Office 365 Delve and Groups

I would contend that most people have more technology at their fingertips than they imagine. The problem is that most don’t make full use of what’s available to them. In fact I would contend that most people are far from effective when it comes to using technology.

Why is this? The simple answer is legacy. Human beings are creatures of habit, they don’t like change and prefer to do things ‘the way they have always been done’. The typical manifestation of this is the common statement ‘I’m just too busy’.

In short, you need to invest to get the reward. To be constantly busy, as I have pointed out before, is a cop out. It is simply an excuse for being unfocused. Technology is there to be our slave not our master. What many fail to appreciate is that if we don’t use technology appropriately it actually makes us less effective. That’s right, the inappropriate use of technology makes you more unproductive and ‘busier’.

Therefore to reap the benefits of technology we need to invest in education to learn how to make best use of the technology we have. Typically this will also mean changing the way we do things to get optimal returns but isn’t that the end game? Isn’t the ultimate aim to become more productive and attain more ‘free’ time to do with what you choose? Yet few seem to be willing to make that investment in education, which to me is very strange.

A good case in point is the feature set that is available to people using Office 365. Most simply use it for email and they use in exactly the way they have always. What real benefit does that provide? How is their life really any better if they are just what they have always done? A smaller subset of people use OneDrive and Teams Sites but little else.

Having been available for many months, most people are still puzzled at what Delve actually is. I wrote an article a while back that explains it in detail and why it is so important:

Delve should be the centre of your Office 365 universe

Delve is automatically configured in Office 365, there is nothing that needs setting up. All you need to do is use it! Sure, it’ll mean doing things differently but the productivity rewards are great.

Another component of Office 365 that I don’t used nearly as frequently as it should be is office 365 Groups. Groups are merely a combination of an email distribution list and file storage and make a great starting point for basic collaboration inside a business. Sadly, most overlook it.

What I find helps is getting an overall picture of a product like Office 365 and then mapping data and functions into that. Here is an article I wrote to help people understand that very fact:

Where to put data in Office 365

To therefore help people better understand Office 365 Delve and Groups I have published the above webinar I conducted which will give you a deep dive into both areas and hopefully open you eyes to the potential benefits they can provide when it comes to boosting your productivity.

Remember, improved effectiveness means education and being ‘busy’ all the time is simply an excuse to avoid becoming more effective. Technology is merely a tool, whether you use to improve your life is totally up to you. Technology can only perform to the skill level of the operator, it doesn’t do anything magic or miraculous on its own. If you therefore want to use technology more effectively, educate yourself on the tools you have and the above video maybe a great place to start if you are yet to undercover the power of Delve and Groups in Office 365.

Office 365 Connectors

A while back I wrote about how Microsoft was bringing PowerApps to Office 365 to provide improved automation and connectivity with information outside Office 365. Microsoft has now extended those options further into Office 365 with the new Office 365 Connectors which it has announced here:

Announcing Office 365 Connectors

Here’s how to set up a connector for Twitter.


From the app launcher navigate to Outlook.


From the options on the left locate the Groups heading. Under that locate the Create option as shown above to create a new group and select.

You can add a connector to an existing group but in the list case I’m going to create a new dedicated group. This allows people to work with this specific information rather than mixing it in with other stuff. However, if you perhaps already have a marketing group, it makes sense to connect these to your favourite external service.


The Office 365 Group creation option now appears on the right. Give the new group an appropriate name (here ‘Twitter’), set the Privacy and finally whether messages from the Group will be sent to members inboxes. Beware of using this option if you expect a lot of information to flow from the external source.

When complete, select Create to continue.


Next, add the desired members to this group by typing their name.

When complete, select Add to continue.


The new group will now be displayed on the screen.


Across the menu at the top of the group select Connectors.


This will open a new Connectors window as shown above.


Scroll down the list until you locate the connector you wish to add. In this case, the Twitter connector is located. Select the Add button.


You’ll now be prompted to login to the external service. Select Sign In to continue.


Enter the details for the service and select Sign In to continue. This authorisation page may vary slightly depending on which external services you are connecting to.


The next configurations will vary depending on the external service you connect to. For Twitter, you can select Twitter accounts to follow (@office365) as well as hastags to follow (here #office365).


You then set the Notification options as well as the Frequency.

When complete, select Save.


You’ll then be returned to the Connectors page where you should see the connectors you just added at the top of the page.


If you select the My Accounts option at the top of the page you will see all the external connectors you have configured as shown above.

You can now close this window and return to the Office 365 Group.


You should now start to see the configured external information start to flow into the conversations for that group as shown above.

