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The employee customer experience connection – fundamentals

Here is an infographic with some supporting source material and an industry overview for context if you want it. Here too is where my interest and expertise in this space lie. This post is intended to dig a little deeper on the subject. Check out the diagram which captures a little more detail than I’ve gone into before and then the notes to elaborate – because its time to level up 💯

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Employee Experience Platform – the birth of a category

This week, Microsoft announced the launch of a new product called Viva (disclosure). Actually it is far more than a new product in many ways. It is also an attempt at consolidating technologies in the employee experience category as well as creating the category. It is also a shrewd leverage of the Teams as a Platform strategy which I have written about several times. Since Viva will be served exclusively through Teams, this is a perfect execution of the Teams as a Platform strategy. And it brings the new product and its functionalities into the Flow of Work.

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How to measure value for customers

This is a worthy challenge I’ve grappled with before, just check out my posts under the metrics tag. The other day I got my hands on a recently published Forrester report with the same title as this post. I cannot share the report for obvious reasons but this is my review of the highlights of the report which does share some details.

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Microsoft leading the Future of Work

We’re in the middle of a massive uncontrolled experiment. Microsoft where I work (disclosure), is uniquely positioned to understand its impact on the future of work.​ That is because its technologies and the services it provides customers to support them are so intrinsic to the workplace. That has been the case for 30+ years building up a body of first hand insights that is unparalleled, not to speak of the research being done in this space.

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Another shift the pandemic has accelerated – enterprise sales

B2B selling was already changing before COVID-19. I’ve written before about how I think customer success practices with their emphasis on product usage is changing sales to be more data and impact driven and more receptive to the user, not just the purchasing unit. This change is not unique to enterprise software sales – think about how you purchase cars these days, I did and it involved very few sales people or even physically seeing the car. VC Andreessen Horowitz looks to startups for inspiration and new research from McKinsey provides data points.

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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.

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Enabling Usage Insights for Office 365 Customers

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.