Screenshot of @topgold's O365 space.
ONE OF THE easiest wins in my personal productivity involves using Office Delve, a new app on my Android handset. It presents images and links, in a Flipboard-friendly way, of things related to business productivity.
Office Delve is a cloud-based service tied into Office 365. It recently pushed across the Sharepoint services used by the Limerick Institute of Technology and I started using it on my Sony Z3 handset because it shows me things I need to work on without me having to open my email client. This is a big leap in productivity for me because e-mail is a time sink.
I heard people talking about Delve after Microsoft's Ignite keynote in Chicago. It's an application that remains well outside the coffee chats I hear when conversations more frequently centre on moving things around in shared spaces on Google Drive.
And because of the long-standing ease of use inside Google's ecosystem, I believe many of my colleagues will continue to remain blissfully unaware of Delve's existence. I'm an early adopter because I can see how it can be used in-hand while safeguarding sensitive data stored in Microsoft's cloud.
The basic questions I ask myself when opening a new tab or tapping on a new screen is, "Is this collaborative?" When I'm inside Delve, the answer is "Yes". Because Delve shows me things it knows I have worked on before. Delve doesn't show me every e-mail bearing attachments but it does present email from people with whom Delve knows I've a strong working relationship. I have discovered Delve cleverly exposes the documents that will be of the greatest interest to me at a particular moment.
Because Office Delve has potent enterprise social networking capabilities, I know it may face resistance from some quarters. There are natural hesitations towards transparency in many organisations. Yet you need transparency to get effective collaboration with coworkers. Although Office Delve does not undermine a user's privacy or erode organizational security, its awareness of side projects or interests might unnerve some people who have well-established communications protocols and who keep tight control on their working files.
Brien Posey, Microsoft MVP, explains how Delve makes intelligent connections.
Office Delve is designed to display the information that is presently the most relevant to a user, but you may be wondering how Delve makes this determination. Delve watches what each user does within the Office 365 environment and uses user actions to find relationships to determine what content is the most important. For instance, if two users modify the same document, then that implies that the document is not only important (at least for today), but also that the two users who made the modifications probably have similar responsibilities within the organization. As such, Delve might show each of the users what the other is working on. Delve also takes cues from who each user sends and receives e-mail from, and from organizational relationships. For instance, some organizations populate the Active Directory with information about who each user's manager is, and Delve can use this sort of organizational chart data to find relationships.
It's unusual for me to walk around an office without seeing Outlook open on a desktop. That's because many of my colleagues started their working lives in the knowledge that productivity is tied to "Inbox Zero" and to keeping a tight hold on their calendars. Outlook does both of those tasks well.
Because of what I've seen Office Delve do for me, I believe it will become a fixture on many desks in my work space before the end of 2016. And more importantly, I believe the Office Delve app will complement this trend and be the one I see being used on smart phones in canteens and coffee docks around my workplace.
1. Brian Posey -- "Delve for Office 365 is worth your time" in Redmond Mag, June 4, 2015.