So, Office 365 Connectors are a way of bringing in information from external applications into an Office 365 Group. Once there, they can be shared with members of the group as well as being used a source of information to drive conversations. All of this information will also be available on Office 365 mobile apps.

Microsoft’s blog post also mentions that a similar ability to this will soon be brought directly to users inboxes and then to other Office 365 services.

Now combine these new Office 365 Connectors with Delve and you’ll see how rich an information source Office 365 will be, especially as Delve provides a single pane of glass across everything in Office 365, now including these external sources brought in via Office 365 connectors.

Delve should be the centre of your Office 365 universe

Office 365 Connectors is currently only available for those configured for First Release but will soon be standard across all tenants. More connectors to other external sources will also become available.

So go forth and connect I say!

Disabling Delve per user

A while back I wrote a post about how to turn off Delve.

Disabling Delve

that information is echoed in the Microsoft documentation

Can I turn off Delve?

However, upon revisiting my tenant now I find the options somewhat different.


The first step is to select your user icon in the top right of the Office 365 portal. That will display the menu shown above from which you select About me.


This will take you to your Delve profile as shown above.


If you now select the COG in the cupper right you should see the menu shown. From this, select Features settings.


This displays the above information with the option to turn off documents in Delve.


This is somewhat different to what it used to be as shown above which gives you the option to Turn off Delve and hide my activity from others.

Unfortunately the Learn more link in the current Delve settings, which resolves to:


appears to navigate to a non existant page.

Some of this confusion maybe because I have my tenant set to First Release which means I get newer features faster but I feel that things are not quite as clear as before when it comes to disabling Delve if needed.

Previously, it spoke about not sharing your “activity” whereas now it only speaks about preventing your docuements howing up in other people’s Delve.

Now your “activity” could now just be documents in Delve. That is, they are one in the same, but for the paranoid amongst us this lack of clarity could be a privacy concern. I think using “Don’t share my activity” is a much clearer and potentially wide ranging option.

I can’t really see any benefits to users disabling Delve but there are a small minority who might and I think that somewhat clearer messaging around disabling Delve would prevent confusion in regards to privacy concerns. I however have no doubt that these setting will appear as the service conftinues to improve over time, however for the time being you only seem to be able to disable document sharing in Delve is as I have outlined above.

How to present Office 365

I’m working on a new course for my online training academy that will give people a framework for successfully presenting Office 365 to prospects, clients and colleagues.

Having presented this material in face to face classroom sessions I was really looking to incorporate the “whiteboard” experience on screen. What I therefore decided to try was using the Windows 10 OneNote app on my Surface 3 along with the Surface pen to see how well it would work while obviusly recording the whole thing.

My trial attempt is shown above and I think it worked pretty well. Obviously, there will need to be some polishing done before I release the final version of the course material, which will also contain more tutorials on how to present each individual service such as Delve.

Have a look and let me know what you think at the rough draft of on screen “whiteboarding”. Also, if you have played with OneNote and a pen then I suggest you do as OneNote is a great hand notetaking tool as hopefully the video illustrates. Of course if you want to find out when the course on Presenting Office 365 becomes available then stay tuned here or sign up for free at my online academy:

A new intro to Delve

If you want to see why I think Delve is such an important component of Office 365 then you should read an earlier post:

Delve should be the center of your Office 365 universe

Microsoft has changed the way it educates users about when they visit Delve for the first time.


They will see the above splash screen, at which point they can continue straight to Delve or work through the introduction.


If they elect to learn more about Delve they will then see the above screen, which is the second part of the education process.


Then another.


Until finally they see the above screen. Typically from here users will then be taken to Delve.

All in all, a good bit of extra information around Delve to give users a better understanding of what it is and what it does.

The reality with Delve, like most of Office 365, is that it is speedily adding new features as this recent blog post outlines:

Office Delve adds Praise, Favorites and enhances content creation

I am already beginning to see Delve favourites option appearing my tenant:


and I really can’t wait for the praise feature to become available, as I think that is going to be a huge driver of adoption.

What truly amazes me is the number of people, resellers and customers, who don’t use Delve! Maybe they have looked it, can’t understand what it is, so they never return. Bad move. Delve is a way to really boost your productivity and be across all your company information quickly and easily. It is really the future of how people will access information in cloud services I believe. That is why it is so important to start looking and understanding it now, because it is going to become very pervasive.

As always, very excited to see all these updates coming to the service and seeing how they make things easier.

Delve gets specific


I wrote a blog post recently that highlighted how Delve should be the center of your Office 365 universe. In essence, it is a single pane of glass across all your information sources. So instead of digging through your inbox, then documents, then social feeds you go to Delve and everything is presented in an order of its relevance to you automatically.

