No matter the size of your organization or your industry, it’s almost certain that you’re doing things differently today than you were just a few months ago. Few among us could have anticipated at the beginning of this year just how much would change in such a short time. In our conversations with customers, it’s fascinating—and inspiring—to hear about their journeys from the crisis-driven early days of the pandemic to where they are today.
This was a moment for heroics from IT pros and digital transformation leaders like you: keeping people in your organization connected, enabling remote work on a previously unimagined scale, and overcoming challenge after challenge to maintain security and keep up to date. It was a moment where both the virtues and the shortcomings of your technology investments became crystal clear. And it’s been incredibly gratifying to hear again and again from customers how Microsoft 365 enabled them to meet this moment successfully. We heard loud and clear that those who were further along in their digital transformation journey had an easier transition to remote work and realized more value from Microsoft 365. Indeed, in a survey of more than 2,000 customers globally, those with the most complete adoption and use of Microsoft 365 had 66 percent higher confidence in their organization’s ability to adapt and thrive amidst uncertainty than those less far along.
This is the very definition of resilience. The move to enable remote work was not the end of journey, but the beginning. There is a new set of challenges coming as we move into a fluid, hybrid work environment where some people are working on-site, and others are still remote. Flexibility and adaptability will be key to success. More than ever, it needs to be easier for you to understand how your organization is working and how your transformation is progressing, how technology enables your users, and how you can get more from your Microsoft 365 licenses. That's why we built Microsoft Productivity Score, and we are excited to share that there are a new set of features available today (in preview) and when it becomes generally available on October 29.
How can Productivity Score help me on my digital transformation journey?
To help you build a more resilient business and meet future challenges, Productivity Score leverages the depth and breadth of Microsoft 365 to give you insights that transform how work gets done. It does this by providing visibility into how your organization works, helping you understand the employee experience in five categories: content collaboration, meetings, communication, teamwork, and mobility. You also need to see how technology can better assist you in optimizing productivity. That’s why you also get visibility into your technology experience focusing on your endpoints, network connectivity, and Microsoft 365 apps.
You need more than just visibility into how your organization works. That’s where the insights come in. Insights help you to enable improved experiences across the employee and technology experience. Lastly, Productivity Score assists you in enabling everyone to do their best work by taking action. This is through actions like optimizing your client configurations and implementing end-user training to help people understand the benefit of a specific feature, or documentation that enables you to optimize Microsoft 365 services' configuration.
Expanding on the visibility, insights, and actions we already announced, here are some of the new ways that Productivity Score can help you with your transformation starting today and on October 29.
Creating more productive and engaged teams
Many organizations tell us that it has been harder to work in teams when everyone is remote. As many people are now just getting used to working this way, it will change again when some go back to the office, and others stay remote. With Microsoft 365 you already have the tools to help meet this change with the shared workspaces that SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft 365 Groups provide. These shared workspaces help create a common purpose, provide context for previous discussions, find related documents, and quickly ramp new team members. The use of these workspaces is what the new Teamwork category is focused on.
Available at GA, this category provides a score based on the percentage of people who engage in teamwork within these shared workspaces. You will also see how this has changed over the past six months and how this compares with the number of people who are engaging in similar activities but not within the context of a shared workspace.
To help you better see the benefit of these workspaces, you also get additional information like the level of engagement in these workspaces so you can clear up older ones not in use anymore. You will see a breakdown of the number of people engaged in each type of workspace and the number of days in a week that people are engaged in them. Lastly, you can see the number of shared workspaces using Microsoft Teams, helping you encourage people to try it out and get the benefits of staying a well-connected team.
As in all the other employee experience categories, you also get the details of which people, departments, or locations are engaged in teamwork (note that we have built privacy controls into Productivity Score, and you can read more details on that below). Unique to this category though, is that we also show you data on the workspaces. This helps you better understand the level of engagement in them.
Making meetings more effective
The days of having the quick hallway chat or asking a question while you and a colleague went to the water cooler seem like a distant memory. The questions that drove those chats still exist, and now we try to use email or chat messages to get them answered. At times though, these modes are insufficient, and you need to have a meeting. This along with other factors driven by remote work, have added more meetings to our already busy calendars, and we want to help make sure that the meetings you do take are as effective as they can be.
The new Meetings category available at GA will help you improve the quality and effectiveness of meetings through the use of industry best practices. Some of the best practices show how meetings can be more engaging and inclusive by turning on video and screen sharing. We also know that it's top of mind for you to understand how much time people spend in meetings each week and whether they are using these best practices. We also show what percentage of the meetings are scheduled ahead of time or on an ad-hoc basis and the typical length of these meetings. You’ll also learn what percentage of people engage different types of meetings like the use of Meet Now in Microsoft Teams channels versus schedule one-offs or recurring meetings. This visibility can help you devise the right action plan to drive change in the organization's meetings.
Additional updates to existing employee experience categories and the business continuity report
Along with the new categories, we are also making some minor changes to a few existing categories at GA. In Communications, we are changing the chart associated with what we score to help clarify what exactly was being scored and the detailed communication channels chart is being moved to the “Explore how your org communicates” section. Based on feedback, we are also adding information on the number of people working remotely and onsite to the Mobility category. Lastly, we updated the business continuity report at the beginning of August to show a rolling 180-day period. This helps you focus on a more current timeframe and maintains the relevancy of the report.
