Just use Office Delve to find it? Not always.

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I think Office Delve is a great service in O365. It uses the Office Graph and machine learning to intelligently discover content for an end-user. I’ve spent the last couple of months making a concerted effort to use Delve in my daily work. It’s very good at allowing me to quickly get back to recent documents I’ve worked on and discover content I never knew existed, but am interested in knowing about.

There is, however, clarification required for some users leveraging Delve. Who’s heard this comment from people around the office?

“We don’t need search anymore, we’ll just use Delve to find what we’re looking for!”

I’ve heard this numerous times and it’s just not true.

Does Intelligence-driven content discovered thru Delve replace the need for a traditional search-driven site? No. Here’s a couple of reasons why it doesn’t.

Not all content!

Natively, Delve shows these types of content found in OneDrive for Business, Outlook and SharePoint: (as of January 2017)

  • Office documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
  • PDFs
  • OneNote sections
  • Content from SharePoint sites (tasks, pages, etc.)
  • Images
  • Delve blogs
  • Videos (uploaded to the O365 Video Portal)
  • links shared in Yammer posts
  • Email attachments (Office documents recently shared with you in email)

Although this is an extensive list, Delve doesn’t show all types of O365 content (list items for example). Additionally, end-users may not realize that some of the content they’re looking for is in fact an item.

Going forward, the Office Graph will continue to evolve and deliver increasingly rich insights in Office 365, and incorporate support for extensibility to reach beyond Office 365.

This means the landscape is changing for the content delivered through Delve, but in the meantime, traditional search can fill the gap for content that is not surfaced thru the Graph.

Not targeted enough!

In my opinion the most important reason why Delve does not replace a traditional search experience is its inability to deliver “targeted content”.

What do I mean by “targeted content”? Imagine trying to fulfill any of the following requests using Delve:

  • show me all approved budget documents across the organization for 2017
  • show me all active job postings within IT
  • show me all contracts expiring within the next month across the organization

If you want to target specific content like these examples, intelligence-driven content (delivered thru Office Delve) is not the technique to use. You need to build a search-driven web part/page/site targeting a specific type of content to meet these requirements.

These reasons are why I believe the need for custom, targeted search experiences to meet specific business requirements will exist for some time yet. What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading.


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