Microsoft has now added a new document type filter button when you visit the Me section of your Delve. When you select the Me link on the left you see your profile as shown above. However if you look on the right hand side you will see a new option I’m looking for.


If you select this you’ll be presented with a list of file types as shown above.


If for example select Excel then your Delve will be filtered to only show those file types as seen above.

This is a handy way to quickly locate the file type you are working using Delve. This new option is available now available to those on the first release program and will be rolled out to everyone else soon.

Delve should be the center of your Office 365 universe

How do you get Delve?

Delve is currently only available to Office 365 subscribers. Delve is included with all Office 365 suites that include SharePoint Online (Business Essentials, Business Premium, E1, E3 and E4). Users who are assigned a SharePoint Online license as part of the suite will also get Delve.


What is Delve?

Under the covers of Office 365 is something called Officegraph. It monitors interactions between people and the information they use. It then applies machine learning to these interactions in order to determine what is most relevant.

One of the ways that the results of this machine learning is surfaced to Office 365 users is via Delve (Clutter is another place). As you can see from the above video, Delve is simply another location users can navigate to in Office 365 from their App Launcher.

When a user navigates to Delve they are presented with information from Office 365 that is most relevant to them at that moment. This means they could see documents from Team Sites or OneDrive. They could see emails or conversations in Yammer or content from Skype for Business.

Delve does not change or negate permissions in Office 365, a user can only see in Delve what they can see elsewhere in Office 365. If they don’t have access to it elsewhere, Delve will not show it to them.

The more important the information that the machine learning in Officegraph determines something is, the higher it will rank in a users Delve.

Why use Delve?

If you think about the way most people work in a business these days, firstly, they dive into their emails, then they may jump across and access some files. Maybe they then have a phone or Skype call with some instant messaging thrown in. Then maybe they go out to a social network to catch up on what’s happening. They then of course repeat this process over and over again during their day.

Delve alleviates a lot of this service switching by providing a single ‘pane of glass’  at which a user can get an overview across all their information locations arranged in a manner that is most relevant to them. This means that documents they have recently been working appear at the top of the list in Delve.

From Delve, users can then simply select the information they want and be taken directly to that location where ever it is in Office 365. So let’s say that you are working on a document and you save it somewhere quickly to get on with other tasks. When you want to come back to that document later you may have forgotten exactly where you saved it. Was it in OneDrive? Maybe this Team Site? No. Maybe that Team Site? Now, what did I call it again so I can search for it? By using Delve instead, you’ll see that document listed near the top of your feed and by selecting it you’ll be taken directly to that location.

Inside a business it is important to remember that we do not work in isolation. We are generally part of many teams, large and small as well as many interactions. We therefore also need to collaborate with others, share information and gain insight from understanding what others in the business are working on. Once again, Delve provides benefits because it allows you to not only see what information is most relevant to you but also what information is relevant to others in your team. In essence, if you select a colleague in your Delve you’ll see their Delve (again remembering Delve respects security and permissions).


So if I login as a user and navigate to Delve I see something like that shown above, which is information about Me.


But if now select someone else under People menu on the left hand side you’ll that I see their Delve activity feed which is different to mine.


If I now select their Profile instead of their Activity I get information about them as shown above. On this page are direct links to their email address, phone and chat.


If you look closely at a Delve card you see that it has information about the user at the top of the card, which you can select, that will take you to their profile. If you click on document in the middle of the card, a new tab in browser will open and you’ll be taken directly to the location for that document wherever it is in Office 365.


At the bottom of the card you’ll see the location of the document (here in a SharePoint Team Site called Demo) as well as links to collaborate further on this document via email, or share it with others (like you do in SharePoint but here directly from Delve).


However, what I believe is a better way to share documents to gain feedback is via document conversations in Yammer. This occurs when you select the Yammer icon below the document. When you do this a pane will slide out from the right hand side of the window and you’ll we prompted to post a link to the document in Yammer as well as see any existing conversations around this document already in Yammer as shown above. This document conversation feature used to be part of SharePoint Online directly but has been deprecated as I indicated in a previous post here:

Document conversations deprecated

The final option available when it comes to sharing are Delve Boards.

Delve Boards basically allow you to ‘pin’ information from Delve to an ‘interest’ or topic. Imagine that your business is doing a project, you could create Delve Board with the project name and then ‘pin’ information to it


When you create a board and add something to it you are sharing that across your organisation so that everyone (with suitable permissions of course) can view what is on the board and pin their own stuff to it.


