August 29, 2022
min read
Kas Nowicka
Kas has spent the last decade working with Microsoft’s cloud solutions and sharing governance, adoption, and productivity best practices with the MVP community.
Corporate office filled with people working

The vast majority of your organization’s correspondence, data generation, and data storage take place within your M365 tenant. As such, tracking user activity in M365 can offer a wide variety of benefits to an organization.

Tracking this sort of data can uncover communication gaps between specific departments. Or you may find those specific users have licenses that they don’t actually need, which can open the door to significant cost savings via the right sizing of your overall M365 licensing. Or you may discover that certain resources are underutilized throughout your organization – which can inform your internal training practices.

These examples constitute only a fraction of the actionable data that you can glean from examining the usage patterns of your organization within Microsoft 365. Regardless of the data you choose to focus on within this vein, there are specific and concrete paths to collecting and reviewing it regularly, which we’ll take a look at in this post.

Accessing User Activity Data for High-Level Trend Analysis

In the M365 Admin Center, navigate to the Reports > Usage page. Here, you will find a collection of clickable tiles that each relate to a specific application available in your M365 tenant. To find more detailed information about any report listed on this page, simply click the "View More" button at the bottom of a given tile.

Accessing User-specific Data

By default, all data contained in M365 User Activity Reports is anonymized in order to protect the privacy of users within your tenant. However, if your organizational policies allow for it, global administrators can adjust this setting, so that specific user activity can be included in these reports.

To adjust the setting, navigate to the Settings > Org Settings > Services page in the M365 Admin Center. Then, click Reports, uncheck the Display concealed user, group, and site names in all reports, and save your changes.

Key User Activity Reports in M365

Active Users' Report

The Active Users Report will provide a window into the number of active and assigned licenses within your M365 tenant. Additionally, you can get detailed information about which users are using which M365 applications, which will help you identify underutilized E5 licenses and M365 products.

Email Activity Report

The Email Activity Report includes details around a variety of data points, such as the number of emails sent and received, but also the number of meetings created and accepted, which will go a long way toward identifying any communication gaps within departments throughout your organization.

Microsoft Teams User Activity Report

Microsoft Teams is emerging as the default communication channel for daily communication within organizations that use Microsoft 365. As such, this report may be very helpful in identifying specific communication patterns within your company. Included data points consist of items such as the number of messages sent, the number of replies sent, whether a user is licensed, and the last date that a user was active.

OneDrive for Business User Activity Report

The OneDrive for Business Report provides a simple means of identifying the frequency with which certain resources are accessed within your organization. Moreover, it can help to understand the degree of collaboration within your organization by providing data on the number of shared files within OneDrive.

For a complete list of available user activity reports, you can refer to the Microsoft documentation.

How CoreView Can Help

Microsoft makes it relatively easy to access the reports described above in a one-off manner. That is, certain administrators can access this data via the M365 Admin Center, but the data points included reflect user activity for – at most – the past 180 days and may be limited to the past seven days.

While this data is certainly informative, it will likely be far more beneficial to track the data described above at regular intervals over an extended period of time in order to gain insight into not only random snapshots of user activity but rather a more holistic view of user activity within your organization. CoreView makes it simple to automate the generation and storage of these reports so that you will be better able to understand the larger trends of M365 usage within your company, which will better inform the business strategies that are being informed by this information.

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Created by M365 experts, for M365 experts.