Microsoft Delve is Nice But are Other Options Better

Microsoft has finally announced the release of Delve, a project that had been hidden under the code name Oslo and about which little was known.

When it was unveiled at the SharePoint conference earlier this year, then later as part of Office 365, Microsoft described it as a new way of getting working done. With it, Microsoft said, workers could find any content they needed, anywhere

Exciting as the announcement was — at least for Microsoft users — it doesn’t really extend beyond the Microsoft environment. Yes, it can find a needle in the massive haystack of your enterprise content ... as long as that content is in Microsoft applications. 

But Wait a Minute

But what about if the content is in Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, file shares, email or even desktop hard drives. What then?

The people at Docurated claim to have a solution. In fact, they insist, they not only have something that is quite similar to Delve, but that they were doing it before Delve, giving them more experience with the task than Microsoft.

They also point out that while Delve itself is an excellent application, the excitement around it was created largely because of its ability to search across Office 365 — and, or course, the massive marketing drive that Microsoft initiated to get it out.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. Microsoft is what it is and it terms of sheer clout there are few companies on the planet that could get the media and marketing departments out the way Microsoft can. But the fact remains that there are other products out there, including the one that Docurated claims is better, if only because it has a wider search range.

So what is Delve? A blog post at the time of the original announcement stated that the goal for Delve was help people get their work done in a quicker and with less stress.

After all, a workers job isn’t just to 'search.' Workers use search as a tool to get jobs done. This more ambitious goal drove us to ask how we could remove the information silos that exist across applications, better support information discovery, and enable teams to work together as a network,” Ashok Kuppusamy, group program manager in the FAST engineering team based in Norway, wrote in the post.

2014-11-8 Docurated where content is stored.jpg

At the back of it is the idea that all content and applications in Office 365 needed to be tied together as one.

Docurated goes beyond this, Fergal Glynn, vice president of marketing at Docurated, stated: "We've been going to market for the last two plus years with a Delve-like product. But, we are actually ahead of them and pretty superior — Docurated works across the most common storage platforms in the enterprise today (SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, File Share etc.). We also just added support for The Salesforce integration is also exciting because it allows us to tie content to deals and show Sales Leaders the content that closes."

That’s quite a claim, but one that Docurated appears to be able to support, after all, finding content is the very essence of the Docurated platform

Glynn said what both Delve and Docurated do goes beyond traditional search, which simply throws up text-based search results when a query is put into it.

With Delve and Docurated, you're getting a thumbnail of the page where that particularly text or content appears. Given that a picture paints a thousand words, the value of offering pictorial results cannot be overestimated.

2014-11-8 Docurated and salesforce.jpg

Docurated with Salesforce

Docurated Algorithm

Microsoft has been working hard on the Delve user interface so what you get is a pretty neat representation of all the content that is contained across your Microsoft infrastructure, which is fine if you are a Microsoft-only shop. "This all works with Microsoft content, but not everything is in Office 365. We are in a heterogeneous world for storage. People have stuff on the cloud, they have stuff in SharePoint, they have it in file shares, on the server on the desktop or in the email," Glynn said.

The Docurated product is all based on an in-house algorithm that goes further than most current search parameters. Glynn said users don’t need, or want to know where information is located, or how it gets to their screens, as long as they get it.

He explains that the original Google search algorithm demonstrated the fact that content signals are an extremely effective way of building search applications. Those signals include:

  • Content usage: the more instances of a particular piece of content — a slide, page, paragraph, or chart — appear in documents across the organization the more likely that content is to be relevant
  • Content freshness: The fresher, or newer, the content the more likely it is to be relevant
  • Past Results and Actions over Time: If you are looking for content and a peer was looking for similar content and ended up finding and using a specific page or slide, that page or slide is also likely to be relevant to your search

An enterprise solution needs to be able to index, find or discover all the content in the enterprise.

Best-Of-Breed Applications

But Docurated is based on the concept that data analysis and signaling must go beyond documents to the page and object level. This enables sales and marketing professionals who are looking for that exact slide, page or piece of content to find what they need.

This is how the Docurated algorithm works. We break documents down into objects so that within a PowerPoint slide — a text, a picture or a chart, for example. We break that down in different objects and we look across all these objects individually and check where that content is being used to see where that object is being use. It is being used in a lot of places, we think there must be something good there and we take that as a signal and it gets sent forward.

Given the fact that many companies across all areas of technology are going down the best-of-breed road, the market for such a solution has massive potential.

2014-11-8 Docurated results UI.jpg

Docurated search results

With the best of breed you risk setting up all these different siloes, but Docurated offers connectivity across all these different systems is a connectivity layer on top of those systems that protects you from turning all these applications.

Docurated not only works with Microsoft, but with many other technologies and offers enterprises a way around the vendor lock-in that they may experience with Delve and Microsoft.

Its only one way forward and one alternative to Delve, but for those looking to escape Microsoft, it could be a solution.