Soon, all Office 365 administrators will be able to dig deeper into their organizations' Office usage patterns and metrics courtesy of a new Office 365 Admin Center reporting portal experience that Microsoft is currently rolling out to business customers.
In preview since September, the update to the Office 365 management portal includes a user interface that is reminiscent of Power BI's visualization-centric reporting capabilities. Power BI is Microsoft's user-friendly, Azure-backed business intelligence and analytics platform.
Starting this week, the new reporting experience will be released to the Office 365 customer base, announced Anne Michels, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft Office 365 Marketing.
"The centerpiece of the new reporting is a cross-service portal that gives you more visibility into your organization's use of Office 365, making it easy for you to make decisions or report back to your management," blogged Michels. "Graphs help you visualize key data allowing you to quickly comprehend the information."
Administrators can view key activity data, including summaries of how many users have used a given Office workload. The portal supports multiple reporting periods (7, 30, 60 and 90 days), helping administrators and IT managers identify usage trends.
New reporting options allow users to drill down to a single service and examine the usage patterns of individual users by clicking on a tile—like Power BI, the portal uses tiles to display visualizations and data points—helping managers determine whether their workers are making the most out of the Office 365 investments. New privacy configuration options can replace user information with anonymized data.
Data can be exported into a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file for further filtering or analysis using Excel or other spreadsheet software. Incidentally, Microsoft is planning to release a Power BI Content Pack in June that will enable advanced analytics on Office 365 usage data.
Currently, the revamped Office 365 Admin Center reporting portal can generate reports on active Office 365 users, Exchange email activity, and Office activations in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Latin America will follow suit in April, revealed Michels.
Also in April, Microsoft will switch on SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer and Skype for Business reporting for U.S., Canadian and Australian customers. Europe, APAC and Latin America will follow in May.
"More reports focusing on SharePoint and OneDrive for Business user activity and on user interaction with Office 365 (i.e. which browsers or operating systems do they use when they access the service) will be incrementally added," said Michels. Also in the works is a set of new public application programming interfaces (APIs) that will allow businesses to integrate Office usage data into their custom applications.
Old Admin Center's reports will remain available until Microsoft adds updated equivalents to the new portal, assured Michel. Microsoft is consolidating report types to help minimize redundancy, meaning that not every old report will be re-created in the new portal, she cautioned. Nonetheless, the enhanced reporting capabilities should provide more insights than was previously possible.