MS Productivity Score – An informative bit of software

MS Productivity Score – an informative bit of software that, since 2019, comes as standard within MS Office 365; is it a useful management tool for improving organisational productivity and effectiveness, or does it represent workplace surveillance by stealth?

A Laudable Intention

Microsoft promotes Productivity Score as a means of supporting an organisation’s “journey to digital transformation” by providing “insights” on how it “uses Microsoft 365 and the technology experiences that support it”.  Measurement is conducted across eight categories:

  • Communication (100 points)
  • Meetings (100 points)
  • Content collaboration (100 points)
  • Teamwork (100 points)
  • Mobility (100 points)
  • Endpoint analytics (100 points)
  • Network connectivity (100 points)
  • Microsoft 365 Apps Health (100 points)

A maximum Productivity Score of 800 points can be achieved measuring data collected from an array of MS products: Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Yammer, and Skype.

An organisation’s score and supporting metrics are used in analysing “underlying usage statistics and configurations” to highlight problem areas that can then be addressed.  Information collected can also be used for comparison with benchmarks from similarly sized organisations.

So far, so good.  But wait…clouds on the horizon.

Controversy

You may be aware of the recent brouhaha surrounding MS Productivity Score?  It was revealed that although collected data is aggregated to a high-level for an organisational perspective on what is and isn’t working, default reports allow identification of data associated with individuals.  As The Guardian’s Alex Hern suggests“reports also let managers drill down into data on individual employees, to find those who participate less in group chat conversations, send fewer emails, or fail to collaborate in shared documents”.  All of which raises workplace privacy concerns and can lead to suspicions of ‘Big Brother’ watching over everything we do.

Microsoft’s Initial Response

Microsoft maintained they are “committed to privacy as a fundamental element of Productivity Score” and that the product is an “opt-in experience” giving “IT administrators insights about technology and infrastructure usage”.  A Microsoft executive unequivocally stated, “Productivity Score is not a work monitoring tool; it’s about discovering new ways of working and providing people with great collaboration and technology experiences”.

Subsequent Developments

Sara M. Watson of Business Insider reports that Microsoft has committed to addressing the privacy concerns raised by removing “user’s names from the dashboard, effectively anonymising employee-level data”.  A development sure to be welcomed by everyone who doesn’t like someone peering over their shoulder.  Isn’t that all of us?

What Does it Mean for Your Organisation?

The IT Agency, as accredited Microsoft partners, can assist you with installation and operation of all Microsoft software products, including MS Productivity Score.  We’re committed to the security and privacy of your data and will be happy to discuss your requirements.  Call The IT Agency on (02) 8317 4730.

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