Intelligence-driven Content in O365

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What is intelligence-driven content? If you use O365, whether you realize it or not you are likely already benefiting from it in your day-to-day work. Intelligence-driven content differs from traditional content in delivering a more personalized and relevant experience to you by leveraging the Office Graph and machine learning techniques. As you work in O365 signals are detected throughout your interactions (files you’ve worked on, sites you’ve visited, emails you’ve received, conversations you’ve had, meetings you’ve attended, etc.). This data is stored in the Office Graph and sophisticated machine learning is applied to it to surface content to you in “intelligent” ways across O365 services. It’s a relatively untapped goldmine of business value just waiting to be discovered.

I’ll list some of the places you’ll find intelligence-driven content across O365 today and discuss why this technique cannot be used to replace all types of search and content delivery in a section titled ‘My thoughts’ at the end of this post.


Some places you’ll find intelligence-driven content in O365…

#1 – Office Delve

delveOffice Delve surfaces personalized content to you from across Office 365 – from OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Exchange, Yammer and more. Powered by the Office Graph, Delve brings you information based on what you’re working on, who you’re working with; always maintaining established permissions.

What is Office Delve?

Home: (yellow circle) shows popular documents from people that work around you based on relationships and past activity as tracked through the Office Graph.

Me: (purple circle) shows my recent documents as well as documents from people around me.


#2 – SharePoint Suggested sites

Shows your frequently visited sites as well as suggested sites for you based on Office Delve. The suggested sites section will include sites people you work with have visited as well as popular sites in your organization.
What is the SharePoint Home Page?


#3 – OneDrive Discover tab

discover-tabThe OneDrive discover tab is powered by Office Delve and relies on the Office Graph. It will include content that is trending around you based on who you work with and what they’re working on. Remember, you only ever see content you have permission to see.

What is the Discover View in ODFB?




#4 – Outlook’s Focused inbox

Focused Inbox helps you focus on the emails that matter most to you. It separates your inbox into two tabs—Focused and Other. Your most important emails are on the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way—on the Other tab. You’ll be informed about email flowing to Other, and you can switch between tabs at any time to take a quick look.
It is a way of prioritizing email that is most important for you and is based on the content of the email and who you converse with most often.

What is Focused Inbox?

#5 – Outlook’s Discover Groups

outlookdiscovergroupsUse the Discover link within the Outlook Groups navigation to find and join O365 groups that may be relevant to you. It will display a page with Groups you may want to join.
NOTE: Anyone in an organization can join a public group. To join a private group you must be approved by a Group owner.


#6 – Microsoft Team’s “Who-Bot”

Although not available in any of my tenants yet, the Who-Bot is a tool you can use to quickly reference people from within Microsoft Teams and to answer the ‘Find the expert’ question prevalent across many organizations. The Bot will know this based on a person’s profile information, documents they’ve written and conversations they’ve had. This has been described as “the ultimate people connector”.

Within Microsoft Teams, bots (including the Who-Bot) will appear in your conversation history in the same way as a chat with another user, but with a hexagonal avatar.

I can’t wait to see this Bot in action.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Creating Bots for Microsoft Teams

#7 – Custom possibilities

You can build custom intelligence-driven solutions using data from the Office Graph with the Microsoft Graph, a unified API endpoint. The possibilities are limited only by the signals stored in the Office Graph and your imagination!

My thoughts…

I think Intelligence-driven content is a fantastic feature in O365 and I expect this area to experience tremendous growth over the coming months and years.

Will the 7 examples I cited above replace the need for building solutions with more targeted content in our environments? Certainly not.

There is still a need for building traditional search-driven and custom solutions targeting specific types of content in SharePoint sites using tools like search web parts and list APIs. Examples of these types of solutions are:

  • show approved budgets across all department sites
  • show active job postings
  • show all non-expired corporate announcements
  • show knowledge base articles on a specific retail function
  • and many more…

There’s a use-case for both types of solutions (intelligence-driven and traditional) as they are addressing different business problems. I will be discussing this in a future blog post as just the other day I overheard an end-user say “We’ll just use Delve to find what we’re looking for.”

Well … although Delve is very good, it isn’t going to find everything. 🙂  This is a point of confusion for some end-users and may require further explanation to clear it up.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Good article.

    What I find curieus is that the expected place to have intelligence driven content, is still using technology from 3 years ago: SharePoint Search … can any new features be expected here?

    1. Although I’m not privy to what Microsoft has planned in this regard I suspect there will be some OOTB enhancements made to traditional search to allow for integration with the Graph. This will allow for that intelligence-driven content to be shown as well. It’s a wait and see I believe. Also, the traditional search centre is great for dealing with managed content and always will be. The unmanaged content ( content found in Group files, etc) is well-suited to intelligence-driven search results like Delve. They are solving different business problems.

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