Microsoft’s Delve Simplifies Information Management

One of the latest enhancements from Microsoft is a service called Delve, which is part of Office 365. Using Microsoft’s Office Graph Technology, Delve integrates with other Office 365 services to identify important content and its relationships with how you work to surface important information for you without having to search.

Delve, A CIO’s Dream

As Microsoft continues its quest to remake itself into a productivity company, it has introduced exciting and new combinations of products and services that feed this important goal.

One of the things I worry about as CIO is information overload. While not a new concept when dealing with sheer volume of data, the issue has gotten worse as we have new methods of creating and sharing data with our colleagues. Now data is in the form of email, texts, instant messages, social media and multiple forms of data in spreadsheets, presentation software and more. Finding what we need and what is relevant has become a major hurdle to productivity, and can even discourage some workers from using new technologies.

One of the latest enhancements from MS is a service called Delve, which is part of Office 365. Using Microsoft’s Office Graph Technology, Delve integrates with other Office 365 services to identify important content and its relationships with how you work to surface important information for you without having to search.

How Delve Works

Using machine-learning, Office Graph and Delve tracks links between people, content and activities in Office 365 to expose a personalized newsfeed for each user that displays content most relevant for each person based on the work they are doing and the people with whom they are engaging, according to Julia White, Office GM.

Presented in a card-based interface (see example below), Delve’s snippets of information include a number of social media-like elements. Each card features comments, “likes,” views, and tags that help the user understand why Delve thinks the information is useful and how it’s being used by teammates. Delve is said to represent an attempt to “cut through the noise” at work, just as we rely on social networks to show us trending topics when we’re outside the office.

Delve doesn’t replace your OneDrive account, SharePoint sites, or Exchange inbox so much as offer a new way of discovering and interacting with the information they contain.

Delve Features

In addition to the newsfeed element, Delve features a number of ways for users to view and search all the Office 365 documents and resources to which they have access. Rather than digging through an inbox looking for a lost attachment or asking a co-worker to resend an accidentally deleted email, users can simply click a link to see everything their colleagues have shared with them. From there, they can drill down with search tools. Delve contains views for all the files users have recently viewed or worked on. Users can also type a co-worker’s name to see all the content trending around that person.

Delve’s cards also allow users to leap to action. Clicking a document card launches Office Online, for example, allowing the user to edit and share the document almost as soon as Delve suggests it. As with all Office 365 products, admins retain permissions controls; Delve will allow users to view only content to which they’ve been granted access.

The Future of Delve

Office Graph currently incorporates information from email, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and Yammer. In coming months Microsoft will add additional signals, including email attachments, OneNote, and Lync. White said Delve is the first of many products that will rely on Office Graph’s machine-learning capabilities.

Microsoft released a video explaining how Office Graph works and teasing the Delve UI. It demonstrates various ways Office Graph might help workers collaborate. Office Graph might recognize that a user is about to go into a meeting, which triggers it to look for calendars and participants related to the meeting, and use this and other data to determine the meeting’s topics. Armed with this information, Delve presents prep cards for the user to review while in route. To view the video, click play:

It may take a while for Delve to find a place in our hearts and daily activities, but the importance of finding information quickly that is important to each of us in how we do our jobs can’t be stressed enough.

 

Jim Kopchok

Chief Information Officer
Directions Training