Insights for MyAnalytics Getting Switched On for Office 365 Users This Month
Microsoft is planning to activate "Insights for MyAnalytics" sometime late this month for most Office 365 users, but the ability of organizations to manage this feature won't be available until possibly mid-May.
MyAnalytics is a service that tracks the time employees spend using Office 365 applications like Outlook e-mail, or the time they spend in Calendar-scheduled meetings. The idea is that such knowledge of time spent can help workers become more efficient.
Insights for MyAnalytics, on the other hand, is actually a separate product from MyAnalytics. This point and Microsoft's implementation timeline across Office 365 tenancies was explained last week in this Microsoft Tech Community post by "trusted contributor" Cian Allner. Insights for MyAnalytics is an add-in for Outlook. It's different from the MyAnalytics product because the add-in lacks "access to the Dashboard, Email digest or MyAnalytics nudges," Allner added.
The Insights for MyAnalytics add-in will be available to Office 365 users "starting in late March 2019," according to an undated Microsoft document cited by Allner.
Previously, MyAnalytics was just available as part of the Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 plan or as an add-on for E1 and E3 plan subscribers, and that's still the case, but users of other Office 365 plans are now getting Insights for MyAnalytics, the Outlook add-in. Eligible recipients are listed as follows, per this Microsoft roadmap entry:
The MyAnalytics add-in for Outlook will be made available to everyone using Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Business suites that include Exchange Online, specifically Microsoft 365 E5, E3, Business, Office 365 E5, E3, E1, Business Premium and Business Essentials. It will also be available to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Education suites, specifically Microsoft 365 A3 for faculty, Microsoft 365 A3 for students, Office 365 A3 for faculty, and Office 365 A3 for students.
The only Office 365 tenancies not automatically getting this add-in apparently will be government, Office 365 Germany and China (Vianet) tenancies, according to this "Availability of Features" document.
Microsoft originally had said back in January that MyAnalytics would be coming more broadly to Office 365 tenancies. However, that original announcement was later updated on March 15. It uses the word "insights" in lowercase letters, so it wasn't clear back then that Microsoft was talking about the Outlook add-in. An "insight" is also a technical term in MyAnalytics lingo and refers to a scoreboard-like "card" that users see of their activities, according to this document.
Microsoft's January announcement, revised on March 15, included the information that IT pros won't be able to manage Insights for Analytics until May 15, even though it's getting activated for end users this month. Here's that explanation, which is somewhat vague about an April or May timing for management capabilities:
Beginning mid-March, 2019, MyAnalytics licenses will be assigned and activated; however, users will not be able to see any MyAnalytics functionality. In mid-April, admins will begin to see a toggle in the Exchange Admin Center that supports tenant-level management of MyAnalytics functionality. The add-in functionality will begin rolling out on May 15, 2019.
Possibly, IT pros can block this functionality beforehand, as Microsoft has posted instructions on how to disable Insights for MyAnalytics at this page.
MyAnalytics can be conceived as either a productivity tool or as a privacy concern for organizations. It uses Office 365 metadata to track who communicates and when events happen. However, Microsoft claims that only the end user will ever see the information that gets collected, according to its FAQ document.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.