Mobile App First Followed by the Browser App?
Message Center notification MC242486 brought the news that Microsoft plans to retire the Delve clients for iOS and Android on June 1, 2021. Microsoft already removed the app from the Apple and Google app stores on March 1, the day before they published MC242486.
Delve Bits and Pieces Gradually Disappear
Microsoft’s decision is unsurprising. It’s in line with a general feeling of apathy and disinterest which has surrounded Delve for the past few years. Delve began to slip down the slippery slope towards deprecation when Microsoft renamed Delve Analytics to be MyAnalytics in November 2016. That wasn’t a real problem because Delve had provided MyAnalytics with a convenient home in its early days even though not much connected the two apps.
More fundamentally, the next bit of Delve to disappear happened in 2020, when Microsoft retired the Delve blogs feature. This was a remnant of the knowledge management portal Microsoft discussed with great gusto at the Ignite 2015 conference. That portal never appeared.
Now it’s Delve mobile. The next thing will be to retire the entire app. I expect this to happen reasonably soon. Despite Delve being the first app to use Graph-derived insights, there’s no obvious function for the app within Office 365. The Graph is used across all apps and organizations can use the Graph API if they want to create some of the same insights delivered by Delve. All apps have a lifetime. After six years, Delve is approaching the end game.
Microsoft’s Focus Has Been Elsewhere
Instead of doing anything significant over the last four years to improve how Delve works, Microsoft’s attention has been on improving Microsoft Search and integrating it across Office 365. It’s hard to argue against this tactic because search has improved and is better at finding information today than it was at any point in the past.
In 2019, Microsoft linked search results from Office 365 sources (but not email) with Bing that people who use the Bing search engine see results from SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and Yammer alongside results from the internet.
Recently, Microsoft has focused on delivering the Project Cortex spinoffs in SharePoint Syntex and Viva Topics. These both provide what Paul Thurrott refers to as a “licensable moment.” In other words, Microsoft creates an opportunity to charge customers for extra licenses. In the case of both Syntex and Topics, it’s an extra $5/user/month or $120/user/year if an organization decides to take both options. You can see why Microsoft would focus on this kind of opportunity instead of devoting development resources to improve Delve. It’s a no-brainer.
Outlook Mobile is a Poor Replacement
Microsoft recommends Outlook mobile as a replacement and says that this app has similar features. Access to the user directory is certainly available through Outlook mobile, which also displays some information about recent (recommended) files and files received and sent by email. However, Outlook mobile isn’t designed to focus on documents and so doesn’t offer the same information about recent documents as the Delve app does (Figure 1).
Nor does Outlook mobile show any information about trending documents (files worked on by co-workers). I guess it’s the best replacement Microsoft could come up with from the suite of mobile Office 365 apps.
No Tears Please
I’m not sure if any tears will be shed at the demise of Delve mobile or indeed when the time comes for its browser app to retire. Technology has moved on. Delve was interesting when it appeared in 2015, but even simply in Office 365 terms, that was pre-Teams, pre-Stream, pre-Forms, pre-lots of other changes. Microsoft hasn’t dedicated the resources to help Delve keep up, so off it must go.
Delve is covered in the companion volume for Office 365 for IT Pros. We moved the text there two editions ago because of the lack of progress in the app. Like Microsoft, we’ve got to clean out old material to make way for new.