Optimizing the user experience and reducing friction to enable people to do their best work
Hopefully it’s clearer now how Productivity Score can help you move your digital transformation goals forward, by giving you visibility into how your users are adopting and using your productivity investments, and helping you to focus your efforts for highest impact. But user behavior is only half the picture. If the underlying technology that enables users to get work done isn’t performing optimally or doesn’t work as it should, you have friction that works against users harnessing digital tools to do their best work.
Incorrect or sub-optimal configurations, legacy hardware components, out-of-date software versions, misbehaving software, and changes in the environment (security/feature updates, administrative changes, Group Policy changes, etc.) all can contribute to this friction and lie at the root of the vast majority of endpoint performance and health issues.
By giving you visibility into the root causes of friction at the network, endpoint and application/service levels, providing insights to help you prioritize improvements, and automated actions to help you detect and fix problems, Technology Experience not only can help you improve productivity, but it can also be part of a program to lower support costs, accelerate time-to-close support tickets, improve user satisfaction, and raise the profile and perception of IT.
With that, let’s take a look at what’s new within Technology Experience.
Microsoft 365 Apps Health
Microsoft 365 apps are the core of your user’s digital productivity; making sure they’re up to date and working properly is the goal of Microsoft 365 Apps Health. Our research shows that giving users the best features results in higher satisfaction, with an NPS (net promoter score) increase of ten points. Research results also showed keeping up to date gives you the best application performance. For example, we have improved Outlook boot speed by 45 percent year on year. Results also showed that there is higher usage of collaboration features when the apps are kept current.
The best way to get the full value of the apps is via the recommended monthly channels, either Current Channel or Monthly Enterprise Channel. These monthly incremental updates help people absorb changes more gradually and avoid larger disruptive changes. They also provide the most consistent cross-platform experience across Microsoft Teams, PC, Mac, web, and mobile.
Microsoft 365 Apps Health, available starting today, helps you achieve these benefits by providing you with a breakdown of how many devices are on a supported version for each channel and how this has progressed over the past 180 days. You also can see how many devices are running supported releases and latest releases in each channel. In addition, you can see how many total devices are on supported and current release regardless of channel, and how this has trended over time.
Customers tell us that overcoming connectivity problems has been one of the most consistent challenges they’ve faced throughout the shift to work from anywhere. Sub-optimal network configuration negatively impacts team collaboration across performance sensitive scenarios including search, document co-editing, video/audio conferencing, and more. The Network Connectivity category is included in Technology Experience to help you understand and improve your connectivity to SharePoint, Exchange and Teams and compare this against a benchmark of similar organizations.
In addition to the ability to see a map of network locations for your organization with details on service front door connectivity, you can now use LAN subnet information, and manually submitted test reports along with Windows Location Services to define your locations. To learn more about Network Connectivity, view the blog post here.
You can have a great employee experience and great networking, but if it takes four minutes for your end users’ PCs to boot up, or a problematic service continually disrupts your users’ workflow, people will not be able to do their best work. Productivity killers like these—related to the endpoints themselves—are exactly what Endpoint Analytics is all about. Endpoint Analytics is a powerful feature of Microsoft Endpoint Manager (or MEM) that goes GA at Ignite for licensed MEM customers. It supports data collection from both Intune and Configuration Manager-managed endpoints.
Endpoint Analytics currently focuses on three areas to help you analyze and improve endpoint performance and health problems: Startup Performance, Recommended Software, and Proactive Remediations. A fourth major feature, App Reliability, will become available in the near future. To learn more about Endpoint Analytics, view the GA announcement in the MEM Tech Community.
How Productivity Score protects user data and privacy
With the visibility, insights, and actions available across the employee and technology experiences, Productivity Score gives you a holistic picture of how your organization works in a way that helps meets your privacy requirements. We have a strong commitment to privacy across all of our services, which you can learn more about here.
To give you an understanding of how people are leveraging Microsoft 365 solutions and features, Productivity Score provides user-level data, which is updated daily. In talking to organizations in the preview, some expressed sensitivity about this level of detail. That is why we previously announced the ability to anonymize this data. At general availability, we will provide additional controls with the introduction of a new permissions role called the Usage Summary Reports Reader. Assigning a user this role will give them access only to the organizational-level summary information. We will provide more information about this change at general availability.
To be clear, Productivity Score is not designed as a tool for monitoring employee work output and activities. In fact, we safeguard against this type of use by not providing specific information on individualized actions, and instead only analyze user-level data aggregated over a 28-day period, so you can’t see what a specific employee is working on at a given time. Productivity Score was built to help you understand how people are using productivity tools and how well the underlying technology supports them in this.
How to learn more and get ready for Productivity Score
We designed Productivity Score to provide insights that transform how work gets done and to help you see how your technology can be an enabler for productivity. We are excited for you to try out Productivity Score, and for you to see how you can get the most from Microsoft 365. If you want to learn more about Productivity Score and all the categories, check out our resources guide. This will be updated regularly with new content, especially as we get closer to GA so check back periodically. Also, don't forget to enable the preview to get a head start on measuring your transformation.
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