more about the new features of Collage, visit the website. Cheers, Gokan

I own a company and work a lot with #SharePoint. Entrepreneur. Microsoft Regional Director and @MVPAward for Office Servers and Services.

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