Key Office 365 Reporting Announcements from Microsoft Ignite 2017

Lots to like coming out of the announcements on Office 365 Reporting last week in beautiful, warm Orlando. There is a little something for everyone with the importance of signals being recognized. What I heard: customers and partners want better data and critically, more accessible data. Here are a few key announcements from the show.


Rolled out: The Reader Role

Conventional wisdom dictates that you should limit the total number of admins in your organization. Hard to argue that. There are four types of admins for Office 365: Global Admin, Exchange Admin, Skype for Business Admin and SharePoint Admin. You’ll note that list doesn’t include your Yammer Verified Admin. While not the only one, this was one of the factors that played into the feature request for Reader role access to reports. Admins and community managers who care about what is going on, need reporting. Enter the Reader role.

The capability for Office 365 admins to grant regular ol’ users the ability to consume all the reports in the Admin Center was announced by Anne Michels (@Anne_Michels) and others from her team at the show. There was much rejoicing. Available now, all you have to do is convince your admin to give it to you. If you do, you’ll also be able to instantiate the Adoption Content Pack (ACP) just like an admin. One thing to look out for though: in our testing, if you are granted Reader role and you instantiate a Content Pack and then your role is revoked, you still have access to the ACP in Power BI. Just a data point on early testing. If that changes, I’ll report back.

Coming Soon: ACP to go GA Early Next Year

The ACP will be generally available early in the new year. The exact date was not announced. In fact, a look at the slide I saw indicated a Q1-ish, Q2 feel. But, when it does, it will have a new name: Office 365 Usage Analytics. I quibble a little bit over the analytics part as I am believer in drawing a distinction between reporting and analytics as described in this informative blog  by John White (@diverdown1964).

Coming Sooner: Teams Reports in Admin Center

If you want to talk about a Microsoft product that is hotter than flapjacks in a mining camp, pick Microsoft Teams. Two reports were announced that should show up in the Office 365 Admin Center by mid-October: Teams Activity report showing what’s popular and an Apps Usage report. This is good news but please, some signals via APIs would be nice. And some flapjacks.

Good tip: Message Center

This immediately got the Captain Obvious award but when Anne mentioned it, I made myself a note. If you want to know what is coming, keep an eye on the Message Center. That is the straight goods.

Yammer Group Statistics

The Yammer team announced group level statistics are now in the UI at the group level and will begin rolling out soon. These stats are based on Likes, Reads, and Posts and are available in three set date ranges: 7 days, 28 days, and 1 year. The key here is that the Yammer product team is listening to its user base. The level of these allow for some insights but leave room for third parties like my team at tyGraph to go deeper, if and when community managers, business stakeholders and IT professionals need it.

UPDATE: The roll out is set to begin on November 2nd. Here is the wording of the announcement as it appears in the Message Center:

On November 2, 2017, we’ll be rolling out the group insights feature in Yammer. Group insights will provide group admins and members with a comprehensive view of group activity and engagement. This message is associated with Office 365 Roadmap ID 20504.

How does this affect me?

Some of the feature highlights are:

1. Users will be able to see insights for each of their groups. – For public groups, any member of the Yammer network can access the insights. – For private groups, only members can access the insights.

2. Visualization of activities by group members and non-members across 7-day, 28-day, and 12-month periods.

3. Composition of how many group members and non-members posted, read or liked messages in the group.

4. Trends for number of posted, read and liked messages.

5. Data available for download as a csv file.”

While not a comprehensive list of all the reporting announcements, the above indicates that understanding usage and adoption is an important business goal and should be part of an overall collaboration strategy.

What thoughts do you have on what was announced for Office 365 reporting? I’d love to hear them!

(Blog notes: I sketchnote exclusively on a Surface Pro 4. The “holding newspaper” doodle is derived from a similar work by Jessica Esch (@jesch30). 

O365 Reporting: What Does Active Mean?

This isn’t nearly as bad as when I asked a roomful of lawyers the correct time but it certainly feels similar. When trying to understand the definition of “Active” or “Active User” for the purposes of the Office 365 Usage Reports, it can be a little confusing. So, I do what I always do when I am confused, I draw pictures.

O365 Reporting - What Does Active Mean

These definitions apply to both the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack (O365 ACP) and the Activity Reports in the Admin Center. The information I pulled is pre-Ignite 2017 so I am anxious to see if definitions change soon.

There are a few things to be aware of. For example, in Exchange, there is no calendar information but I’ve heard that is coming. Also, when looking at the SharePoint numbers, be aware that when talking about the O365 ACP, the Active User metric shows users who did file activity with a SharePoint Team site or Group site. That is a little different than what is in Admin Center. This is another area I’d look for a change once the O365 ACP is updated.

I know blue ribbons from State Fairs don’t await my illustration but I am hoping to help you grok what active user means so that you can derive more value from the usage reports. I know when we were creating our tyGraph Pulse product for O365 reporting, I was constantly referring back to the web page I referenced above. I urge you to visit the page I reference if you want to see the source table.

If this helps you, by all means hit print and use it. All I ask is come back and check out my blog for updates. This is the first in a number of visuals I am putting together to help those who are equally wired like me visually.

I’d be interested to hear your comments about your journey with O365 Reporting. Drop me a note!

Factors to Consider when Measuring Network Influence

When engaging with folks about their enterprise social network (often Yammer community managers) I usually start with the same two questions. First, what problem are you looking to solve? Second, how does the answer to the first question inform your social strategy? What I hear varies but answers include questions on the engagement of users and wanting to know who is “moving the needle” or influencing their network. This post offers a way to think about network influence and what should be taken into consideration when measuring it.

Network Influence tyGraph Dean Swann

Here are four factors that taken together, make up this approach:

  1. User contributions to the network, usually in the form of messages.
  2. Impact of those contributions on other users.
  3. Breadth of contributions. Are user contributions in one group or many?
  4. Reach. How many other users have been reached through a user’s contributions?

Top Contributors: Good start, Not Enough

Knowing your top contributors is a good start, but it is not enough. This can give you a good picture of who is active in your user base but it doesn’t really help you know how or even if, they are engaging others. And this is the point isn’t it? We are usually after that elusive but attainable network state where users are influencing others by engaging in constructive dialogue and working on projects together to achieve business objectives. Let’s start with contributors as one of our key factors and add to it.

Impact: Cause and Effect

Our second factor and likely the most critical is the impact of a user’s contributions or posts to the network. Are other users responding to posts? Are they hitting the “like” button? These are signs of impact. Another measure of impact is being “at mentioned” in your network. The act of someone looking for you is a good indication that they want your opinion, your thoughts, or at least your attention to a message or thread.

Breadth of contributions

The third factor for consideration is the breadth of a user’s posts. Meaning, are they posting in one specific group or many groups? The more groups a user posts in, the more likely they’ll have a higher influencer score.

Reach: Total User Interactions in Messages

The fourth and final factor for influence is to determine the total number of users a specific user has interacted with and use that as part of the equation. In other words, who else has contributed to the same threads you have? The more users, the bigger your reach.

This approach powers the Influencer Score of tyGraph for Yammer. Full disclosure, I am the Director of Product there and have had the opportunity to see this in action with my fellow tyGraphers and some awesome customers.


There are other ways to think about network influence and one of my favorites is well articulated by Christian Buckley (@buckleyplant). His ebook on Social Capital includes a discussion on influence from a different perspective.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on how to measure ESN influence. Drop me a note below. Thanks!