Is Delve Analytics ready for organisational use yet?

Recently I was on a call with a Microsoft product manager about Delve Analytics talking about its usefulness and how we go about positioning it with customers.

I had to tell the truth: we don’t.

The truth is that Delve Analytics is an amazing product, with amazing potential. We’ve started calling it “Fitbit for work” because of how pervasive Fitbit (and similar such dashboard systems) have become in our lives.

Reality is that personal analytics solutions like Fitbit, Garmin, Band, and others are really only useful to those in the population who care to understand how their bodies and exercise routines are working – because they strive to be better.

And that’s where Delve Analytics currently sits: it’s ideally suited for those people in an organisation who want to understand how they work and what they can be doing better. The reality is that many workers are simply there to do their job and get paid – they’re not particularly interested in reaching optimal worker bee performance.

Where Delve Analytics really has amazing potential is the organisational analytics space – the ability for the organisation to look at the trends of its staff and see patterns or areas of concern such as a higher than expected after-hours working rate.

In my call with the product manager I urged them to release some form of organisational dashboard. The data is already present; we can see it in our own dashboards where it compares our statistics against the company average:

While I appreciate that there is a roadmap that Microsoft follows, I believe that an organisational dashboard should come first before integrating in any other potential data points such as Skype for Business or Yammer (at present Delve Analytics only works off your email and calendar).

An organisational dashboard would allow those in charge of people and culture to see trends in behaviour that may need to be addressed, or for managers to see if their team are overworked or unproductive.

You can see from my stats above that I spent 2.8 hours working after hours, which is slightly above the company average of 2 hours. This is not really an area of concern but something a manager might want to keep an eye on. Especially as it shows that I am down by 0.6 hours from the previous week – so perhaps I spiked because of a project or heavier than normal work week and I am returning to a healthy balance. However here’s some other data which might bring that concern level back up:

Approximately one quarter of the emails I sent are outside business hours. So even though last week I only spent 2.8 hours working after hours – perhaps that was stretched out. The next graph gives more insight:

The graph over the course of the day shows I’m still sending emails right up until the time I go to bed. That is something management would want to address because it shows that I never really switch off and that may be a long-term concern as that type of behaviour could lead to burn-out. Beyond that you may also ask what is the quality of response and consideration I am giving to my emails at that hour vs prime time?

This is why I believe that Microsoft needs to prioritise an organisational dashboard. Without that – Delve Analytics is just there for those keen enough to look and do something about it.

From a selling perspective: the organisational dashboard is what would sell E5. It’s all very well and good to have features like Cloud PBX so you can be more mobile – but without the analytics over staff behaviour how do you know that this hasn’t inadvertently increased the amount they work and is actually a negative?

From a customer perspective: Delve Analytics is a nice to have at this point, I don’t believe it provides a compelling argument until the organisation can actually do something with it.

From my perspective: I think everybody should have it and everybody should care about how they perform. But I’m one of those people who wears a device on their wrist 24 hours a day which uploads data to the cloud so I can look at graphs and make tweaks to my behaviour and activites.

Everyone is different – so Delve Analytics needs to provide that birds-eye view of the organisation and allows managers to dive in; so they can see overall trends as well as individual behaviours and patterns.

Then potentially we can finally put a finger on the wave of digital fatigue we are starting to experience from the workplace.

The branding of Windows Azure Active Directory

one ringIn a recent post I mentioned the ability to access your Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) tenant and see the services connected to it (such as Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online, and Windows Intune).

Slowly we are starting to see Microsoft changing the branding on more and more services to reflect WAAD.

For example where previously the directory synchronisation tool was known as the Microsoft Online Services branding – this is now known as Windows Azure Active Directory synchronisation.

Other examples would be Microsoft knowledgebase articles being revised with updated text to reflect the branding.

While WAAD has been the underpinning identity management solution of Office 365 since it’s launch – this hasn’t been the case for Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Intune the entire time as both now utilise WAAD now instead of Microsoft accounts (formerly known as Live IDs).

This marks the rise to prominence of Windows Azure as a key cloud delivery platform – be it PaaS, IaaS or SaaS offerings from Microsoft and its partners.

Over time I expect to see more services connecting in to WAAD – thereby creating a single identity in the corporate world (something that the Passport/Live ID didn’t fully become in the consumer world), ultimately being one identity to rule them all!