Understand and improve data structure in your SharePoint Environment.

SharePoint Vitals is a tool created to add value to not only your administrator of your SharePoint Farm but for any manager wanting to understand the usage of SharePoint and/or O365.  It specifically provides analysis to answer the questions of who is using what and how they are using it.

The implications, and findings, assist with numerous strategic and operational decisions such as:

  1. Data migration and what to move
  2. Adoption of your intranet
  3. Improvements in data structure in the SharePoint Environment
  4. Auditing of specific usage of documentation
  5. Return on investment on projects
  6. Security tracking
  7. User experience and improvements in network

Today’s blog looks at understanding and constantly improving our SharePoint environment by analyzing the current usage. This ties closely to adoption but has a different slant in keeping your SharePoint environment relevant.

Often in this scenario we will be presented with the comment “We are using SharePoint but we hear that people struggle to find information” or “We are rolling out new functionality but people don’t see it”

Why is this question important?

You spend enormous amounts of money in implementing an intranet, you structure the data in the way that seems best to your organization at the time and you expect the tool to provide you a return of investment in terms of its usage and improvement in productivity.  But an intranet is a living beast that has a 7-year maturity cycle if Gartner information is to be trusted.

This means that your environment and the lifecycle will change on a regular basis, requiring updates, changes in structure and improvements in communication methods.

How can we benefit from SharePoint Vitals?

When an SharePoint / O365 farm is already established, companies might be looking or ways to improve their traction / productivity by restructuring.

This is similar to the Migration and Usage scenario but slightly different in that the client is wanting to improve their environment.

The SEARCH TERMS report will show whether the navigation and site is clearly structured, if you have finding repeated searches for similar terms you will know that finding that data is not clearly defined in your taxonomy, this will allow you to rebuild menus and content to allow for easier access of data without having to search for it.

From the BROWSER and DEVICE reports you will understand if there are a lot of mobile devices being used, this will dictate whether you should look at changing to the Modern experience or stick to your classic experience rather, but also identify the browsers and JS compatibility you should look for.  You can look at customization using front-end technology and aim your JS Frameworks to specific browsers being used to ensure consistency.

The extended OFFICE 365 reports will give access to insights into how the current information is structured in O365, whether your governance rules are being applied (or whether you need governance rules). The TEAMS Report will show you the sprawl of teams in your environment allowing you to pick up duplicate Teams, as well as identifying how busy specific teams are as well as which users are creating or owning teams.

The extended REST API allows you to also mash data from other sources to generate whatever type of reports you want.  It is important to understand that SharePoint Vitals does not store personal data or content from SharePoint, as such should you wish to mash the data with other sources you can gain further insights, this is easily done through the use of the REST API allowing you to integrate to PowerBI or any other front end source that allows you to access the data which is secured through 2 secret keys.

Suggestion to client.

Deploy SharePoint Vitals and monitor the reporting to identify how SharePoint and O365 are being used. Then follow the campaigns you have put in place for continued improvements. Point out the ability for SharePoint Vitals to store data into perpetuity, this is something SharePoint cannot do out of the box.

Bonus.

Once you have improved adoption with SharePoint Vitals you can still utilise the tools to audit who is using what and to manage security through who is accessing what information from where.

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