Analysing usage of Office 365 Power BI

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The positives of cloud computing have been well documented. The positives are so, well, positive, that Microsoft have adjusted their entire business mantra to incorporate a “cloud-first, mobile-first” way of thinking. That means that as we continue to experience the lightning fast changes that technology is offering across the industry, the cloud will be the foundation and common thread linking it all together. Office 365, is a great example of how the cloud can significantly enhance your business productivity. And to get the most out of your Office 365 investment it’s important to track how it’s being used across your organisation. Our article today is about the importance of analysing usage of Office 365 Power BI.

The good

Office 365 is Microsoft’s flagship product when it comes to communication and collaboration in the cloud. By deploying the platform, you give your entire organisation access to seamless coordination with tools they are already familiar with. You’re immediately getting anytime, anywhere access to your documents and material that you need to do your job. You can store your files and folders in a central hub where you no longer need to worry about sending large files back and forth over email, you have SharePoint Online to manage your documents (and a whole lot more) instead. There are no complicated systems to install or have your teams learn. And you have the secure knowledge that there is a 99.9% financially-backed uptime guarantee. There’s no infrastructure that you must invest in and you have the flexibility of a pay-as-you-go license option for the precise number of users that you have.

The bad

However, nothing in this world is a guarantee. And despite the clear advantages you’re giving yourself and your business by choosing to work in the cloud with Office 365, there are still potential risks to your investment.

Confusion over usage best practice

Your employees have access to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online to collaborate on their documents, not to mention Yammer, Office 365 Groups and Teams. They’re also extremely likely to send documents back and forth via Outlook. Without clear best practice document management guidelines, there is an undoubted risk of confusion and duplication of work. Questions over best practice and this collaboration confusion can lead to an apathy over adoption, which means that your return on investment may be lower than expected.

A low adoption rate is not just an unfavourable mark in your accounts but it can have a real effect on your company’s efficiency. These barriers to communication and collaboration can also encourage the emergence of shadow IT, which, in turn, can cause information silos, cementing the barriers to more effective working. Suddenly, the positives of Office 365 and cloud computing don’t look so good.

And the Power of BI

However, Microsoft are aware of these risks and have devised ways to help you get the most from Office 365. One of the newest updates to the service, is the integration of Office 365 with Microsoft Power BI. Having access to Office 365 Power BI, your admins will have a powerful insight into how your teams use and utilise Office 365.

Understanding and being able to see how your teams and employees are using Office 365 will give your Office 365 admin an essential angle to understand how best to devise user training and the right internal communication to increase usage and adoption and enable your business to get the most out of your investment.

There are four new Power BI dashboards that can be accessed through the Office 365 admin centre:

  • Adoption
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Activation

Adoption report

This is a dashboard that helps you gain insights into how your employees have adopted Office 365. You can see how the usage of individual services within the software has changed by the month. Your admins can see how many users are licensed, how many of them use certain products, how many are first timers, or returning users that use a product each month. So, your admins can see specifically where your company is and is not adopting aspects of Office 365. That means they can devise training and campaigns to increase adoption in the areas needed.

Communication report

Understanding how your users communicate within Office 365 is an important aspect of the usage data. This dashboard includes a communication activities report that presents the usage of communication mediums, such as how the frequency of your email and Yammer communications have changed and evolved over time. Your admins can take this information and see how users are adopting new ways of communicating (or not). You can see how many emails have been sent or the amount of time spent using Skype for Business. As well as that, you can view what client apps are most popular for reading email or to use Skype.

Collaboration report

Collaboration is a massive aspect of any company’s day to day business processes. The collaboration report from Power BI enables you to view how your teams are using OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online to manage and collaborate over their documents and how this is changing over time.

Activation report

Office 365 ProPlus, Project and Visio activations can be understood more easily with the activation dashboard. Your admins can view the total activation across your user database, showing which users have activated which products, on what devices, as well as the number of devices activated.

Power up your business vision

The release of this integration between Office 365 and Power BI will give your admins a real 360 view of your IT system. It will mean they can see issues arising before they become problematic, devise better training and generate other ideas to boost adoption. And with better adoption and Office 365 usage best practice across your organisation, you’ll be set to take advantage of all the good Office 365 and the cloud can offer.

We know the challenges that company’s face around adoption and ROI on their Microsoft investments. It can be a difficult task in getting users to want to use the tools at their disposal. As SharePoint and Office 365 experts, we can help, talk to us today to see how we can help further help enhance your Office 365 environments.