Teams Bumps Skype for Business Online
In April 2018, Microsoft launched the new Teams and Skype for Business Online Admin Center. The name was just too long, so I shortened it to TSBAC. Now Microsoft has shortened the formal name by dropping the reference to Skype for Business Online. The console and documentation now simply say “Microsoft Teams Admin Center.” I shall call it TAC to go with EAC, the Exchange Admin Center.
Microsoft didn’t announce that they were changing the name. It just happened, which is par for the course for many small details that they update in Office 365. The name change might indicate that the migration from Skype for Business Online is now complete. Of course, tenants who still run Skype for Business Online might choose to differ, but that might not be how the folks in Redmond see the world. Certainly, they have been forcing the pace to urge tenants to move, including removing the choice to use Skype for Business Online from smaller tenants (a good move, in my opinion).
To be fair to our friends in Redmond, the development team has done a good job of moving functionality out of the Office 365 Admin Center and the old Skype for Business Online consoles to TAC. Team management arrived to TAC in September 2018 together with the ability to assign administration roles for Teams. These were big steps forward for TAC. The functionality was delayed by the need to upgrade internal interfaces to allow administrators to manage teams (previously, only team owners could manage team membership, for instance). PowerShell users saw this ability in the November 2018 update (0.9.5). The current version of the Teams PowerShell module is 0.9.6.
The most recent addition to TAC is the appearance of Teams usage reports in the Analytics and Reports section. Three reports are available, all of which can be generated for 7 or 28 day views.
- Teams User Activity: The number of channel, personal, and 1:1 calls and the date of last activity for tenant and guest users.
- Teams Device Usage: The number of different devices connecting to Teams in the tenant (Android, Mac, Windows, and iOS) plus a list of users and the device types they connect with.
- Teams Usage: A list of active teams showing how many users and guests have interacted with the team, the number of active channels in the team, and the count of messages posted to these channels
Like the usage reports in the Office 365 Admin Center, TAC shows a graph and a list for each report.
Different Teams Reports
The TAC reports are not the same as the Teams usage reports available in the Office 365 Admin Center. The following differences exist:
- You can’t click on a header to sort values.
- Only 7 and 28 day views are available in TAC. The Office 365 Admin Center has 7, 30, 90, and 180-day views.
- The Office 365 Admin Center doesn’t offer a Teams usage report.
- TAC can’t anonymize the user data and always shows names. The settings for Reports in the Office 365 Admin Center includes the option to display anonymous identifiers.
- TAC doesn’t include the option to export the data.
- The reports in the Office 365 Admin Center are usually three days behind in terms of the data analyzed. TAC is two days behind.
- The Office 365 Admin Center reports include a filter capability. TAC does not.
- You can click on a point in the graph in an Office 365 Admin Center report to see details of the activity on that day. TAC reports have a point for each day, but don’t filter the data if you click a point to select a day.
- TAC displays a smaller set of fields than the Office 365 Admin Center reports do.
Another difference is that TAC seems to generate its reports in real-time. You must click the Run report button to see a TAC report while the Office 365 Admin Center displays values as soon as you select a report. This difference might be accounted for by different interfaces used by the two console. Although I don’t know, I suspect that TAC uses the Microsoft Graph to fetch its data while the Office 365 Admin Center uses an earlier interface.
I noted some differences in the values returned by the reports. For example, on February 11, the Office 365 Admin Center usage report says that only 2 channel messages were posted while TAC reports a total of 6.
Future Tuning for Reports in Teams Admin Center
In reporting these differences, I must emphasize that we are comparing usage reports that have been around in the Office 365 Admin Center since mid-2017 against a newly-introduced TAC feature. I expect Microsoft to tune the reports now available in the Teams Admin Center over time and upgrade them to be at least feature-comparable with those in the Office 365 Admin Center. And hopefully, eliminate the different values they report.
For more information about reporting Teams and other aspects of Office 365 (inbuilt methods and third-party products), read Chapter 21 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. Reporting can be a surprisingly complex area and although it’s reasonable to want to depend on the reports included in Office 365, third-party products are usually more feature-rich and powerful.