New Power BI Content Pack Lets Customers Track Office 365 Usage

Power BI customers can now get insights into the Office 365 usage habits of their workforces, data they can use to rally power users behind their digital transformation initiatives.


Organizations that rely on Microsoft's Office 365 for their day-to-day productivity and collaboration needs can now analyze their workforce's usage habits with Power BI, the company's cloud-based business intelligence (BI) and analytics service.

This week's preview release of the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack for Power BI builds on the Office 365 usage reporting features the company added to the software-as-a-servoce suite's Admin Center earlier this year. Although the content pack is customizable, it offers a built-in dashboard to help users get started, noted Anne Michels, senior product marketing manager of Office 365 Marketing at Microsoft, in a blog post.

The dashboard is organized into four areas, Understanding Adoption, Communication, Collaboration and Activation, she said.

As its name indicates, the Understanding Adoption section allows administrators to see how licensed users are interacting with Office's various products. Likewise, the Communication area can be used to track how much, or how little workers are using the company's enterprise communications technologies, namely Skype for Business, Exchange and Yammer.

Managers can get a better sense of how their employees are using OneDrive for Business and SharePoint to share information in the Collaboration section. Finally, the Activation portion helps business see if they're getting the most of their Office 365 ProPlus, Project Pro and Visio Pro investments, showing how many users activated those products, along with the types of devices on which they're using those applications.

Delving deeper, larger organizations can analyze their Office 365 usage patterns by department and location. Using data from Azure Active Directory, Microsoft's cloud-enabled user identity and access management platform, administrators can explore Exchange, OneDrive and Yammer usage metrics overlaid on a map.

Moreover, the new software can help businesses add some momentum to their digital transformation efforts, Michels asserted. It's a feat that managers can achieve by using the content pack's capabilities to find the power users within their workforces.

"These users typically have very thorough product knowledge and can help train other users. They can share how they are using the service, how it helps them every day to be productive and offer tips on how to get started," she said.

"Power users can help lead the digital transformation in your organization by example. The user activity report also lets you identify users that have yet to use a particular product," continued Michels. "Armed with this information, you can be very targeted in your adoption campaigns."

Also this week, Microsoft issued new updates to Forms, a tool for building and conducting quizzes, surveys and event registrations.

The product's portal page has been given a makeover and now offers users a snapshot of each form within a collection, including the number of responses each has received. A new search box helps users find forms by their titles or an author's name. Microsoft has also added 26 new supported languages to Forms for a total of 68 languages. For Hebrew and Arabic users, the company also enabled right-to-left reading support.

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...