Delve into this

Q. Over the years, we’ve accumulated a large number of data
files spread across our many Microsoft-based computers, servers, cloud
storage, and mobile devices. Are there any tools that we can use to
help us more effectively organize and manage this voluminous data?

A. In years past, file management usually meant moving your
files to various folders, but if your files are all contained on
Microsoft-based platforms, then moving your files around may no longer
be necessary. In January, Microsoft launched a new business
intelligence tool called Office Delve, which is included in some
Office 365 plans. Delve uses a machine learning tool (called Microsoft
Office Graph) to map relationships between people, conversations,
calendars, emails, email attachments, SharePoint Online files,
OneDrive for Business files, mobile device files, pictures, and
videos, all in an effort to automatically organize your data. This
means you can leave the data on your Windows computers, Windows
networks, OneDrive, and SharePoint drive right where they are, and
still improve their “findability.” (The initial release of Delve does
not yet connect to external non-Microsoft-based cloud drives such as
Dropbox or Google Drive, but connectors are available for those
vendors to create such connections to Delve.) 

For example, suppose your company is preparing to audit the
(fictional) Addison Factory. Delve enables you to create a
Group, which in turn generates a user portal that includes an
ongoing conversation feed (using Yammer technology), calendar,
document library, inbox, related data files, to-do tasks, and internal
and external communications, an example of which is pictured below.

In a way similar to how Facebook analyzes your friends, high
school, and groups to identify additional relevant friends (so you
don’t have to search so hard for them), Delve analyzes your
connections and data to pull together relevant people, files, emails,
tasks, slides, PDFs, videos, etc. (so you don’t have to search so hard
for them either). In essence, Delve integrates related content all in
one place, thereby reducing or eliminating the need to search across
locations and applications to find the most current relevant content.
Delve can also perform the following functions:

Delve is available to customers with Office 365
Business Essentials and Business Premium plans, and Office 365
Enterprise, Education, and Government E1–E4 plans. 

J. Carlton Collins

is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA
contributing editor.


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