Is the New Office 365 Delve for Enterprise Content Management?

June 17, 2015 by Team RecordLion

At the recent Microsoft Ignite conference there was a lot of excitement about the new Office 365 Delve. This is the new tool that helps you discover the information that's likely to be most interesting to you across Office 365. You don't have to remember the title of a document or where it's stored. Delve shows you documents no matter where they are stored whether they are in OneDrive for Business or in (SharePoint) Sites in Office 365. So can Delve make Enterprise Content Management better?

The Five Tenets of Enterprise Content Management

According to AIIM (the Global Community of Information Professionals) the five tenants of ECM are Capture, Manage, Store, Preserving and Delivering of documents. Let us look at these five tenants and see if Delve can help.


Capturing is basically entering content into the system. Delve is a discovery tool that magically shows you relevant documents. It has nothing do with Capturing documents so it cannot help you here.


Managing content means what you do with it next so it can be retrieved and consumed by whomever needs it. Typically an ECM system will use forms processing, recognition (OCR), categorization (Taxonomy) and indexing to enable the retrieval and consumption of content. Delve on the other hand does not leverage this information. Delve stores activity and analytics data and uses this information to examine relationships between people and documents. It analyzes activities such as viewing and modifying a document, and then looks at relationships such as your colleagues, direct reports and manager to determine what is relevant to you. Delve can possibly eliminate the need to index your content.


Storing is determining a home for your content within your infrastructure. Delve may help here. Delve does not require that the content be located in a particular area to consume it. Delve currently will process content residing in Team Sites, OneDrive for Business and Exchange. This can be a benefit if you have users storing content in all these places. However, users must elect to share their content from OneDrive in order for Delve to process it. However, Delve’s ability to easily surface content from many sources may encourage companies to develop a plan on how and where to store their content.


Preserving refers to the long term care of your content. It deals with the practice of archiving and protecting your content. This typically points to records management. Delve has the potential to help in this process by identifying relevant records through its unique use of activity and analytics data.


Delivering your content to so it can be consumed many times is the most important. Why else would you bother capturing and storing it? Delivering is about putting relevant content in front of the right people when they need it. Depending on your perspective of ECM Delve either shines or fails here. Delve claims to deliver relevant content to users using analytics based on activities and relationships. A user can click on his “My Work” link and he is presented a group of documents magically sorted by relevance. The relevance appears to be based on how recent a document was modified and by how close the relationship is between the user and the person who modified it.

Delve’s strength is more in collaboration rather than ECM. The analytics it uses is more relevant to unstructured content produced by office apps. Granted you can use the search box to filter out your documents based on keywords or metadata produced during indexing. However, this is basically what SharePoint already does. Delve still does not add much when retrieving semi-structured content such as invoices, purchase orders and receipts. This type of content has data contained in the content that needs to be processed and translated into something more meaningful that a company can use to become more productive. Relevancy on semi-structured content is typically dependent upon the company’s business process.

So is Delve for you?

Delve can be a great collaboration tool by easily putting work group based documents where you want them and when you want them. It removes the clutter from your document inbox. However, does Delve help you with ECM? Probably not. Especially if your company is doing transactional content management that revolves around business processes. Delve’s search does not allow users to construct more structured exact searches that may be more relevant than activity and organizational charts. It also encourages the creation silos of information and may encourage companies not to think about content classification. You decide. You can get more information about Office 365 Delve at the links below:


This post was authored by Steve Curran, SharePoint MVP, his blog can be found here.

Topics: Enterprise Content Management, Delve, Office 365