MyAnalytics in Microsoft365: first impressions

Jumping on the data bandwagon (where ‘analytics’ seems to be the new ‘big’) Microsoft’s offering – MyAnalytics – was made available to me in my organisation this week (having previously been part of the ‘Delve’ branding).  Here’s Microsoft’s own introduction:

This data basically shows what you’ve been up to in Office365 – such as time spent in meetings, how much time you’ve spent in Outlook when you should be in “quiet” time (i.e. when you should be at home with your feet up), etc.

Aggregated, this data would be pretty powerful.  For the individual, at least for me, it seems to just reinforce what you probably already know – how quick you reply to emails, how much you work on those “quiet days” and who your “top collaborators” are.  At an aggregate level this covers some ground where research has been done in the past – for example the collaborators data is effectively network analysis and could well highlight other things that are happening in your organisation, for example the hidden influencers who are top collaborators but perhaps not in positions of traditional organisational power in the hierarchy/matrix.  Unfortunately this isn’t possible, albeit for understandable reasons:

Data privacy

None of a user’s personal information is shared with their co-workers or managers.

MyAnalytics adheres to compliance regulations, such as the GDPR.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/workplace-analytics/myanalytics/overview/mya-for-admins

I used something similar a while back at the desktop level that highlighted time spent in active applications – at the time it was nearly all Firefox and Outlook but also highlighted how much time I actually used Articulate Storyline and other things.  The Microsoft solution seems quite good in going beyond the desktop to the use of the services across devices.  However, for those with international roles the concept of working hours is, of course, very tricky.  Yes, you might ‘normally’ work 9-5 in Europe but those 7am calls with Australia would, from an Analytics perspective, count towards working outside your hours and cutting into “quiet times”.

For those really struggling with focus at work and allowing email to run their time, however, the data sets, suggestions and goal setting tools are likely to at least offer some help.  Nice list of what is included here.  Ultimately this can be useful for personal reflection, for example in agreeing outcomes as part of team behaviour change in improving work life balance.

10 years of Twitter

I recently received my “10th #twitterversary” email from Twitter and it made me reflect on my use of the platform.

I’ve never been a big tweeter, tending to use it share at events and also retweet/like things that I would later blog about from those same events.  Otherwise my use has been fairly limited.

Going back through my old tweets, tweet number one was:

That tweet is pretty indicative of my focus at the time – working with the Blackboard LMS/VLE and supporting users with/via free tech (like Screenr was).  In my early tweets, as with Screenr, there are a notable volume of dead-links – basically showing how Twitter is indicative of the web’s tendency for large amounts of redundant data.  The Blackboard focus includes plenty of early tweets from ongoing events such as #LondonBUG as well as historic date stamped hashtags like #BbTLC11.

More recently I have tried to shift from the work-only focus with an update to my profile (to include other interests like dog, football and gaming) to show more of my ‘personal’ side.  I’ve also written about being sucked into politics and tweeting about that – which obviously was not the intention ten years ago when tweeting new Blackboard resources!  Yet politics ‘sells’, considering my last tweet got 75 likes more than any other I think.

Do we just have to accept there is no going back ‘to the good old days’?

On many metrics the UK has flat-lined since the 2008 financial crisis, with arguably worse to come.

This week London and other cities have seen major protests from environmentalists.  So, do we have to accept that with climate change and other socio-economic crisis there is simply no return to the optimism of the millennium?

As an 80s child I perhaps feel this stronger than other age groups – having grown up in the mostly optimistic 90s with Cool Britannia, the end of the cold war, “things can only get better” and general optimism (even encyclopedia’s were optimistic bits of fun).  Yes, we had Captain Planet, Ferngully and other media warning us of the dangers of the future but overall I suspect there was far more cultural positivity than for those growing up now.  Current school kids have been globally connected from birth yet are seeing trade wars, cold (and hot) wars, migration crises and other threats to subdue their futures.

The Iraq War increasingly feels like the political turning point that was reinforced by the ‘credit crunch’.

If the future is indeed going to be bleaker then I suspect we need to relearn to ‘make do and mend’ – in this context I’ve recently been reading a lot about Jughad design.  I’m pretty sure this concept was new to me – although it has been used in the west for at least 20 years and there are a variety of books and articles on its application away from the Indian subcontinent.

At the same time we have to remember we have come along way and their are reasons for optimism – for that I would recommend the book Abundance that I have recently finished reading.

8bill for a survey tool? Really?

Tidying some old emails I found a number from a few years ago where I always included the below link in my email signature:

http://www.rypple.com/iangardner/pleasegivemeyourfeedback 

Rypple had the excellent idea of making continuous feedback easier and would quickly be bought up by SalesForce (at around the same time SAP bought SuccessFactors).

It’s then interesting to see SAP go big with their more recent acquisition of Qualtrics.

With Qualtrics the talk is of an “experience management platform” – something which of course aligns with the full ‘digital transformation’ buzzword bingo. This is where the challenge comes, is a tool like Qualtrics simply its core functionality (which has multiple competitors) compared to the value in existing customer bases (as this article mentions)?

I’ve briefly used Qualtrics tools in the past but the fee seems huge and the you suspect that the people/data as a product age is really upon us with this expensive deal.

The often ignored realities of talent management (#2): one real solution for (screen based) workplace productivity

I think some posts on this topic have been lost on an old blog of mine so it can come in here as the second in this series…


Do you hunch over a laptop?  Do you constantly switch between apps, windows and tabs?  Are you desk based but just have one monitor?

If you answer yes to any of these questions a simple solution to improve your productivity may be to get more displays.

This is increasingly recognised (see a Guardian article here) and was touched upon at a JISC keynote that I must have seen/been about 10 years ago now.

A short post but a useful one – if your organisation presumes only IT, fx traders or other internal groups are worthy of multiple monitors then they are probably selling you down the river.


Miss #1 in the series? Here’s a link to location, location, location.