New Signals, Too Late
Microsoft has announced that the MyAnalytics application, available to Office 365 E5 users and as a separate add-on, is to incorporate signals from Skype for Business Online beginning in September 2018. Signals from Teams will be added later. MyAnalytics records the actual time of Skype for Business ad-hoc meetings (scheduled meetings are already counted because they’re in the user’s calendar), while chat messages sent with Skype count for 30 seconds (read messages are not counted). I guess most Skype messages are single-liners, so 30 seconds seems about right.
Welcome as this development is, I can’t help thinking that Microsoft is way too late. MyAnalytics has been around for over three years and in that time it has focused exclusively on signals from user mailboxes (read and sent messages and the calendar). In 2015, focusing on email was an acceptable first step. Analytics was a new offering that people needed to get their heads around, especially in terms of privacy. Email was the predominant application in use within Office 365, so it made sense to focus on telling people if they spent too much time sending email, working out of hours, or triple booking their calendar.
Since 2015, the MyAnalytics team has refined and smoothed their application and added features like reporting commitments made by users. It’s a good application and I like it very much, even if I am a tad frustrated by its lack of progress. Delve, which is still linked to MyAnalytics, is an application with a similar status.
More than Email Now
The world of Office 365 is very different in 2018. Usage of SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business has soared and the introduction of Teams creates a huge influence over how many Office 365 users communicate (according to Microsoft, over 175,000 organizations use Teams). And work is done in other applications like Planner and Yammer. Yet all the signals gathered in the Microsoft Graph have remained outside the reporting vision of MyAnalytics until now.
Bringing in call and chat insights from Skype for Business is a curious call to expand MyAnalytics. Microsoft launched its campaign to move tenants off Skype from Business Online to Teams in September 2017 and last month they reported that Teams had reached feature equivalence with Skype for Business for meetings. Although many organizations are still planning their move to Teams, capturing and analyzing signals from Teams would seem a better choice.
Maybe a Lack of Signals from Teams?
Perhaps the reason why the MyAnalytics developers chose this route is a lack of support within Teams to deliver the signals needed for analysis. This makes sense because the Teams development group has focused their efforts to get the needed functionality in place to replace Skype for Business Online and deliver compliance and other features demanded by large enterprises. Teams is deficient in some APIs (notably the ability to read and write content from channels), so this might have been the problem.
No Recognition of SharePoint
While we argue about Teams versus Skype for Business Online, I’m sure the SharePoint community is disappointed that signals for document creation, editing, co-authoring, and the like haven’t reached MyAnalytics yet. People like me spend hours typing into documents stored in SharePoint and OneDrive, and that time goes unreported and unrecognized by MyAnalytics. It’s a puzzling oversight.
For more information about MyAnalytics, see Chapter 6 in the Office 365 for IT Pros Companion Volume