Responding to enterprise demand for improved access to the vast amounts of data generated via business processes, Microsoft has debuted a new way to onboard, index, and surface bodies of data and make them available via Microsoft 365 applications and services. The new Microsoft Graph connectors were announced at Microsoft Build last month.
The Microsoft Graph connectors will allow admins to map properties from Microsoft Graph connectors to Microsoft 365 people cards in an organization and expand search results to Microsoft Teams mobile and desktop clients as well as the Windows Search Box. Crucially, the Microsoft Graph connectors don’t treat enterprise-generated data as an asset created solely within the Microsoft ecosystem: there is already a third-party connector gallery featuring solutions from Go1, Adobe Sign, eCare Vault and LumApps.
According to Nicole Herskowitz, general manager for Microsoft Teams, the Graph connectors' access is important due to the new realities of hybrid work and the dynamics being experienced by team members working remotely. Access to business data is critically important to any business’ success.
“One of the most common requests we’ve heard from customers and partners is now to bring their data into Microsoft Graph to surface it across Microsoft 365,” Herskowitz said.
A Growing Connector Ecosystem
To recap what a Microsoft connector is and why the technology opens up the data in Microsoft Graph: A Microsoft connector is a proxy or a wrapper around an API that allows an underlying service to talk to Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Power Apps and Azure Logic Apps. The Graph connectors provide a way to ingest all that business process-related data and metadata. Once it is available, that data can then be indexed and made available in Microsoft 365 products and services such as Microsoft Search and eDiscovery.
Currently, there are only nine Microsoft Graph connectors available directly from Microsoft for customer use. Eight Microsoft Partners are currently providing third party connectors: Accenture, BA Insight, Raytion, Adobe, Box, Cognizant, Go1 and LumApps.
However, those three partners provide more than 150 Microsoft Graph connectors for a wide variety of products and services. Included among those options are connectors for those products and services from companies such as IBM, Google, Facebook, Box and Oracle. In addition, these partners have also built connectors into Microsoft 365 for various services.
There is now a developer preview for early access to the improved access to Search and Advanced eDiscovery tools through Microsoft Graph connectors. Microsoft has indicated this early preview also contains access to developer APIs to add their own app content to discovery options in the Office Hub.
An update to federated search is also in developer preview to enable integration with other Microsoft Cloud services and third-party data sources to surface that data across various Search results used by the enterprise in Microsoft 365.
As data has become more central to the success of businesses these days, the idea that "data is the new oil" is more than just a clever phrase – it is reality. Data drives business outcomes and having access to company data in the products and services where employees spend their workday is critical to that success.
By integrating search results into Microsoft Teams, the Windows 10 client desktop and other search services across Microsoft 365, Microsoft is responding to customer demand for the capability to drill down into that deep well of data and information that is available to them both inside and outside of the company.
Microsoft Build 2021: Breakout Session for Microsoft Graph Connectors
There is a 30-minute session available on-demand from last month’s virtual edition of Microsoft Build by members of the Microsoft Graph team that will help developers understand the ins and outs of these new Microsoft Graph Connectors and their features.
The session webpage contains a list of downloadable resources and associated sessions for further learning.