Microsoft MyAnalytics, formerly Delve Analytics, is an application designed to help employees and their managers gain insight into how workers spend their time, with the goal of optimizing tasks and making them more efficient. MyAnalytics is part of the Office 365 cloud-based suite of productivity applications. The application can track data such as time spent in meetings, Outlook emails, productivity and time spent working late.
Applications like MyAnalytics are welcomed in some human resource circles where the goal is to make employees productive, efficient and content in the workplace. The application aims to benefit teams by using analytics about worker tasks to improve everyone's work and speed. MyAnalytics can develop reports and dashboards based on a specific worker's productivity. Other applications for human capital management, talent management and continuous performance management can converge with this data to optimize staffing configurations and worker processes.
MyAnalytics uses data that's already available in a user's calendar and email. In this way, it isn't collecting any additional data on user habits. In theory, a user could spend the time to collect and analyze all this data themselves, so MyAnalytics could be considered an automation tool for this process. The application is included in Office 365 with an Enterprise E5 plan, or as an add-on to other plans at $4 a month.
The Microsoft MyAnalytics app can be used to track time spent on various tasks. Microsoft breaks these tasks down into a few different categories, including meeting hours, email hours, focus hours, after-hours work, who is in a user's network and a basic time overview.
- The time overview can be used to give a simplified look at how a user is spending their time; summarizing work meeting hours, email hours, focus hours and after-hours work in one place.
- The network section is dedicated to analyzing who a user is working with, such as top collaborators.
- Meetings will allow users to see their time spent in meetings, as well as how they manage their time in those meetings -- if time is spent multitasking.
- Email will show users how much time they spend emailing others. An add-on for this function is also available on Outlook. The add-on will give users activity cards based on their recent work experience.
- Microsoft defines focus hours as time spent working outside of meetings. The company sees focus hours specifically as at least two consecutive hours of time outside of meetings.
- After hours is Microsoft's way of stating how much time a user spends working after their official workday. Users can utilize this function to keep track of their work-life balance.
How does it work?
The MyAnalytics "Home" page acts as the main dashboard that will show statistics on the past month of a user's work patterns. In addition, data insights can be personalized through the configuration settings to show what data points a user wants to track.
MyAnalytics will consolidate data from Microsoft's Outlook and Skype for Business apps, as well as from Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Exchange, Exchange Online, SharePoint and OneDrive. Data is stored in the user's mailbox, ensuring it gets the same level of protection that the user's email gets.
Data aggregated by MyAnalytics includes:
- Email data -- including email body text, mail metadata and data regarding the actions the email recipient takes.
- Calendar data -- including user status -- such as if the user is free, busy or out of the office -- as well as appointment or meeting information, like the type, meeting duration and number of attendees.
- Teams and Skype for Business data -- including the number of audio and video calls, collaboration activities and chats.
- OneDrive and SharePoint data -- which includes documents a user has worked on in each platform.
MyAnalytics uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and draws on data generated by a worker's behavior as well as his or her interaction with various applications in the Office 365 suite.
The MyAnalytics App can learn who a certain worker meets with most often and use this information to make recommendations about other connections within the company that might be useful or provide related material for a meeting based on the meeting's attendees. MyAnalytics tracks the hours of work during the workday as well as after-hours time spent on work and creates patterns for each user. The app can then make certain recommendations about how to free up a worker's time and make certain tasks more efficient.
Benefits and potential concerns
Benefits of MyAnalytics include:
- receive data-driven recommendations to improve workflow;
- increased insight into collaborators and user networks;
- a weekly email digest with suggestions to help users to understand their work patterns;
- an Outlook add-on to view email statistics directly from within Outlook;
- actional insights on how much time is spent on what each month; and
- the potential to increase productivity.
At the same time, workers, managers and industry observers have expressed concern about employees' tasks being monitored. Many are worried that constant monitoring of tasks, such as writing emails, creating meetings or opening certain documents, violates the employee's privacy and the aggregation of data that could be used to justify a negative performance review. It is important to note, however, that Microsoft doesn't install an agent that actively monitors a user's actions. All the data in MyAnalytics is data that the user can gather from their applications themselves. Microsoft has also striven to assure users that their data is private.
How to access MyAnalytics from Outlook
The add-on for MyAnalytics in Outlook will be automatically installed with the purchase of a MyAnalytics plan. From there, users should begin to see an "Insights" icon on the Home ribbon in Outlook. The icon should be on the top right. This is the MyAnalytics icon. Selecting the icon, users can see insights for emails, after hours work, an option to add contacts, an option to book focus time, set task reminders and an option to see a list of shared OneDrive and SharePoint documents.
How to remove the MyAnalytics 'Insights' icon from Outlook
Users can choose to opt-out of MyAnalytics as a whole or choose to opt-out of MyAnalytics in segmented parts -- all with the option to opt back in at a later date. To remove the insights icon, and therefore the Outlook add-on, a user must first open their dashboard and select the settings icon located in the top right of the page. Select settings under MyAnalytics, then click "Insights Outlook add-in." From here, a user should be able to turn the option off.