MyAnalytics – so what’s it all about?
If you’ve ever tracked your personal spending over a month or two, then perhaps one comment you might have made is:
‘I never knew I spent that much on coffee/beer/chocolate etc!’
In a work environment, do you track time spent in Outlook processing emails or participating in meetings? As a result, you’re unlikely to have insights into personal productivity in numerous areas, such as:
- How much time you spend participating in meetings
- The effectiveness of your time and whether you are getting sufficient time to focus on your core tasks and priority items
- If you are collaborating with others that are most relevant to your current needs
- Whether you are effectively managing your inbox
This is where MyAnalytics in Office 365 can help.
MyAnalytics. What is it and is it available to me?
MyAnalytics brings personal mailbox and organisation-wide activity data to you. Therefore you have insights into your email and meeting behaviours. It allows you to understand key behaviours such as where you are spending your time, who you are collaborating with and your messaging/calendar working patterns. It can also help you to stay in touch with colleagues across your organisation. And remind you of potential commitments that you might have made to others via email.
You can also use MyAnalytics to set goals related to email and calendar activity, and to report on progress towards those goals. For example, you may set a goal for the weeks ahead to spend less time in meetings so that you can have more ‘focus’ time. You can therefore set a complementary goal to increase your focus time. We will discuss focus time later in this article.
MyAnalytics presents information via different methods: an Outlook add-in, a personal dashboard and weekly digest emails. An extract from the personal dashboard is shown below, focusing on email activity for the last week.
If MyAnalytics is available to you, the personal dashboard can be accessed from the Delve profile screen. Simply select the MyAnalytics option from the left-hand menu. MyAnalytics may be available to you if your organisation has an Office 365 Enterprise E5 or A5 subscription plan. Or if it has purchased the MyAnalytics add-on to another eligible plan. Additionally, your organisation will need to be running one of the Office 365 environments that supports MyAnalytics, such as the general worldwide multi-tenant offering. Some Office 365 environments, such as Office 365 Germany for example, do not currently support MyAnalytics.
Finally, your administrators will need to have assigned you a MyAnalytics license before the features will become available. Users are informed of their access to the features via a welcome email sent three days after the license has been assigned.
What data will MyAnalytics present?
MyAnalytics will gather email and calendar information from your mailbox as well as organisation-wide information. This means you can understand your actions and compare them against those of others across your organisation. The personal dashboard presents information in weekly time-frame blocks on your action areas such as:
- time investments for the week with people you identify as important to you
- meeting habits, such as the number of hours you have spent in longer or recurring meetings, or meetings that occur after business hours
- email activity, such as the number of messages sent and read, both during and outside business hours
- ‘focus hours’ habits
- ‘after-hours’ email and meeting activity. This could be important to you in understanding your work-life balance
- Summarised as timeline trend graphs so that you can track your activity over time. Helpful when setting goals to reduce after-hours activity for example
The Outlook add-in presents information via ‘cards’ that displays information such as:
- To-Do cards that represent commitments that you may have made in email messages. For example, emails you have sent containing phrases such as ‘I’ll probably have a report to create’ or ‘I will take the laptop for the presentation’ will cause MyAnalytics to present a reminder in a To-Do card. Although you may use other services such as Microsoft To-Do or Outlook tasks to track items like this, the MyAnalytics To-Do cards can be extremely useful for setting reminders for commitments you may have made in an email but forgotten about. An example is shown below:
- Prompts to keep your Important People list up to date. This is used by the Outlook add-in to inform you of events relating to these people. For example, prompting you that you have unread messages from someone on the list – like your manager! By looking at your top collaborators, MyAnalytics will prompt you to add them to the Important People list
- Insights into your meetings, such as your next scheduled meeting, low acceptance meeting notifications when most people haven’t accepted a particular meeting request, and your top collaborators for the week ahead
- Prompts to enhance your week, such as booking focus time and setting goals via your personal dashboard
The weekly digest emails are sent on Monday each week and present information such as:
- Based on your calendar information, how much collaboration and focus time you had over the last week
- ‘Food for thought’ insights, such as the percentage of emails that you have read during work hours over the last week. These can be great reminders for achieving goals such as reducing email generally, or achieving an improved work-life balance
- Your top collaborators over the last week, which can assist in ensuring you spend time with people relevant to your current objectives
- Your meeting hours over the last four weeks, so you can track progress towards any goals that you may have set. An example of this is shown below:
Are you getting enough focus time?
One valuable piece of information presented in MyAnalytics is the amount of time spent in meetings. This a key contributing factor to achieving sufficient ‘focus’ goals. Microsoft has engineered MyAnalytics to ensure that the characteristics of focus time are clearly defined. Focus time is defined as at least two consecutive hours in your calendar that comprises unscheduled time, appointments (not meetings) or meetings you arrange with just yourself – perhaps to ensure you get some focus time! These two consecutive hours must occur within your defined working hours you set in your calendar. Furthermore they cannot be calendar entries marked as ‘Out of Office’.
Are there privacy concerns with MyAnalytics?
The collection of information by MyAnalytics naturally brings privacy concerns. Microsoft is clear in its documentation that privacy is built into MyAnalytics. For example, the documentation states that MyAnalytics does not give access to the user’s dashboard to anyone else, and organisation-wide information is used in aggregated form to protect the privacy of individuals. Aggregated information means that, when looking at your meeting habits in your personal dashboard for example, you will see the company average hours that users have spent in meetings that week.
However, should you wish, you can share your dashboard with others within your organisation. An example here might be sharing your goal progress with your manager. The great thing about sharing is that you can select which elements of your personal dashboard you wish to share. For example, you may only want to share your meeting habits information. Privacy reminders are provided to users, such as the extract below from the weekly digest email.
Users can opt out of MyAnalytics should they wish to. While in the MyAnalytics personal dashboard, clicking the settings gear icon and choosing the Feature Settings menu option presents the user with several MyAnalytics settings that can be enabled or disabled as required.
How best can I use MyAnalytics?
Adoption is an important topic to consider for Office 365 services, including MyAnalytics. MyAnalytics can form part of a wider initiative to understand, change and improve your personal productivity habits. By understanding your current collaboration patterns, it’s possible to use MyAnalytics to set goals to improve and enhance your collaboration activities. This in turn will assist in driving positive changes that can ultimately become new habits.
If you’ve yet to deploy Microsoft Teams or you’re in the process of deploying and adopting it, you might consider encouraging your users to use MyAnalytics to understand the impact of email reduction that may occur when Microsoft Teams is adopted successfully.
It’s not possible to cover all aspects of MyAnalytics information in this article, but hopefully after reviewing the information here it will encourage you to investigate it further if it’s available to you from your Office 365 subscription. Who knows, you may find yourself saying statements like:
‘I never knew I spent that much time in meetings!’
How Can Silversands Help?
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