Microsoft adds boards feature to Delve to ease content organization

All employees can create and add to a board, but they can only view content that they have permission to access

Microsoft has added a feature to its Delve content discovery tool that lets users gather material related to a certain task or idea and place it in a central location.

Called boards, the feature works by allowing users to create a board around a specific topic by populating it with cards that Delve has created, Microsoft said Wednesday. For example, users can create a board that contains cards pertaining to a certain work project.

Delve uses Microsoft's Office Graph machine learning engine to determine the information contained in the cards and display them on a dashboard. The engine mines Office 365, OneDrive for Business, the O365 video portal and SharePoint for relevant and important content, such as documents and videos, and places them in cards. Delve will eventually be able to search and incorporate content from Yammer and Exchange.

Any user can create and add to a board and share its URL with colleagues, but people can only view and open documents that they already have permission to access, Microsoft said. Delve, part of the Office 365 cloud collaboration suite, has raised some security and privacy concern at businesses that want to keep employees from viewing content they shouldn't be able to access.

Microsoft hopes that by using boards, employees can more easily stay up to date on projects and other tasks. Instead of remembering to track down and check a specific document to stay abreast of a project, for example, workers can instead search for a board that contains all the content related to the project.

Microsoft has pitched Delve as a way to increase worker productivity and improve collaboration by gathering content that's key to a certain function and grouping it together. In theory, Delve would be able scan a person's Office 365 calendar for a meeting, understand the meeting's context, search OneDrive for Word documents relevant to the event and place them in cards on Delve's dashboard. By automating search, prioritization and organization functions, Delve will save workers time, Microsoft has said.

For now, though, customers are just starting to use Delve, which began a gradual rollout last September and will be available to all users by early 2015, Microsoft said.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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