By now, you’ll probably have read the news that Microsoft is making MyAnalytics available to any Office 365 user with an Exchange Online license (essentially, almost every Office 365 user). That’s good, and it’s what most commentators have focused on when writing on the issue.
But the more important strategic change is the announcement that Microsoft will soon include signals from Teams, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business in the MyAnalytics analysis and dashboard. The reason why this is important is that it moves MyAnalytics from taking an Exchange-centric view of a user’s Office 365 activity to a more comprehensive and valuable view of their work.
We can speculate what has delayed Microsoft in taking this step. No doubt technology got in the way (for instance, lack of suitable APIs), but I think that the more interesting and challenging reason is the need to figure out what to measure and what’s important.
Chatty Teams Versus More Formal Email
Take Teams for instance. You might assume that Microsoft could use a variation of the same approach they use to measure email activity. You read an email and read a Teams conversation (in a channel or personal chat). You create and send an email and create and post a message to Teams conversation. Both seem much the same kind of activity. But subtle and important differences exist.
Think about how you read Teams conversations in a channel. Instead of opening and reading many unread messages in the Inbox to view their full content to see previous replies, attachments, and so on, you might be able to quickly scan all the messages in a conversation because Teams doesn’t include previous replies, attachments, and the contributions tend to be much shorter. For this reason, the MyAnalytics developers can’t simply apply the same kind of “5 minutes to create and send a message, 2.5 minutes to read a message” logic as they do for email.
More Challenges with Documents
Working with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations also poses challenges which are possibly even harder to crack. How do you estimate the work done when reviewing content versus writing content? Tracking autosaves might help to understand when a file is being actively edited, but users can disable autosave.
I imagine that the debate about what signals (from the Microsoft Graph) to use and how to interpret those signals occupied many hours before the developers moved on to the challenge of how to display the results in the MyAnalytics dashboard. It will be interesting to see how the Teams and SharePoint/OneDrive data shows up in the dashboard and the conclusions (working hints) Microsoft derives from the data after the changes roll out sometime in January 2019.
We cover MyAnalytics in depth in Chapter 6
of the companion volume for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We’ve
lived with MyAnalytics since its debut and will continue to cover it as the
application evolves in the future.