‘Delve’ into Office 365

February 11th, 2016 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

At convergence in Orlando last year Delve was part of of demonstrations featuring Gigjam and Cortana Analytics but what does it do? In Microsoft Office 365, Delve is the app that tracks and stores your activity.

One of the benefits of having a Microsoft Office 365 subscription is that the suite of available apps is periodically updated with new features. Many times these updates and upgrades are l incremental changes that your employees may not even notice. However, sometimes these updates are completely new application features.On January 7, 2016,Microsoft released a new feature for Office 365 Delve to simplify organized team collaboration

The new feature for Delve is called ‘boards‘. The boards concept gives employees a new way both to organize and to share content with fellow employees and the enterprise in general.

Delve can now also be the app that lets you organize your activity. For example, when working on a specific project create a board dedicated to that project, and attach every document, video, meeting, and image your team creates. From that board, share everything with some or all of the entire enterprise and potentially let everyone in the enterprise add to the board for the project, depending on what permissions you establish. Enterprise wide collaboration and document sharing .

Is this useful? There other collaborative tools from SharePoint to to Yammer, to Skype Business.
Microsoft’s vision of a global mobile workforce, means collaboration comes in the form of sharing documents and easy Skype meetings, Delve boards shared amongst team members makes sense. But sharing that collaboration, with all its rest of the enterprise seems like more of a distraction and much less useful. Much like Facebook can be full of random junk or be a targeted focus group similarly Yammer can invite constructive feedback or just be a mass waste of time with uninformed contributors making ill informed comment or reading such comments out of context. We have all suffered the email tsunami of being copied on endless minor updates on trivial matters more driven by office politics than business sense.

From the rest of the enterprise’s point of view, do we really need or want to know what every small team from finance to marketing is working on for a particular client? Most of us have enough trouble tracking our own activity, let alone worrying about everyone else’s. Will all employees will be willing to share their work with the rest of the enterprise using Delve and the boards system – what if a project is not going well? Some policy guidelines and monitoring need to be thought about before adoption.

The new mobile, always connected, social media focused, collaborative workforce of today are looking for similar features to support their work effort. But does it really help when people who sit next to each other above to communicate by email; or sit around a dinner table communicating by text messages?

Collaboration between and amongst small groups working in teams is the backbone of any enterprise. However, vast dissemination of that small group collaboration sounds like noise. Where such a tool helos is that you can self serve to find information without it having to be pushed. Users can read what they want when they need, and not have their email boxes filled multiple attachments they don’t need to read. Its easier to mass communicate when users opt in. Security policies and controls need to be considered.

Microsoft Office 365 Delve is an interesting application. Like all tools in needs training and experience/expertise to get best use. It will be particularly helpful for those teams that are part of a mobile workforce. The addition of boards gives teams a different tool to help organize and to coordinate their collaborative activity.

So well done Microsoft for keeping Office 365 fresh with new features and just as with any other office products use it when appropriate.

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