Forget Google Docs, Box and any productivity tool that anyone else has to offer. Microsoft is committing its brains and its brawn to one thing —being your “go to” for your digital life, at work and at home.
It plans to do this by providing a window to the digital world that feels “more personal and natural,” to use CEO Satya Nadella’s words, via innovations in touch, speech, vision, inking and much more. They will all come together with intelligent agent (can you say machine learning, analytics, PowerBI, Office Graph) and shell technologies.
Nadella explained all of this at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders last month and there’s evidence that there’s walk behind his talk being surfaced today.
“We will reinvent productivity by delivering essential digital tools for your digital work and digital life so that you can achieve more and do more,” he said, then went on to evangelize about new productivity tools “that are not yet household names” like Delve and Power BI.
Though Nadella stopped short of telling everyone how Delve makes him seem smarter and better informed than he would be without it, he did let it slip that he uses it every day. “It helps people discover information in new ways by surfacing the full depth of the knowledge inside of your organization that is in SharePoint or Exchange, these repositories of knowledge inside enterprises,” he said.
Boards to Organize & Share Work
Though Delve’s newest feature wasn’t ready in time to show off at the shareholders meeting, it is ready today. It’s called “boards.” The idea is that Delve helps you surface content and boards help you organize content, so it’s readily accessible and easy to share with others.
To anyone who finds working with folders and spending time collecting, organizing and searching for content, Delve is already a relief. Adding visuals and putting everything we might need at our fingertips is an even bigger plus because we won’t need to remember where content lives. But that’s not all, everyone in an organization or on a team can view and contribute to an existing board or create a board—but they can only see and open documents that they have permission to access.
The big win for workers is that the part of their job that’s boring and a hassle just got removed so that there’s more time for things that are interesting and add real value.
Boards Help Us Work Smarter
We’ve all worked on projects where we’ve wanted to add or share ancillary files, videos, images, with the team but didn’t because it wasn’t a “must do,” it took time or whatever. Boards take that hassle away. You simply share the URL of a board with your team, or send link directly from the board, which remains fresh as your team works on and updates documents over time.
How it Works
According to a Microsoft, Delve surfaces relevant content based on insights delivered through Office Graph. Any content discovered in Delve can be added to boards.
It’s expected that as Delve rolls out to Office 365 customers in the First Release program, Office Graph will incorporate signals across Office 365 and content primarily from OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online team sites and the new Office 365 Video portal. Soon thereafter, it should incorporate additional signals and content including email attachments and Yammer social newsfeeds.
The plan, over time, is that boards will be integrated across other Office 365 experiences with support for new content types and will also benefit from existing SharePoint metadata management capabilities.
For anyone who uses Microsoft productivity tools for work, working with or moving to Office 365 keeps looking more and more attractive; instead of being a hassle, it could actually become a joy. A sentiment that hasn’t been expressed around Office for a very long time.