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On December 2, conducted a webinar exploring the new collaboration offerings of Office 2016 versus the more traditional functionality available through SharePoint. Together with’s CTO of EMEA, Richard Poole, I walked our 260 attendees through use cases for Office 2016’s ad-hoc and SharePoint’s enterprise grade collaboration capabilities, all while explaining how fits into the larger picture.

If you were unable to join the webinar, Dirty Little Secrets of Office 2016: What You Need to Know, you can watch the full recording here, or read on for some of our major takeaways.

The Basics: Ad-hoc vs. Structured Collaboration

With the release of Office 2016, it is important to first understand the differences between ad-hoc and structured collaboration. Simply put, ad-hoc collaboration is short-term, small-team focused while structured collaboration is long-term, enterprise-level oriented.

Ad-hoc vs structured collaboration characteristics

On a day-to-day level, ad-hoc collaboration is good for things like planning a company event or co-authoring meeting notes in real-time, whereas structured collaboration is more useful for long-term storage and management of documents and emails.

Examples of ad-hoc and structured collaboration

Office 2016’s Secret: It’s Focused on Ad-hoc Collaboration

Office 2016 allows you to do a great many things, such as easily build groups and have conversations in Office 365 or attach SharePoint links to emails – in other words, a lot of what you’ve come to expect from Microsoft collaboration products.

Build groups, view profiles and have conversations using Office 2016

What Microsoft isn’t telling you is that Office 2016’s feature set is almost exclusively focused on ad-hoc collaboration in that it benefits small and transient teams/projects rather than long-term enterprise initiatives. Provides Structured, Enterprise-Focused Collaboration for Office 2016 2016’s business value is rooted in its continued support for the enterprise-focused structured collaboration capabilities that Microsoft’s larger customers have relied on for years. With, metadata is accurately classified, emails can be treated as documents of record in SharePoint and documents are easily available offline among many more features. enables Office 365/SharePoint structured collaboration and Office 2016: Better Together

At the end of the day, your organization will likely need to engage in both ad-hoc and structured collaboration to successfully complete projects. Office 2016 has plenty to offer, and promises to keep the experience as balanced, enabling true, full-scale collaboration for the first time by bridging the gap between SharePoint 2016 and Office 2016’s collaboration capabilities.

Use ad-hoc collaboration for small groups and structured collaboration to fulfill business initiatives

We urge you to watch the webinar in full to learn about Office 2016 in more detail and to see how fits into the picture.

David Lavenda
Chief Product Officer