What's Going on with Microsoft Delve?

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Microsoft Delve

You may have heard that Microsoft will be retiring the Delve web app as of December 16, 2024. This article delves (no pun intended) into the reasons behind Delve's inception, its journey, why it's being sunsetted, the implications of this change, and the alternative solutions available within Microsoft 365.


What is Microsoft Delve?

Delve was introduced as the first application to leverage the power of the Office Graph (now known as the Microsoft 365 Graph) to uncover and showcase relationships between people and their work. It was designed to provide a personalized view of the most relevant documents and information across Microsoft 365, making it easier for users to discover and collaborate on content.

Delve not only offered document discovery but also allowed users to edit their profiles, update their photos, and organize important documents through a feature known as Boards. It promised a more cohesive experience at a time when user profile management was fragmented across various platforms like Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint.


Why Microsoft Developed Delve

Microsoft saw the need for Delve to streamline the process of finding and managing content within their ecosystem. Delve aimed to:

  • Enhance collaboration by surfacing relevant documents and information.
  • Provide a unified profile management experience.
  • Introduce innovative features like Boards, for organizing documents.

The application was a significant step towards reimagining how users searched for and interacted with information, showcasing the potential of the Office Graph in making connections between users and content.


Challenges and Evolution

Despite its innovative approach, Delve faced several challenges. One significant issue was that it exposed documents based on permissions that were sometimes inconsistent, inaccurate, or missing in SharePoint Online, leading to users seeing documents they shouldn’t have access to. This wasn’t Delve's fault per se but highlighted the importance of proper permission management.

Over time, Delve's functionality began to wane. Features like blog publishing disappeared in 2020, and the desktop app was discontinued in March 2021. Delve Analytics branched off to become MyAnalytics, now part of Viva Insights. Microsoft's focus shifted to other areas, leaving Delve without significant updates or development since its introduction.


Why Delve is Being Sunsetted

Microsoft's decision to retire Delve stems from its declining relevance and lack of development. Most of Delve's features have been integrated into other Microsoft 365 experiences, making it redundant. For example:

  • Profile Management: A new edit profile capability will be introduced in mid-2024, integrated with Profile Cards.
  • Document Discovery: Relevant documents can now be found on Office.com, within Office apps, and through OneDrive.
  • Organizational View: This feature is available in the Profile Card and the Org Explorer.

With these functionalities covered elsewhere in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Delve's unique contributions have dwindled, leading to its planned retirement.


Impact of Delve’s Retirement

The retirement of Delve will affect users by removing the ability to create and manage Boards, and the association of documents with these Boards. However, the documents themselves will remain accessible through other means. The new profile editing experience will ensure that users can continue to manage their profile information seamlessly.

Organizations will need to update their internal documentation and training materials to reflect these changes and guide users to the alternative solutions available within Microsoft 365.


Alternatives to Delve in Microsoft 365

As Delve is phased out, users can explore several out-of-the-box Microsoft 365 features that offer similar functionalities:

  • Profile Cards: These provide comprehensive profile information and will soon include enhanced editing capabilities.
  • Office.com and OneDrive: These platforms offer document discovery and management features similar to Delve's home page recommendations.
  • Org Explorer: Available with the necessary licenses, this tool provides an organizational view.
  • Favourites: Users can use the favourites feature on Office.com or OneDrive to manage important documents.
  • Microsoft Copilot: This tool helps discover relevant documents and information based on user context, enhancing productivity.


Enhanced People Search with EUM

A crucial part of effective collaboration and knowledge sharing within an organization is the ability to find the right people with the right skills. Enhanced People Search solutions, like those developed by EUM, address this need by offering robust search capabilities that go beyond simple name and title searches.

In today's fast-paced, digitized work environment, an organization's strength isn't just measured by its tangible assets but by the intellectual capital held within the minds of its people. Often, employees possess skills that transcend their formal roles – skills that remain underutilized due to silos, especially in the age of remote working. The unintentional overlooking of such skills translates to lost opportunities for growth and innovation. In a remote work scenario, cultivating an open culture where knowledge is freely shared becomes a challenge.

A comprehensive People Directory not only lets employees showcase all their skills but also offers a robust People Search feature. This searchability based on diverse criteria – from skills to work functions – enhances collaboration and optimizes resource allocation. EUM's People Search solution, for instance, captures tacit information without additional human effort, making it easier to capture and share knowledge in an explicit format.

Rich People Cards and Profiles provide insights into employees' skills, past projects, endorsements, and more, making it easier for teams to identify the right people for collaboration and resource allocation. Microsoft has standardized People Cards across all applications, meaning the same card view is seen across Teams, Outlook, SharePoint, etc. Additionally, you can customize information on People Cards via Microsoft Graph, specifying up to 15 custom fields to present a comprehensive view of an employee's professional journey.

Moreover, solutions like Yannick Reekmans' SPFx web part, built on top of Microsoft Graph, enhance People Search by offering rich person cards, free text search, live person card on hover, and tailored configuration options. This web part ensures efficient data handling and integrates seamlessly with SharePoint, providing a robust platform for searching, connecting, and collaborating.


Conclusion

Microsoft Delve played a crucial role in showcasing the potential of the Office Graph and enhancing document discovery and profile management within Microsoft 365. However, as the ecosystem evolved, the need for Delve diminished, leading to its planned retirement in December 2024. Users can leverage other integrated Microsoft 365 features to continue enjoying the benefits previously offered by Delve, ensuring a smooth transition and sustained productivity.

Embracing enhanced People Search solutions, such as those offered by EUM, can further unlock the potential of an organization's intellectual capital. By implementing systems that enable detailed People Cards, enriched by tools like Microsoft Graph and the SPFx web part, organizations can foster synergy, accelerate knowledge sharing, and boost efficiency. Ensuring accurate, secure, and up-to-date people-related data is essential for informed decision-making, productivity, and maintaining trust within the organization.

Want to learn more about how a robust People Search can impact your organization's collaboration and workflows? Check out our webinar, Building a Rich People Search with OOTB and Open-Source Components.

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