How To Extend The Value Of Delve Profile Pages By Using Custom Properties

One of the features in Microsoft 365 which can be overlooked is your User Profile.

Delve User Profile pages contain a lot of information about your business users, including:

  • Contact information
  • About
  • Projects
  • Skills and Expertise
  • Schools and Education
  • Interests and Hobbies
  • Additional Information

When you have accurate data in these fields, it can be a huge benefit to your organization, especially large organizations with multiple locations and/or where a good percentage of people work remotely.

Having users keep profiles up to date, enhances People Search and the ability for users to efficiently find the right resource or expertise.

With accurate data, users can better search for colleagues, whether they’re looking for expertise on a subject, wish to collaborate on a particular project, or just want to see if there is any fellow alumnus in the company!

While what Microsoft provides out-of-the-box is a good start, often we need to enhance the profile with custom fields.

We can do this by adding Custom properties to the User Profile service, making the property searchable, and choosing to display property under the Additional Information section within Delve profiles. The custom property can be edited by administrators from User Profile service or directly by users at the Delve profile page.

Below, I have outlined how to create a new custom user profile property.

If you need any help, please reach out and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Creating a New Custom User Profile Property

Login to your SharePoint Online admin center and go to Manage User Properties within User Profiles. Select “New Property.”

Assign the new property a Name, and Display Name. Choose the data Type you want property to contain.

When configuring the property, we need to determine how we want the property to behave.

  • Should the users be able to hide this property so only they can view it, or should we require it’s shown to Everyone?
  • Do we want users to be able to edit this custom property, or only allow Administrators?

These scenarios are managed through your Policy and Edit settings.

To display the custom property in Delve profile page, and to be able to manage it within User Profile service > Manage User Profiles > Edit, enable the setting “Show in the profile properties section of the user’s profile page”.

Select “Show on the Edit Details page” if you want a user to be able to edit the property.

By default, the new custom property will be Indexed by Search service.

After creating a custom property, it will immediately display under Additional Information in your Delve profile pages.

As mentioned, if you need any help with this process, please reach out and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

What You Need To Know About The New Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways

Timlin has been engaged with Microsoft over the last couple of months providing support for the beta rollout of their new Custom Learning solution for Office 365.

In typical Microsoft fashion, they recently renamed the solution to Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways. The Timlin Engineering team has been supporting the first customers by resolving issues and providing documentation for the tool.

We are very excited to work with our customers and this training tool as it provides a great framework and content for your training programs, including the following capabilities:

  • A SharePoint Online communication site that acts as your Custom training portal.  The site can be customized to add your organization’s help, support, and community content.
  • The tool is easy to provision and Timlin now brings great expertise to the provisioning process.
  • The ability to create your own training playlists.  With Learning Pathways, you can create targeted training playlists to meet the unique needs of your environment and focused on the Office 365 tools and features pertinent to you.
  • Up-to-date content.  This is a huge win as the Learning Pathways tool provides content through a Microsoft online content catalog, so the content at your site is regularly updated. In addition, the Solution is connected to an online catalog of Microsoft content.
  • Learning Pathways provides a SharePoint web part that can be filtered to present targeted training content. Organizations can also use the Web part to create their own custom playlists.

We think there is great potential in the Learning Pathways tool to help your end-users stay trained on the latest features and functions in Office 365.  No longer will your training content be out-of-date after 3 months as Microsoft will constantly be updating the training materials.

The provisioning process is relatively simple but as with most technology, can be confusing the first time.  Reach out to help with the setup as our team is very well versed in the tool and the capabilities.

Seven Key Ways to Gain Value from Office 365 User Adoption

To maximize your Office 365 investment, you need to ensure user adoption, so it’s imperative to incorporate proven change acceptance techniques when introducing new technology to your employees. Once you have business and IT alignment in regards to your innovation goals, it’s time to implement the software and ensure your users adopt, use, and expand their skills within Office 365.

Let’s explore seven key areas of value your business will realize with full Office 365 user adoption.

