Businesses Can Now Use Power BI to Gauge Microsoft Office Usage

Was that Office 365 subscription a good investment? Now customers can see if their software dollars are well-spent with a new content pack for Power BI.

Office 365

Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-based business intelligence and analytics product, can now help businesses determine whether their workers are using Office 365 to its full potential. This week, the software giant rolled out a limited preview of its new Office 365 Adoption Content Pack, providing organizations with a data-driven look into the impact of their Office software investments on the workplace.

"The new Office 365 adoption content pack enables you to visualize and analyze Office 365 usage data, create custom reports and share the insights within your organization and pivot by attributes such as location and department," said Anne Michels, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft Office 365 Marketing, in an Oct. 10 announcement. Organizations can also track the usage patterns using the product's charts and other visualizations, enabling them to adjust their management strategies to increase usage.

"With the adoption content pack, admins can gain deeper insights into how their users leverage Office 365 to communicate and collaborate and how it has evolved over time," Michels said. "This helps understand where admins need to focus user training and communication going forward."

The Office 365 Adoption Content Pack dashboard features four main areas, each of which offers more detailed information when clicked.

The adoption report shows how many users were assigned a license, how many are first-time users and how many are actively using a selected product, like Office 365, OneDrive and Yammer. The report also offers companies insights into their monthly retention rates and the percentage of active users. Similarly, the collaboration report shows how many workers are using OneDrive and SharePoint to share and collaborate on documents with both internal and external colleagues.

In terms of communication, administrators can explore a wealth of statistics, including the average emails sent per user per month or how many Yammer messages have been posted. They can also peruse Skype usage metrics and see which client apps their employees use to access email.

Finally, the activation report offers details on how many users have activated Office 365 ProPlus, Project and Visio, along with information on the number and types of devices those products are activated on.

Inheriting Power BI's interactive customization and collaboration features, the content pack enables users to create personalized dashboards and reports, and distribute them among co-workers.

"The adoption content pack also allows you to easily share the usage reports with anybody within your organization who might not have access to the Office 365 admin center, added Michels. "In addition, the adoption content pack combines usage data with the Active Directory (AD) information of your users and enables you to pivot by AD attributes such as location, department or organization."

Microsoft is soliciting participants for the limited preview through Oct. 16 (instructions are available in this blog post). The company plans to make the content pack available to all Office 365 customers by year's end.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...