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SharePoint Tutorial: Content Personalization with MS Graph

By Cathy Dew on June 27, 2017

SharePoint Tutorial: Content Personalization with MS Graph

Released to general availability in November 2015, Microsoft Graph is a back-end API tool meant to help teams improve productivity within Office 365. By giving organizations easier access to a wealth of Office 365 and Microsoft Cloud data, Microsoft Graph provides an easy way to personalize the user experience for apps, SharePoint navigation, and more. Graph primarily employs machine learning to recognize relationships, habits, and behaviors in Office 365. It then uses this data to deliver insights and intelligence that can help enterprises and their users do their jobs more effectively.
For a deep dive into all that SharePoint has to offer and how we can assist you with any functions and capabilities, check out our topic page SharePoint Consulting: Experts reveal SharePoint mysteries, eliminate confusion.

What Can Microsoft Graph Do?

The great thing about Microsoft Graph is that it doesn’t just do one thing. It’s not just a means of seeing which SharePoint documents users are looking at, or improving SharePoint navigation by personalizing the search function based on user history. Microsoft Graph can do both these things, but it’s also capable of much more—giving enterprises that much more reason to start exploring and unlocking its lengthy list of potential benefits.

The primary, overarching purpose of Microsoft Graph is to create a map detailing the way that different users interact with content (and with each other) within Microsoft Office. Graph monitors the SharePoint documents that users are accessing, modifying, interacting with, and following. Graph also keeps track of how people within an organization are connected—from manager-employee relationships to relationships between members of a particular team or group.

Check out these examples of what developers are doing with Graph.

Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Delve, and the Pursuit of Seamless SharePoint Navigation

This type of tracking and machine learning is useful for a few different reasons. First of all, Microsoft Graph integrates with Delve, a tool that curates the content that is most likely to be interesting or relevant to a specific user. Delve uses Graph to populate its curated content pages, which provide users with the content they want or need to see before they even search for it. In this sense, Microsoft Graph is a fundamental component to creating intuitive SharePoint navigation. It even creates a unified search capability across multiple Office 365 applications and document repositories.

The Importance of Context: How Microsoft Graph Maps out Users and Their Roles

By tracking relationships between people and content, Microsoft Graph is also able to understand a user’s specific context within a project, group, or enterprise as a whole. This understanding of context is helpful to both that particular user and other members of the organization. Because Graph can comprehend a person’s role within an enterprise, it can help that person be more productive. For instance, Graph can monitor your calendar on Office 365, monitoring changes, providing meeting reminders and preparation tips, letting you know when you are spending too much of your time in meetings, and providing recommendations on what meetings you might trim out of your schedule to be more productive in your day-to-day work.

However, Microsoft Graph is more than just a personal assistant. While the tool can learn a lot about specific users and use that information to help them plan their days, it is an asset mostly because it is tracking everyone all the time—not just one or two individual team members. Microsoft Graph doesn’t just understand how individual team members use content and interact with bosses and team members; rather, it gets the whole picture—an entire web of interactions and relationships within Office 365. Graph can let your colleagues know who your manager is, what your job title is, who works on your team, when you are out of the office, what documents or projects you’ve been working on recently, and more. A new team member can come to know who you are and what your role is before ever even stepping into a meeting with you.

This type of big picture tracking also makes it easier to manage groups or teams within Office 365. While it is possible to plan a meeting over email, this option is rarely ideal. You might schedule a meeting time and immediately get a dozen emails from team members, informing you about conflicts, asking for a different time, and even suggesting alternative meeting days. Because Graph is always scanning your calendar—along with everyone else’s calendars—it can suggest the best meeting times for specific groups of personnel. Depending on responses to the meeting slot, Graph can also automatically reschedule an engagement to a new time. In essence, it takes all those back-and-forth email messages about meeting times and automates them, based entirely on data and machine learning.

Getting Started with Graph

 In the meantime, see how SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is the future of customization; explore our blog to see and understand the benefits and the new features of SharePoint Framework.

If your enterprise makes ample use of Office 365 and you want to streamline the way users interact with content and with each other, you should start using Microsoft Graph to drive productivity and big-picture thinking. You can access the Graph tool by visiting graph.microsoft.com.

If you are interested in using Microsoft Graph’s integrated cloud data to improve SharePoint navigation and communication but aren’t sure where to start, 2Plus2 can help. Our SharePoint experts have used Graph and its wealth of Office 365 to build new solutions for a wide range of enterprises.

Go online to schedule a free consultation with our team or call 510-652-7700 today.

Cathy Dew
Cathy Dew – CEO + Information Architect
Cathy focuses the company on our mission – Real results. Every time. Information architect and strategist, Cathy is passionate about making software work well – the function, the feel, the result.