Microsoft isn’t saying when these intelligent event capabilities will be available, unfortunately. You’ll need to have Office 365, Yammer, and Stream deployed to take advantage of it, as well as use Office 365 Groups and identity control. While it might seem a bit too complex for small organizations, it’s the sort of thing that could be useful for mid-size and large companies, where you can’t fit everyone into a single group video chat.
In a bid to make us all work smarter, Microsoft also unveiled a preview of Workplace Analytics. It relies on data from Office 365 to unearth insights about how your organization works. For example, it can flag a warning if it sees that your group is being overloaded with meetings every week, or if you don’t have enough time for focused productivity. You’ll also be able to enroll in programs to improve your habits, like reminding you to block out time for focused work. All of your analytics data is measured over time, allowing managers to see if their teams are actually improving.
While it might sound a bit dystopian, Microsoft says the Analytics tools are just using data that already exists in Office 365. It’s not putting you under surveillance, or forcing you to fill out time sheets to account for everything you’re doing during the day. Instead, the aim is to use machine smarts to pay attention to things that you, or your boss, might not see as you’re bogged down with the daily grind.
Microsoft is also introducing “MyAnalytics Nudges” to help remind you of better workplace habits. If you’re putting together an email to a colleague after hours, for example, it can gently suggest you wait until the work day. And if you’re getting overloaded with meetings, it can suggest you delegate to a coworker. While the Nudges sound helpful, they also evoke Microsoft’s overly tip-friendly Clippy, so I could see them getting annoying after a while.