This post provides first some simple context for whom and why it is important to understand usage of enterprise technology platforms and then how we enable it at Microsoft for the Office 365 suite of products. You can skip the context and head straight to the enabling part if you like.

It’s important for Customer Success teams to spend time trying to understand their customer’s usage of the technology they support. This will help them to help the customer with adoption efforts.

Arguably even more important is to enable customers with their own views and insights. That is what this post is focused on. 

Tools often incorporate some degree of usage reporting and most of the time, it’s pretty lightweight. At Microsoft for the O365 suite of products, we go the extra mile.

We offer a built in dashboard in the Admin section of O365 for basic level insights to use of Power BI for advanced analytics.

On the latter we have created an automated integration that can be installed by any O365 admin and then made available to members of the organisation that need to leverage these insights.

On the former, we are planning to add more functionality all the time as you can see from this recording of a session at Ignite a few months back from the product group.

Access by business users is especially important when you want to work with and enable business champions to understand and support the users in their departments.

Going beyond usage analytics for admins of a technology is really important too which I have written about here: Co-owning success with Office 365 customers.

Below is a brief summary of the options and steps to take to enable these options. This changes from time to time so I’ll keep this post updated with new info. Add a comment if you have any queries.

1. Activity Reports in the O365 admin centre

More on this here. This is accessible to an admin role as standard but other users in the organisation could be assigned a role to be able to see the reports without being given access to the admin centre. It is possible to hide users details in the reports thereby anonymising the results if legal requirements necessitate it. These points are covered in the article linked above. These reports have a basic level of usage reporting.

2. O365 usage analytics content pack for Power BI

More on this here. This is a more advanced level of usage analytics and enabled through a Power BI content pack. From a base set of usage reports you can customise and add further dashboards and reports – Power BI training is advisable for this.

This is especially important if you want to bring in and combine other sources of business data to make comparisons – useful for correlating technology and end user support inputs with business outcomes.

 The Power BI content pack has to be enabled by an O365 admin but then they can provide access to the Power BI dashboard to any other user. You can then take those reports and embed them into a Sharepoint portal landing page through a web part to present reports to different stakeholders (end users, executives, departments, etc.). There are licensing considerations and limitations to accessing and sharing rights to be aware of. In this option too you can make the collected data anonymous. The first article linked to in this section has a really good FAQ covering all of the above.

3. Special note on user segmentation

For detailed segmentation by region and org type via the usage analytics content pack you need to have things set up properly in Active Directory – from the first article linked to in point 2 above:

The data model that powers the content pack includes user attributes that from Active Directory, enabling the ability to pivot in certain reports. The following Active Directory attributes are included: location, department and organization.

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