The Many Ways to Report Teams Usage Data

But Which Way Tells the Truth About Teams?

If someone was ever to run a trivial pursuit game based on the history of Microsoft Teams (an undoubtedly nerd activity suitable for something like the Ignite conference), one of the questions should be: “How many ways can you generate usage reports for Teams within Office 365.” The follow-up question is then “And which report is accurate?”

Five Ways to Report Teams

I count five ways to generate a report about Teams usage.

Analytics generated for the activity within an individual team
Figure 1: Analytics generated for the activity within an individual team

Cross-Team Analytics

If you click the cogwheel at the bottom of the list of teams in the desktop or browser client, you’re brought to the Manage teams section. Typically this is where a team owner would archive or delete a team, but now it offers an Analytics option for all the teams you can access (Figure 2). Cross-team analytics look very similar to the Teams usage reports in the Teams Admin Center, right down to the inability to sort the list by clicking on a heading.

Cross-team analytics
Figure 2: Cross-team analytics

You can click on a team in the cross-team list to drill down and view its detailed analytics. The data presented in Analytics lags by about two days, depending on the load on the service and other factors.

New Analytics Features

The per-team and cross-team analytics features are new and have not yet been announced to tenants in an Office 365 notification. However, they are promised in Office 365 roadmap item 51464 and is due in Q3 2019, which is probably why the Analytics features are popping up in tenants now.

Per-team and cross-team analytics are available to tenant and guest users.

Seeking a Source of Truth

The per-team and cross-team analytics seem very similar to the reports generated in the Teams Admin Center. Even so, some inconsistencies can be seen if you compare the data reported in one against another. For instance, the per-team analytics for the team used to organize the production of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook reports the posting of zero channel messages on 20 August. The Teams Admin Center agrees, but the Office 365 Admin Center says that two messages were posted. When I browse the actual messages in the team, I can count seven messages posted by three different users in just one channel. A glitch in the way the Graph counts messages?

All the reporting options are at least two days behind because it takes time for Office 365 to gather and collate the data. The Microsoft 365 usage analytics content pack is even further behind (at least a month and perhaps longer), so it’s not a source of immediate feedback.

In any case, just like personal fitness trackers, the important thing is to choose one method to track usage data and stick with it to achieve a consistent view of the world. Remember that third-party reporting alternatives (like Quadrotech’s Nova solution) are available too, some of which do a much better job of slicing and dicing usage data to meet the specific needs of individual tenants.

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