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The future of work needs better insights and the path is clear

The path with Microsoft that is, which is all I can talk about based on my experience (disclosure). I’m working with several customers to support adoption of Microsoft 365 technologies and a key part of this is what and how to measure the right impact of M365 on workplace productivity. At this time with COVID-19 and the move to remote work (which not everyone agrees to), this and inded the future of work is hugely in question and supporting and measuring it becomes imperative. I’m just sharing some of the work I am doing and approaches I’m taking – hopefully this is of use.

Maturity of insights – click to enlarge

Let me start by sharing a slide that I use to talk through the three successive tools and metrics you need to be measuring and then a few words to elaborate below.

1. Usage analytics app

By themselves these numbers don’t tell you anything other than what is being used, by whom, over what periods of time. It doesn’t say anything about how tools are being used and to what end and what outcomes are being achieved. This is where documentation for the tool can be found (including getting it installed) which is freely available to M365 customers and based on an out of the box set of PowerBI dashboards and reports.

Just because you are not getting detailed insights into how things are being used and to what end, doesn’t mean these insights are not useful. They are in fact a precursor to any other insights. You have to know what tools are being adopted before you can go to the next level to understand what impact they have. And of course this doesn’t mean technology is the only factor impacting work behaviours, but when you are interested in this, start with what is being adopted.

2. Productivity score

This goes a level deeper and comes closer to trying to measure value in productivity terms. Its still early days for the productivity score as its still in preview. This tool is also freely available to M365 customers (i.e. no additional cost). The three areas it covers are:

Employee Experience

The employee experience shows how Microsoft 365 is helping to create a productive and engaged workforce by quantifying how people collaborate on content, work from anywhere and communication.​

Technology Experience​

The technology experience helps you ensure the technology isn’t getting in the way of productivity by helping you optimize your device experiences and your network connectivity to ensure your apps work well.​

Special Reports

Special reports are timely insights that help you measure impact and navigate changes in the workplace that are temporary in nature.​

Find out more here and sign up for preview.

3. Workplace analytics

This is the third level of insight you can get around workplace productivity. This is a tool in its own right and has to be paid for separately if you want to use it. More on it here.

It makes sense that Microsoft use it on its own workforce – documented here.

It makese sense because of all the work we are doing on tracking work trends around productivity – see our work trends index.

These also power a lot of the in tool analytics we provide to users and those responsible for adoption alike as well as HR departments and senior execs who want to know how remote work and COVID-19 are impacting the workforce. See this recent announcement: Introducing insights in Teams to power wellbeing and productivity.

The holy grail is still measuring what impact this has on performace in terms of some of the key measures like sales. But that is for another post.

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