Microsoft Delve to Stay Connected

A lonely leaf on a tree…. Loney Leaf on TreeThat’s the feeling that I have experienced in the past while working remotely on long-term client engagements. It’s easy to feel disconnected from the goings-on at company headquarters when you are only there a few times a month or year. I know the opposite to be true as well. Companies want their remote employees to feel like they are still part of the team. Countless articles have been written on this topic and the use of technology is often listed as one of the ways to keep remote employees engaged and feeling like part of the team.

One tool that that helps me feel more connected with my colleagues is Microsoft Delve.

Delve is Microsoft’s information discovery tool that uses machine learning to deliver relevant content to users. Upon opening Delve, users are immediately presented with files that it calculates would be of interest to them based on their relationships with their colleagues and most importantly permissions to access those files. Delve respects existing permission setting to content. If a user does not have permission to access a file, that file will not show up in their Delve interface.

Delve presents data in a modern card-based interface, Microsoft Delve Xgility Examplelike other well-known social media sites. Each file card displays the author of the file, the name of the file, location of the file, and a thumbnail image of the file. Users can also mark files as favorites and pin cards to boards for organization and easy retrieval.

Delve makes it easy for users to find their recently accessed files from SharePoint online, OneDrive for Business, and even SharePoint on-prem. Users can also discover information about their colleagues such as their recently accessed files, as well as contact information. Again, all file access is based on permissions. Users will not see files they do not have permission to see.

I use Delve to help feel connected in several ways. First, I use it to keep up with hot topics that others in my company are presenting on. I also use it as a learning tool. I have a colleague that is a master at creating PowerPoint presentations. I often download and dissect his presentations to learn how he created his transitions and animations. Again, this is all permission based. I only see the files that I have permission to see and download. Finally, I use Delve to find stock photography that was created by our graphics department. By clicking on the name of our graphic artist, I can see her most recently created images.


Jeremy Thake, from our friends at Hyperfish, also has an interesting take on Delve.  Check out their blog article here.

Delve is part of the ever evolving Office 365 services available as part of an E5 subscription.  Our team of experts can train your organization on how to use Office 365 to stay connected.  If you want a full implementation plan for Office 365, our managed services team can make sure your organization benefits from the latest available from Microsoft.  For questions about either, please contact us.



Author:  Dean Virag

Editors:  Kurt Greening and Alex Finkel

Microsoft Office 365 Flow General Availability

Many SharePoint power users learned to love and depend on the 2010 version of SharePoint Designer for their workflow needs.  However, many had a love/hate relationship with it.  Although it empowered users to automate business processes without using code, it was plagued with performance issues.  For SharePoint 2013, Microsoft addressed this by changing the framework for workflows with the addition of Workflow Manager.  Microsoft also released the 2013 version of SharePoint Designer, but without the Design View that many power users relied on.  Microsoft did not release SharePoint Designer 2016, but kept Workflow Manager.  For more on alternatives to SharePoint Designer and InfoPath, see this article.  The article on alternatives for SharePoint Designer and InfoPath also outlines the support roadmap for those two technologies.

Over time, Microsoft expects SharePoint Designer to be replaced with Microsoft Flow, the cloud-based SaaS that allows end users to automate business processes across different services and applications besides SharePoint.  Flow is Microsoft’s newest tool for creating workflows.  Xgility was pleased to be one of the over 61,000 organizations that participated in the preview of Microsoft Flow.  Flow is a cloud-based service for Office 365, but you can also connect with on premise SharePoint 2016 sites using a secure data gateway.

While previewing Flow, a glaring difference from previous workflow tools is that it is very focused on the individual business processes rather than the enterprise business processes.  When creating Flows, you are signing into your own Office 365 account and using your own login for any service you need to authenticate with.  (Think in terms of impersonation steps in SharePoint Designer workflows).  There was also no way to share the flows that you create.

To address this, new features have been introduced along with Flow becoming generally available.  Environments provide the ability to share Flows within an organization or group of users.  They also provide boundaries by using a permissions structure to control who accesses Flows.  The environments are created and managed by Flow Administrators.

Flow Environments Office 365

Flow Security Office 365


There is also the Flow Admin Center.  Here, data policies can be applied to control which services Flows created and which specific environments it can interact with.  This will tremendously assist in the governance nightmare that Flow could create by users possibly sending data to whatever service they have access to.

Flow Admin Center Office 365

Flow Data Office 365


Xgility is excited to continue using Flow to automate business processes with the cloud and to see what new features will be released next.  It seems that Microsoft Flow in Preview mainly focused on the individual business processes rather than organizational business processes, but it is now being fine-tuned to meet enterprise needs.


Melissa Hubbard will be presenting an overview of Flow at the Federal SharePoint User Group on December 15th at Microsoft in Reston, VA.  To find out more information or to register, go here.

If you are wondering whether Flow is right for your organization, you may want to ask us to train your organization on workflows or ask us about ongoing managed adoption services.  For questions about either, please contact us.  Also, if you are interested in a free trial of Office 365, get your Office 365 E5 trial subscription here.


You can learn more about Flow in our Intro to Microsoft Flow YouTube video below:



Author:  Melissa Hubbard

Editors:  Stephen Heister and Alex Finkel

Using Calculated Columns to Display Weekly Items

This post details how to display the current week’s items.  Displaying current calendar events and tasks can help keep your site’s home page dynamic and fresh.

My example uses a calendar list, but this solution can be used in any library or list with a date field.  For non-calendars, substitute the “Start Time” and “End Time” columns as needed.

IMPORTANT:  Recurring calendar events will not display in the week view.

NOTE: This blog assumes you know how to complete the following actions: 1) Create lists, 2) create new list columns, 3) create views, and 4) add web parts to web pages.   The example was created using Office 365.

Calculated Columns for Displaying Weekly Items

Create the below calculated columns in your list or library.

NOTE:   If you copy the formulas below, replace all opening and closing quotation marks with regular quotation marks.  Otherwise, you will receive an error when saving the new columns.

Calculated Column


Data Type Returned Formula
Calc_WeekViewEnd Date and Time/Date Only =[End Time]-WEEKDAY([End Time],2)+7
Calc_WeekViewStart Date and Time/Date Only =[Calc_WeekViewEnd]-7


View Settings for “This Week” Only

Create a view named “This Week” with the following filters:

Calc_WeekViewStart is less than or equal to [Today], AND, Calc_WeekViewEnd is greater than or equal to [Today]



Calculated Columns for Displaying the Day of the Week (or Days )

To add the day of the week the event or task is occurring, create the below calculated columns, and then add the “Day” column to the “This Week” view.

NOTE:   If you copy the formulas below, replace all opening and closing quotation marks with regular quotation marks.  Otherwise, you will receive an error when saving the new columns.

Calculated Column


Data Type Returned Formula
Day_CalcStartTime Date and Time/Date Only =IF(TEXT(([End Time]-[Start Time])-TRUNC(([End Time]-[Start Time]),0),”0.000000000″)=”0.999305556″,IF([Start Time]=ROUND([Start Time],0),[Start Time],[Start Time]+1),[Start Time])
Day_Start Single line of text =TEXT(WEEKDAY([Day_CalcStartTime]),”dddd”)


Day_End Single line of text =TEXT(WEEKDAY([End Time]),”dddd”)


Day Single line of text =IF((Day_Start=Day_End),Day_Start,(Day_Start&” – “&Day_End))



Additional Screenshots







Author:  Jenny Hersko