Office 365 Groups rely on the Microsoft Graph. The Graph maps relationships between people, communication, activities and information. This enables it to provide personalised search results.
An example are frequently visited or recently used Groups and sites. In Office 365, collaboration and communication are a shallow structure. Intranets are formalised and planned. But for the most part, collaboration happens in a shallow container. If Office 365 Groups are to support a flexible, human collaboration style, they need to also be easy to navigate and find.
Graph powered navigation makes a lot of sense when it’s consistent across different experiences. If in an Office document, I want to see my frequently visited Groups so I can save to them or open from them. When I’m in a mobile app or in OneDrive, I need to see these frequently visited Groups.
If Groups are for activity based work and I’m actively working in 5 work groups, this helps me find my work quickly so I can focus.
When I Favourite a Group, I have some control of the Groups I see. This is much like pinning a document in a Most Recently Used document list.
We will still use navigation for more formal intranet structures. But Group collaboration will need to continue to leverage the Graph to surface what we are most commonly using. When we move onto another project, it will bubble up in the Frequently visited list.
I like that I can choose to work on a project or activity, virtually turn around and find the people, conversations, files and content. The Microsoft Graph joins the dots between end-user provisioned collaboration tools. Without the Graph, we would see the familiar mess of self-provisioned SharePoint team sites.
What are your thoughts about navigation aided by the Microsoft Graph? Do you prefer a human defined navigation structure? Or do the agree that we need a little machine-learned assistance?
Also published on Medium.