Microsoft has released three dashboards to give Office365 enterprise users enhanced insights about the ways workers are using SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online.
The new activity dashboards are a development of the reporting portal in the Office 365 admin center, which was introduced in March, just before the release of SharePoint 2016. The portal enables IT departments and administrators to monitor deployments, identify issues, plan support and training, and gather metrics on Office 365 investments.
The new dashboards extend that reporting to show how users are adopting and managing their Office 365 applications, as well as showing what files they are using, who they collaborate with and how they are using the applications.
They also reveal what users are not using, which, at least in the case of SharePoint Online, should give administrators insights into issues or challenges blocking SharePoint adoption.
Office 365 Problems
To be sure, SharePoint Online is a lot easier to use, but the reputation of SharePoint as a complex platform that has major adoption issues across the enterprise still generates considerable apprehension.
Earlier this summer Silver Spring, Md.-based information management group AIIM released a report that underlined SharePoint adoption headaches. The report concluded user adoption remains an issue for 58 percent of those surveyed, who consistently complain about poor or inadequate training and lack of management support.
“I feel that the expertise to launch this type of platform hasn’t been available for my organization," one person wrote in the survey.
Office 365 Insights
In a blog post about the release, the folks on the Office 365 team said the dashboards make it easy for you to understand how your users are using — or not using — Office 365.
The new report tools are currently limited to the most used Office 365 applications, including:
The new reporting capabilities for SharePoint Online are designed to provide users with insights into how users are using team sites, how they store and collaborate on files, what users are active on team sites and how they are using team sites to share documents and files inside and outside the fire walls. In the future it will also be able to gauge page visits. This is a user-centric capacity that compliments the wider team site usage report
There is also a bar graph that shows how many users are engaged in file activity in comparison to the number of users you have assigned a SharePoint Online license to. This is a key indicator for adoption and allows enterprises to identify the need for additional end user training and communication.
OneDrive for Business
The OneDrive for Business dashboard shows at a glance what users are actively using OneDrive in the organization. Combined with the wider usage report, it gives enterprises are holistic view of who is using it and how they are using it.
It shows how many files a user is actively engaging with across OneDrive for Business accounts in your organization and which users sync files back to their local machine. Again, this aims to provide insights into how OneDrive can be better used for collaboration and who needs training on it.
The Mailbox use report, along with the previously released email activity report, show what is happening in your mailboxes, including what is being stored and how much storage it is taking up. The report also allows you to identify which users have a mailbox that is close to reaching the maximum storage limit and might need help to delete or archive items.
Response to Enterprise Demand
The new reports were developed in response to the demand from enterprises that Microsoft provide them with more granular and actionable reports at user level across all Office 365 applications. The new dashboard contains the reports consolidate all existing reports to reduce redundancy.
There’s more on the way, including a new Power BI content pack which will provide richer insights by enabling enterprises pivot between Office 365 usage data with user-level data, like region or department.
This will be made available later in in the year along with new public APIs to access the usage data and integrated it into custom applications.