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Why are Microsoft 365 Tracking Tools Important for Your Business?

How can you know if your projects are run intelligently? How can you monitor project or task progress? How can you identify project waste and redundancy?  How can you assess your project’s success and replicate it? Can you tap into your platform insight directly or do you need additional investments? 

Tracking rationale

When businesses decide what their next best move is, they need concrete data to back up that move. But how can businesses access this data? Easy! Businesses can just tap into the metrics, reports, or dashboards exposed by the tracking tools that run behind the scenes while employees or users go about their regular, work chores.

So what happens if your business does not have these embedded tracking tools?

The main consequence would be that your next best business move will probably be based on gut feeling or opinion, similarly to playing the Russian Roulette. In other words, there is a 50%-50% chance, the next business move will be a success or a flop. On the flip side, having tracking tools can diminish guess work and increase your success rate percentage. How? Tracking tools give you the right insight in terms of hours, teams, assignments, and planning. 

  • If you want to replicate a successful project, you need to know how that project unfolded, how work was distributed, and how collaboration was managed.   
  • If you want to identify why a previous project had bottlenecks in order to avoid them for your next project, you need to understand what decisions and management slips led to the situation. 
  • If you want to optimize or change the way people work, you need to be familiar with the current work patterns. 

Microsoft 365 provides tracking tools out of the box, so you do not need to access a third-party tool, extract and process the data, and then compare historical results with daily or regular behavior. The tracking tools do not interfere with users’ daily activities, but simply record behavioral metrics from within the system. 

To Do and Planner

Microsoft To Do (for individual planning) and Microsoft Planner (for team planning) are applications that show both a breakdown and an aggregate view of task progress. Both applications

  • Can be added as tabs within Microsoft Teams channels/groups for richer context and more efficiency when tracking the overall project progress 
  • Help teams self-regulate in terms of processes, issue handling, business-as-usual scenarios, and streamlined online communication
  • Reduce duplication, excessive manual work, and inefficient email threads to get consensus and move things towards a resolution 

Individuals need to know where they are in terms of their tasks, as it gives them the right information to plan, prioritize, or shift focus. To Do shows individual users the task status, the due dates, the details and linked information, as well as the task sequence.

Individuals work as part of a team, so it is essential that team members have a clear representation of the entire work progress, may they hold management or non-management positions. Planner assists teams in delegating and organizing work by creating and dropping task cards onto a timeline. Planner offers the team a clear understanding of: 

  • Bottlenecks and dependencies, so that corrective measures or fallback plans can kick in 
  • Metrics and dashboards related to assignees, assets, and the time spent, so that there is visibility over responsibilities and development
  • Schedules and interaction among assignees, so that collaboration and processes can be further improved or replicated
  • Reports, so that management and stakeholders can be shown how well the work is unfolding, without offline cross-comparison of documents related to due dates, workload, assignees 

MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics

Microsoft MyAnalytics (for individual insight) and Microsoft Planner (for team insight) are applications that provide insight into the daily and extended behavior of employees, as drawn from user interaction with the activities enabled by the Microsoft 365 platform.

After a set period of time, usually a couple of weeks, MyAnalytics sends users personalized reports and charts related to how they work: 

  • The time spent on tasks per task type, the work cadence and task distribution 
  • The time spent in meetings or working after work hours 
  • The time spent on writing emails or focusing 
  • The people you collaborate with 
  • The documents you work on 

Individuals can easily identify healthy work patterns and focus on the patterns that need improvement. MyAnalytics acts like a silent companion to your day-to-day behavior and sends back to you metrics that aggregate data from Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint. MyAnalytics helps people increase their productivity, strengthen their weaker points, understand how they behave and allocate time, by providing them an easily digestible view of their actual work habits. 

Change and analysis start off at individual level, but people work as part of teams where they interact, collaborate, block and unblock one another. Workplace Analytics captures this dynamics in a data-driven way in terms of collaboration patterns: 

  • Collaboration hours (middleman vs. interactive) 
  • Meetings overview (waste vs. productivity) 
  • Management and coaching (assess efficient processes and cultural excellence/transformation) 

Workplace Analytics is a useful resource for organizations which want to take stock of the heartbeat of the organizations: work experience, people interaction and communication, agility and adaptability, customer outreach. The robust, data-driven report is then the source of informed insight and objective decision-making: change work culture, fine-tune collaboration behavior, simplify processes, and validate initiatives. 

Productivity Score

IT administrators are not left behind. Microsoft Productivity Score helps IT administrators manage the change management and adoption of various features within Microsoft 365. Productivity Score taps into the data across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem (SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Office, Outlook, and so on) and assigns points for Collaboration & Meetings, and Communication & Content. The overall score can help IT administrators plan for upgrades, scaling, or licensing. Moreover, the score can be compared against the score of similar organizations which are anonymized. 

 Tracking is more than just Tracking 

Tracking tools aggregate behavioral data directly from within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. What makes this tracking particularly useful and reliable is the fact that it taps into the direct, non-mediated activities of system users: hours, schedule, tasks, meetings, time-to-completion, and so on. In this way, tracking is more than just tracking, since what actually gets exposed is unbiased insight anyone can understand. Many tracking tools require specialist aid in extracting and interpreting the insight. Microsoft 365 is different in that its tracking tools render accurate behavioral data in such a way that it empowers anyone to draw conclusions and make the best next business move.