1.) Increased Efficiency and Innovation

With a functioning and adopted Office 365 solution in place, you save time managing technology and can focus on delivering innovation to your business. In order to achieve this level of innovation, your users will need to know how to properly use the Office 365 tools and will need to be comfortable using them on a daily basis.

Continually provide the solutions you know users need. For example, don’t let users randomly discover tools like Microsoft Teams. Instead, engage with and provide them with training, guidelines, and a process for using Teams to ensure they’re using it optimally amongst their own teams and across departments.

“With a functioning and adopted Office 365 solution in place, you save time required for managing technology and instead, can focus on delivering innovation and value to your business.”

2.) Protected Data: Internally and Externally

In 2017 alone, there were 1,120 total data breaches and more than 171 million personal records of consumers exposed. This number of attacks is only expected to increase, with a target on small and large companies alike.

Luckily, Office 365 has tremendous control and compliance capabilities across email, SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and Yammer, which makes it easier to control and protect proprietary information.

Properly enacting the policies, procedures, retention, disposition, data loss prevention, and information protection enable content sharing, internally and externally, while ensuring data is secure. Using Office 365 tools to collaborate with external partners, as opposed to non-supported third-party tools like Box or Dropbox, also ensures your content is properly governed and risk is reduced.

3.) Effectively Managed Intellectual Property

When your users have properly adopted Office 365, confidential or proprietary information moves to your intranet, Teams or team sites, communication sites, project areas, and OneDrive. By reducing your organization’s reliance on email, and instead, storing key information in a reliable system specifically designed for a search-first user experience, you more efficiently manage critical data and intellectual property.

Gone are the days when file shares, email, and the “My Documents” folder are haphazardly used. And with today’s agile workforce, it’s key that your important knowledge is maintained within your organization’s Office 365 structure and not in someone’s inbox, on their own personal device, or another unsupported third-party service.

“Using Office 365 components for more than simple email and document storage creates new opportunities for improving efficiencies.”

4.) Increased Business Intelligence

Once users have adopted Office 365, your organization can use Power BI to access valuable data stored in the various tools and deliver insights to make intelligent business decisions.

Microsoft has long been a leader in this area for a decade. Gartner has positioned them as a Leader in their Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms for ten consecutive years. Sample areas where Power BI delivers insight include:

  • Key financial metrics
  • IT spend
  • Sales effectiveness

It’s another way using Office 365 components for more than simple email and document storage creates new opportunities for improving your organization’s efficiencies.

5.) Empowered Employees

With Office 365, you can empower employees by enabling more effective collaboration and supporting decentralized teams and remote workers through tools like intranets, extranets, and collaboration solutions using SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and all the features in Office 365. Employees now have a work environment that’s intelligent, flexible, and secure, and they can collaborate from anywhere, on any device.

6.) Decreased Reliance on Email & Client Applications

With Office 365, you eliminate the need to upgrade your desktop software, patch servers, and perform platform migrations every four years. This time savings improves productivity, allowing you to identify your organization’s business opportunities instead of just worrying about the IT problems. The underlying changes with upgrades, server patches, and platform migrations still happen, but they are gradual and more manageable as they happen over the platform life cycles.

Embracing and supporting employees’ use of Office 365 also keeps them on the front edge of modern technology, providing opportunities to grow their skills and career.

7.) Accelerated Digital Transformation

The difficulty with digital transformation is that it is 100% based on people and their ability and willingness to change how they operate. Users can send emails and use online file shares, but social content, publishing, project management, document management, business automation, and business intelligence are a different story. Full user adoption accelerates the speed of business and your digital transformation.

Unfortunately, an organization cannot simply deploy software and expect magic to happen. It’s accelerating broader business activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage digital technologies. It’s challenging business leaders to harness technology to shape their specific destiny. It’s a living process that shifts throughout the journey.

It’s why 88% rely on third-party providers for at least one component.  

 It’s also why we leverage a proven process methodology that we refer to as Center of Excellence service for Office 365 and related technologies.

Interested in learning more about a Center of Excellence approach? Download our free whitepaper here.