Although Microsoft has released numerous updates to SharePoint Online and Office 365, Delve has remained the same since its initial release … until now.

After making its debut in 2014 as an ambiguous replacement to "My Site" functionality, Office 365 Delve has received a major — and much appreciated — facelift. The result is a tool that provides an integral hub for team collaboration, content search and employee directory.

Understanding Office 365 Delve

A great way to understand Office 365 Delve is to describe it as “Facebook for Office 365 Content.”

Delve, which is based on the Office Graph, surfaces relevant content and documents based on user’s activities. The program is designed to promote document collaboration and facilitate employee interactions.

Since most organizations are not used to this level of collaboration, many users remain unaware of Delve’s capabilities or don’t understand how Delve can boost productivity. This is unfortunate, especially since several new features, released in just the last few months, make Delve even more valuable.

Delve screenshot

1. Easy-to-Manage User Profiles

Delve user profiles
The first release of Delve gave users the ability to customize their profiles. Unfortunately, the process was cumbersome, requiring users to navigate to a separate page where they could make changes to their user profile.

The new workflow allows users to make on-screen changes in just few clicks. Moreover, with this release, Delve has adopted security features that have long been available in social media networks. Users can now easily adjust the visibility and privacy of certain profile fields.

2. Robust Content Search

The latest version of Delve makes it easier than ever to find the information you’re looking for, whether it’s a document, task, contact, event, web page or SharePoint site. The search query is based on Office Graph, and returns results from both OneDrive and SharePoint.

Because you won’t always know how someone has named a particular document, you can search for keywords inside of a document. Search results will be prioritized and personalized based on your user activity. However, since Delve honors security trimming, your search results will not include content for which you lack the appropriate access.

Delve Content Search

3. Enhanced Employee Directory

Delve Employee Directory
Office 365 Delve allows users to search for other users using their first and last name. This makes Delve a perfect replacement for home grown employee directories that tend to fall out of date. Delve also comes with built-in Org Chart functionality, allowing users to quickly see the direct reporting relationships for any employee.

Learning Opportunities

4. Personalized User Activity Feeds

A core functionality of Delve is its ability to display a customized feed of user activity on a profile page. With Office Graph automatically tracking content modifications, users looking at a particular profile will be presented with a constantly refreshed activity feed that showcases their recent projects.

This feature is designed to make it easy for you to learn what your colleagues are working on and their areas of expertise. That said, since Office 365 Delve respects security trimming, if the user does not have permissions to see a particular piece of content, it will not show up in their Office 365 Delve feed.

Delve User Activity Feeds

5. Dedicated Mobile Apps

With the release of standalone mobile Apps (iOS and Android), users can, for the most part, replicate their desktop browser experience while on the go. The app’s search features quickly surfaces documents and people based on your criteria. You can also easily tag your “favourite” documents and share them using your mail or social media apps.

Delve Mobile Apps

Office 365 Delve remains a work in progress.

Much of the success and relevancy that you’ll experience in your organization will greatly depend on how well your users choose to use its capabilities to streamline their workflows.

Whether or not Delve is a success, it’s clear that Microsoft is betting that the way we collaborate and work with content is ripe for change.