Automated Report Distribution for Office 365 User Activities
An organization’s Office 365 administrators are often responsible for the oversight and monitoring of their tenant’s activity. This responsibility may require the need to produce and distribute certain key activity reports on a recurring basis. In this blog focused on Activity Reporting, we will review the ease at which an Office 365 administrator can take valuable reports available in CoreView and schedule them to be distributed on a set schedule.
Benefits of Scheduled Reporting
The report scheduling capability available in CoreView can free an Office 365 administrator from the manual work needed to produce and distribute reports on a regular basis. It completely removes the development and maintenance of custom PowerShell scripts that some organizations use to handle scheduled report creation and distribution. CoreView’s powerful scheduling tool allows an IT administrator to perform the following:
- Create a custom report including any AD attributes and Office 365 activity metrics
- Select the report’s recipients, including individuals as well as distribution lists,
- Supply a narrative for the body of the email,
- Choose the format for distribution (e.g., Excel, PDF),
- Select a distribution schedule (e.g., every n hours, days, weeks or months).
- Assign a specific start and end date to the schedule, and
- Decide if you want CoreView to skip sending a report to the recipients if the report didn’t produce any results. (example: report query on users auto forwarding their e-mail outside the organization)
How to Schedule a Recurring Report
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll be using the Deleted Users report to establish a recurring publication schedule. While this example applies to the Deleted Users report, the techniques used here can apply to any report in CoreView that supports scheduling.
- The Deleted Users report can be found by clicking on the Analyze tab,
- Then navigating to menu selection titled User Reports on the left side navigation menu.
- Under User Reports, you will find a report titled Deleted Users. Click on this report.
Once you have the Deleted Users report displayed, you can click on “hamburger” icon, found above the number 4 in the previous image. Clicking on this icon will display a menu selection for the current report view.
From this drop-down menu, you then want to choose Schedule. At this point you will be presented with the Schedule Report dialog, as seen below. This allows you to define the report recipients as well as the desired schedule.
This dialog is divided into two tabs: 1. Choose Report Settings and 2. Choose Schedule. Under the initial tab, 1. Choose Report Settings, you supply the following information:
- Report Name – CoreView will default this to the title of the report you selected, but you should rename this to something meaningful to the recipients.
- Report Recipients – Provide the email addresses of the individuals to whom you’d like this report to be delivered. As you supply the email addresses, you click on the teal-colored button to the right of the address field to add the email address to the list. Please note that you can supply the email addresses of recipients who are outside of your Office 365 domain and you can also send to one or more distribution lists, if you provide the fully qualified email address for any distribution list you wish to use.
- Email Test/Comments – This is the body of the email that will transmit the scheduled report. You can supply whatever meaningful explanation is appropriate for the report being scheduled.
- Report Format – You can choose from one of two formats: Excel or PDF.
- Next – Once you have completed the information on this tab, you then click on the blue Next button to continue to the next tab.
Under the tab named 2. Choose Schedule, you will be able to configure the actual publication schedule for the report.
Under the 2. Choose Schedule tab, you will initially be presented with a configuration that allows for a one-time emailing of the report. This isn’t a scheduled report, per se, but it is the default configuration. There are three sections to this tab.
- Send When – You can elect to send a report Always, when the content of the report IsEmpty or when the content of the report IsNotEmpty. Typically, customers select IsNotEmpty so the recipients do not get bothered with empty reports.
- Recurrence – You can choose from One-Time or Recurring.
Image of CoreView’s Schedule Report configuration dialog
If you select the values of Recurring and/or At a Specific Time above, you will then be presented with some additional configuration data, found in the sample image below.
Inside these expanded sections, you can define the actual Recurrence in terms of Hours, Days, Weeks or Months in #3 above, and when you’d like to schedule to commence, with both a Starting On and Ending On date and time, in #4 above.
Finally, click on the green Confirm button to save the report. Once transmitted, the recipient will receive a formatted email notification from CoreView that includes a link to the report.
Some Final Thoughts
Prior to rolling out a report schedule operationally, we suggest that you create several test schedules, so you can better understand how the scheduling function works and what the recipients will experience.