Samer Haque - 28.09.202020200928

Quantifying the productivity issue and how Nulia can help

Microsoft finally gives you a measurable score for collaboration

The Year 2020 has been a roller coaster ride for a lot of organisations with much of the workforce still working from home and likely to do so for quite some time; a very different picture to what it was 12 months ago. Satya Nadella was quoted to say “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months” due to COVID-19, with Microsoft reporting 75 million daily active usage of Teams in April. With such rapid transformation in response to the pandemic, most organisations have scrambled to enable their users to work remotely and now people are capable of working remotely, so the question becomes, are they being productive and effective?

One key selling point of Microsoft 365 is the promise of a new world of collaboration, increasing productivity across the workforce and in turn saving costs. This is highlighted in Forrester’s ‘Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams’ (found here) and some of their key findings:

  • Teams reduces the total number and duration of meetings
  • Teams reduces the overall spend on other communication and/or hardware solutions
  • Information workers save 4 hours per week with improved collaboration
  • Improved worker satisfaction, integration and empowerment reduces the attrition rates
  • Decision-makers improve their time-to-decision by more than 17%

Knowing M365 can make organisations more productive is one thing, but there hasn’t been a way to measure it, until now. Microsoft has a new “Productivity Score” in preview, providing organisations insights into how effectively M365 products are being consumed. The Productivity Score for an organisation will reflect how their users are using M365 in comparison to similar organisations with valuable insights in two areas:

  • Employee Experience –  a measure of how M365 is being used to help users be productive and an engaged workforce by quantifying how people are collaborating on content, working from anywhere and communicating
  • Technology Experience – helps ensure technology isn’t getting in the way of productivity by helping organisations optimise device experience and network connectivity to make sure apps are working well

Now there is a score available, we have something ‘measurable’ to determine if there is a true problem with how users are using M365 and if they are using it as intended (in the eyes of Microsoft of course).

Score lower than you expected? Want to improve productivity?

Now there is a metric to track productivity, organisations can see if there is room for improvement. So, what is next?

From within the Productivity Score report, Admins can drill into different reports, for example, looking at a sample tenant, the following graphic demonstrates this organisation has room to improve when it comes to behaviours around sharing links to documents v’s sending emails with attachments.

Through the portal Admins are also able to access more granular reporting to see which users may need to change their behaviours in order to improve their overall productivity. This gives organisations the ability to provide their users with guidance to better enable them, and improve their overall productivity by collaborating effectively.

So, Productivity Score gives us some intel but are their better options available to enable users?

It is great that Productivity Score can provide the granular insight on areas to improve, but it is somewhat lacking in the options available to help users become enabled. Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft does provide guides on what can be done to improve things, however the advice is to provide users with Knowledge Base articles in the hope users will read and act. In the earlier example, if the recommendation was followed then admins will need to manually send an email with the following instructions:

Sending the instructions is easy enough and, chances are, if users paid attention to the email received; they may try it. And we all know the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”, well this is a similar situation – we don’t know if people will try it and even if they do, will they continue to do it the new way and eventually change their behaviour?

So, in this approach, organisations would be sending it in hope, whilst monitoring for any improvement and if there isn’t much or any improvement, then what’s next?

Nulia – So how does Nulia help in this scenario?

What’s great about Productivity Score is organisations finally have a metric which helps identify if and where problems or inefficiencies exist. However, it is not the best solution when it comes to helping end-users in getting better enabled to use the M365 platform.

Nulia is a solution which helps users to be better enabled and monitors the change in user behaviours overtime to ensure there has been a positive change. Within the Nulia Works platform, organisations can assign outcomes to end users which they work towards achieving, whilst Nulia monitors their progress in the background. Somewhat similar to the approach from Productivity Score we shared earlier, where a KB article is sent, Nulia provides users with instructions (but in several different formats) on how they can achieve a skill.

However, the big differentiator is Nulia continues to monitor the user over some time to see if there is a change in their behaviour as it relates to the specific skill. Understanding that up to 75% of user training doesn’t have the intended effect once people leave a training session, the ability to monitor usage ensures the user enablement is far more successful. If the users start demonstrating a change over time, then Nulia will mark the skill as achieved and with the platform constantly monitoring users, if they stop demonstrating the behaviour after some time the platform can alert both the user and organisation.  

So, looking at a similar example as earlier, around sharing OneDrive documents, the screenshot below shows some of the content available around this skillset. Understanding users have preferences on how they digest information (VARK – read more here), Nulia caters to this by offering learning in various content styles.

The other thing to note in the screenshot is that as a user, I have been demonstrating this skill for 26 weeks (top right corner), which highlights that this is something I am performing on a very regular basis.

With Nulia’s approach to enablement and ongoing monitoring of user’s behaviour, it provides more granular insight on how users are using the M365 platform allowing organisations to focus on more targeted learnings. This also allows organisations to enable users at scale, not having to set up training sessions with groups regularly, allowing users to learn at their own pace.

Organisations using Nulia have seen increases up to:

  • 300% in Teams usage
  • 519% in Teams calls
  • 773% in sharing of files

The developers of Nulia also understand not all users need to have the same amount of knowledge of the products so different levels of a skill can be assigned to a user, which the organisation can determine based on their role.

When Productivity Score goes GA, it is finally going to give organisations a snapshot of how productive their users are in M365, it’s no longer going to be based on a hunch or feedback around the water cooler. There will trackable metrics. What organisations do with this number is what is important, especially now the modern way of working has changed mean the findings of the Forester study are even more important when building an effective workforce. Previous approaches of training users may no longer be applicable, or possible and Nulia, offers a unique approach which can either replace or complement existing methods. The ability to monitor and see if the training has a positive impact on changing behaviours is a valuable insight and will help organisations continuously improve at scale. These improvements will provide organisations with a quicker return on their M365 spend whilst improving overall productivity and saving operational costs.

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