You will see, just under the board name you can elect to Follow/Unfollow the board as well as send a link to the board via email.

Why is Delve important?

The more that I see of Delve and the more I understand the direction Microsoft is taking with Office 365 the more important I believe Delve is to every business using Office 365. It’s ability to function as a ‘single pane’ of glass across all your content. It’s ability to show you what is most important to you, along with the ability to access and share information directly from there points to the direction your business should be heading with Office 365 I believe.

Yes, it is probably a very different way of working from the way you currently do BUT I am very confident that using it would provide major productivity benefits across any business if utilised appropriately. Remember, you don’t have to abandon the way you do things now to use Delve, you can start using it today and then judge for yourself, which is exactly what I’d encourage you to do. Try and see before making any judgement.

Too many times we become locked into a routine, into a comfortable way of doing things for purely emotional reasons. After we embrace something new that really works we wonder why we didn’t do it sooner. I think this is very much the case with Delve base on my interactions with resellers and users (more resellers tho’).

The common mentality is, because I don’t understand it I won’t use it, whereas a true business mentality should be let me see if this can provide me business benefit. Yes, Delve is a different way of going about your work but just because its different doesn’t mean it is worse, in fact I’d pretty much wager that it will make things better. A lot better.

Can I disable Delve?


Each user can disable Delve if they so desire. The do this by navigating to Delve and selecting the Cog in the top right corner. From the menu that appears they then select Sharing Activity.


They will then be given the option as shown above to disable Delve.


If you want to disable Delve across you whole organisation you’ll need to login as an administrator and visit the SharePoint admin center. There under Settings you find the above option for Officegraph which when disallowed will also disable Delve.


I certainly see Delve becoming more and more the center of the Office 365 universe. It will be the central place to access all your information. It will be the place to stay up to date with what’s happening across you whole organisation. It will be the place you go to share information with people inside and outside your business. And that is just for starters.

in short, it will make you and your business more productive and that’s why you should start using it today, because from what I have seen of the roadmap for Delve and Office 365 it is only going to get better and more powerful. (see Hey, workaholics: Microsoft Delve will track your ‘work life balance as an example of what’s coming).


What is Office Delve?

Office Delve for Office 365 admins

Are my document safe in Office Delve?

Document conversations deprecated

It was disappointing to learn today that Microsoft has decided to deprecate the document conversations feature linking SharePoint Online and Yammer.


Just over a year ago I wrote how this new features had been enabled:

Yammer integration has arrived

and how excited I was to see social being integrated into traditional file storage. But according to this blog post from Microsoft:

at the bottom amongst the questions is this.

Previously, we announced the release of document conversations, which embeds Yammer conversations inside files stored in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online. However, we’ve seen very low engagement with this feature in its current implementation. Today’s announced Office Online integration brings document collaboration into Yammer. We believe giving teams the ability to work on files in the context of their existing Yammer groups and conversations provides a more engaging and relevant experience. As such, with this latest release of document collaboration using Office Online inside Yammer, we are rolling back the current implementation of the document conversation feature, but will continue to explore other ways for users to start new Yammer conversations from files.

Interestingly, these new features they speak of seem to only apply to:

First, the document preview and edit experience for files uploaded into Yammer are now powered by Office Online.

To my mind that is creating another silo in which information will reside as Yammer documents are different from SharePoint Online documents. Unfortunately, as I understand it, Yammer documents don’t have the same functionality as SharePoint document when it comes to things like workflows, check in / check out, approvals, etc. at this point in time.

It seemed to me that the old way of having documents hosted in a single location like SharePoint and then having Yammer conversations around these document made a lot more sense. The new changes seem to me to be encouraging people to continue to put files in different locations and in turn cause more confusion and frustration about where the ‘single point of truth’ actually lies.

However, I do see something very positive when I read further through the blog post from Microsoft:

The recently announced Yammer integration with Delve and the Office 365 Video Portal, which enables users to have inline Yammer conversations and share content to Yammer, will also remain available.

Unfortunately, this is buried at the end of the post. What in essence it says is that you should be using document conversations from Delve and not from SharePoint Online. This makes a lot of sense as Microsoft is pushing Delve as the single pane of glass across all your information repositories. I’ll be doing a post about the growing importance of Delve soon, so stay tuned.

I have championed the fact that Office 365 users need to start making Delve the central part of their Office 365 experience for two reasons. Firstly, it makes your more productive and secondly this is the direction Microsoft is moving with Office 365.

If anything, this change in document conversations indicates that poorly utilise features will be deprecated (which Microsoft will do more rapidly since it can monitor the metrics so much easier) and secondly that Delve is becoming the most important piece of Office 365!