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Is Microsoft Delve Iron Man's Edwin Jarvis? No way

Rolled out with some fanfare in 2015, Microsoft Delve has yet to make good on its vision.

When Microsoft rolled out Delve, a service in its Office 365 suite, earlier this year, Microsoft customers' interest was piqued, but so was their concern about information security and usefulness.

Now, about nine months later, Microsoft Delve is taking a circuitous route to success, to say the least.

While it was designed to be a business intelligence (BI), enterprise search and collaboration tool wrapped into one, it has yet to make good on that vision. Delve was intended to be able to search users' documents, email messages, meetings and more, then serve up relevant content and messages to them based on their content and activities. At one level, Delve has failed because it hasn't been as comprehensive a search tool as it was billed. At another level, users have significant concerns about their privacy, given the scope of documents and activities Delve is designed to scour.

As BI and SharePoint expert Scott Robinson notes in this podcast, Delve was intended to be much like Edwin Jarvis, butler and human search tool for Iron Man's Tony Stark. But Delve ain't no Jarvis, Robinson said.

"Jarvis ... [is] always there at Tony's elbow, giving him what he needs even before he knows he needs it. Delve wanted to be Jarvis," Robinson said.

"Delve wanted to be a product that anticipated the user's needs, that understood the user inside-out, and followed the user's behavior patterns and personal workflow, and understood what the user did day to day, so that everything was there at the user's elbow."

But according to Robinson, Microsoft failed in articulating the return on investment of Delve and in being able to roll out a tool comprehensive enough to have ROI.

"The truth is, the product didn't cover in terms of breadth or depth enough of the user's work, documents and content to make a real difference. So, it was off to a rocky start from the beginning. The people who were using it didn't really understand what it was doing, and it wasn't doing well enough to make a good impression. Now, that's bad news all around."

For more, check out this podcast above.

Next Steps

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Office 365 tools get reined in

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This was last published in January 2016

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Is Delve comprehensive enough for you to get ROI out of it?
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For us, Delve is likely the second most critical aspect of Office365, after OneNote. It has provided the link between all the disparate parts of Office365, which a user finds daunting, confusing, overwhelming. It gives them what they need to be working on and helps to find what they knew had been shared with them but unsure where it actually was. If Delve didn't exist, we would not have incorporated Office365 into our community as quickly as we did. In fact, I've had employees chide other employees when they store things off Office365 ... "How is Delve going to find that?"
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I have yet to get this feedback on Delve. While it has potential as a search tool, no one has said that it's central to their adoption of Office 365. I would be eager to explore this one on one!
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Privacy indeed would be a huge concern. If that function works well the first step is to turn it off.
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