Home & Office

Microsoft can show you why your team meetings are so boring

Dull meetings? The answer might be in the data.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on
Man using a computer while another leans forward to look at the screen
Image: Getty Images

Microsoft has rolled out several new improvements to Adoption Score, its tool for admins to observe how much staff are using Microsoft 365, including the ability to send messages from Word and Excel to get staff to use the apps.

Microsoft 365 admins gain a revamped Meeting dashboard within the People Experiences part of the dashboard interface. It's meant to show what is working and what fails for meetings in Teams, according to Microsoft. 

The number of meetings per week has increased by 153% for the average Microsoft Teams user since the start of the pandemic, and there is still no indication that this trend has reversed, Microsoft said, suggesting this peak could become "the new baseline". 

To help IT admins and adoption specialists understand what is working and what isn't, Microsoft's updated Meetings page shows insights into recommended practices across the meeting experience, from set-up to the meeting itself, to the "critical" post-meeting follow-up.

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"Meetings, where people explore ideas, plan, solve problems, and make decisions, are a fundamental pillar for organizational productivity. Research indicates that when people use online meeting tools effectively, they tend to save up to 104 minutes per week," it notes. "The updated page shows insights into recommended practices across the meeting experience, from set-up to the meeting itself, to the critical post-meeting follow-up."

Meetings are scored across features such as was communication shared ahead of time, whether they were scheduled with at least 24 hours notice, or if attendees participated with audio or chat at a high rate. The score is out of 100. IT admins can use the tool to help businesses understand why their meetings aren't working and help them to improve.

To improve transparency, Microsoft has now published a page explaining how it calculates the meetings score. Since Teams integrates with Outlook, it uses data across the two to produce a score out of 100 that can be tracked over time for improvements or otherwise. It's based on the meeting set up, meet up, and follow up. 

There's also new group-level aggregates for Communication, Content collaboration, and Mobility. Support for Meetings and Teamwork is coming. 

Admins can use this to filter results by Company, Department, Country, State, and City – attributes that can be selected within Azure Active Directory. This helps show, on a location basis, where Microsoft 365 adoption is happening. This could help for targeted training and communications with employees.

Again, illustrating user-level privacy, Microsoft notes: "For group-level aggregate information to be displayed, the capability must be enabled by a Global Administrator and a minimum of 10 users must be included in a group to help ensure that individual user data is not revealed, part of our ongoing commitment to user level privacy." 

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Admins are also getting the power to deliver in-app messages. Microsoft says the new "organizational messages" feature allows admins to "deliver clear, actionable messages in product and in a targeted way, while maintaining user-level privacy."

"Users can be reminded to use products that have recently been deployed, encouraged to try a product on a different surface or to recommend new ways of working, such as using @mentions to improve response rates in communications. Templatized messages are delivered to users in their flow of work through surfaces, including Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Word."

At release, Global admins needed to approve Adoption Score's use in order to for other Office admins to see the time trend data it provides in the dash.

A new "User Experience Success Manager role" gives non-admins access to Experience Insights, Adoption Score and the Message Center in the Microsoft 365 admin center. This is aimed at supporting change management specialists to drive digital transformation efforts without giving them visibility into admin tasks. 

This new role is coming to the Microsoft 365 admin center by November 1. Information about what visibility the role provides in Adoption Score is here

Microsoft introduced Adoption Score in August with an emphasis on worker's consent to having admins track their Office usage and a commitment to "user-level privacy", where scores only tell admins about behavior at a group level.

"No one in a customer's organization can use Adoption Score to access data about how an individual user is using apps and services in Microsoft 365," Microsoft stated at the time. Shortly after the pandemic began, the tool – then known as Productivity Score – earned the title of "full-fledged workplace surveillance tool", but Microsoft reiterated the privacy message today while unveiling new analytics features

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