SharePoint is a robust intranet platform with many capabilities – how can you ensure that your organization is making the most of your SharePoint intranet? Daniel Amaro, Klarinet Solutions Co-Founder and Lead Architect, discussed the goals of SharePoint, the goals of SharePoint analytics, how to get these analytics, and what analytics you should be looking for in a recent webinar. Read on for a recap of what he covered.
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The Goals of SharePoint
There are two goals that SharePoint focuses on – the main one being communication. SharePoint is designed to be leveraged as a platform that improves communication within organizations. It does this by providing a space to host content-rich pages that highlight the company’s mission, vision, and values, success stories, employee spotlights, company information, links to outside resources, and anything else employees may need to feel more connected to the company.
The other goal of SharePoint is to improve collaboration within organizations by creating spaces that allow employees to get their work done, share content with each other, and track progress being made on projects. SharePoint allows for the creation of structured spaces that store documents, track records, provide access to content, allow for external sharing, and potentially drive process automation.
Goals of SharePoint Analytics
While SharePoint aims to streamline communication and collaboration across organizations, simply building it and then not doing anything to monitor it is not the way to go. Organizations must leverage analytics tools for both communication and collaboration to see how things are working.
“’If you build it, they will come’ is not the case for any sort of technical solution, above all, SharePoint. If you just build it, they don’t really come. It’s not like the field of dreams, it’s more like a garden. You’re actually watering this thing, you’re weeding this thing, you’re making sure it’s got plenty of sunshine, you’re digging in the dirt. It requires special tools in order to get this thing to actually work. It’s effort. And that’s where analytics comes in. Analytics is going to provide us with some insight into how things are actually working”, shares Amaro.
For communication, SharePoint analytics aims to gauge engagement. It gives organizations a chance to determine ROI, justify their efforts to management, adapt a communication strategy based on the objective information they gather, and streamline pages for maximum impact. For collaboration, SharePoint analytics aims to gauge usage. In other words, rather than trying to determine if pages are actually having an impact, it simply aims to see if the intranet is being used. Organizations can use SharePoint analytics to improve collaboration by managing structures and sites, promoting the most popular content, and streamline pages for function over form.
How to Get SharePoint Analytics
If your organization is using modern SharePoint, it comes with the ability to see useful analytics right out-of-the-box. Microsoft understands the importance of being able to measure the engagement and usage of your SharePoint intranet, which is why it has indicated it might be working on introducing more value to analytics. For the time being, SharePoint analytics allows you to see metrics such as number of visits, popular content, usage insights, time spent per visit, and more.
While SharePoint analytics is quite robust on its own, there are a few limitations with the out-of-the-box functionality. For example, with SharePoint analytics out-of-the-box, visitors are able to view and read site usage, and perhaps owners might not want this information to be publicly available to everyone. Owners are able to export data they gather by going to their hub site, clicking on the settings button, and then clicking on “site usage”, but the filters they choose to sort by are not saved, so every time they view a different metric, they must set filters again, which is another limitation. Owners can also only download site usage data, not hub usage data, and only the last 90 days’ worth of data is shown.
For organizations looking to get more out of SharePoint analytics, we suggest using a third-party tool. There are many such tools available on the market, including Velocity Site Metrics, which we have developed at Klarinet Solutions. Third party tools often provide extensive additional data, like visitor maps, device models, office location, visits per hour, and screen resolution. While this may not sound essential, many of these metrics are actually crucial to monitor. Screen resolution, for example, is important to know because page design can look very different depending on the resolution of the screen it is being accessed from, and visitors might not even be seeing what you’re expecting them to see.
What to Look for
We recommend paying attention to three factors when using SharePoint analytics:
Try to look for trends in your analytics data over time. Are visits seasonal? Is there an upward or downward trend? What does it mean? Are users viewing your news consistently or are you seeing shifts? Are the departments that bring in the most visitors changing? Is the type of user or device changing?
Look for patterns in your data. Is there a specific user base that drives most of the traffic? Which departments, locations, and users are not engaging? What type of system are most users accessing the site with? What resolution do they run? Is there a content piece that gets the most visitors?
Look to see if there seems to be a relationship between two factors. When you post content, do you get more engagement on the site? When you use multiple communication mediums, do you see more usage? Do your efforts produce the expected results? If you change something on the site, do you see behavior shifting?
While SharePoint analytics gives you a great deal of insight into how users behave, you should merge objective and subjective criteria. Ask your users what they think about your site. If your users’ subjective responses do not match the objective data gathered from SharePoint analytics, take some time to figure out why. We recommend staying consistent in checking out trends, patterns, and correlations so you can continue to maintain the health of your site.
Klarinet Solutions Can Help You Make the Most of SharePoint
We know all of this might be a lot to take in, which is why we’re here to help! We are experts in all things SharePoint, and we know how to help you fully leverage SharePoint analytics to understand how users engage with your site.
Contact the digital workplace experts at Klarinet Solutions today so we can begin to design a custom solution that fits the needs of your organization.