Definition

Microsoft Office Graph

Contributor(s): Nathan Lamb

The Microsoft Office Graph is a back-end tool in the Microsoft Office 365 Suite that facilitates search across integrated applications and applies machine learning to organizational interactions and content use.

The Office Graph is a cloud-based tool that supports Office 365 search functions in two distinct manners. First, it provides a unified search capability across integrated applications and content repositories. Second, it tracks content interaction, using machine learning to draw connections between people, content and activity within an organization.

The Office Graph is primarily a back-end tool, but it can field text-based queries. Upon its release, the primary user interface for the Office Graph was Microsoft Delve, a data visualization and data discovery tool for Office 365. In addition to traditional search tools, Delve has user profiles that can display content interaction history, allowing users to search for content, based on who has accessed it. There's also a "discover" function, which uses an "activity" feed to bring potentially relevant information to the attention of users, based on relationships and past activity, as tracked through the Office Graph.

The Office Graph uses a unified application program interface (API) to provide a single point of search access through Office365 to integrated content repositories.

A primary purpose of the Office Graph is to map out interactions between people and content. Interactions from integrated platforms automatically populate the Office Graph, which stores information about which employees have accessed, modified, shared, "liked," or "followed" a given piece of content. The Office Graph uses machine learning to draw connections between people and content they are likely to interact with, based on past activity. Information stored within the Office Graph automatically populates into Delve, which provides a search and data visualization layer for organizational activity.

Depending on privacy settings, user activity stored in the Office Graph can be visible to others through Delve. The Office Graph and Delve default to the permission requirements of the original repositories. Additionally, some activities -- such as reading a SharePoint document -- can be private, while others -- such as authoring a document -- are public.

The Office Graph is a cloud tool, but Microsoft will make it available for hybrid deployments of SharePoint 2013 (by late 2015) and SharePoint 2016. Microsoft has not announced intent to release an on-premises version of the Office Graph.

Microsoft announced in May of 2015 that the Office Graph will eventually be able to surface and track content stored in non-Microsoft products through an API. A demo presented by Microsoft at the 2015 Ignite conference showed Salesforce linked with the Office Graph and Delve, but Microsoft did not provide a timeline for availability.

Microsoft announced the availability of Delve and the Office Graph in March of 2014. The Office Graph is similar to the Enterprise Graph, which Yammer announced shortly after Microsoft purchased the company in June of 2012.

This was last updated in June 2015

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