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What is SharePoint analytics?

Analytics Intranet analytics

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Published February 1, 2022 · Updated May 4, 2022

What is SharePoint analytics?

SharePoint is a popular platform for workspace collaboration. It allows you to easily share and organize company documents. It also works well for companies of all sizes, from small and mid, to ones with as many as 50,000 workers. However, it’s vital to make sure your online workspace is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and contains all the relevant information.

That’s where SharePoint analytics comes in, since looking at how your organization uses the platforms enables you to tailor your work intranet to your employees’ needs. It’s especially important if your organization is large and has a number of different teams and employees working in different locations or collaborating remotely.

What is SharePoint analytics?

SharePoint analytics is a piece of software that allows you to collect data on user behavior inside the platform. This enables you to see how your employees interact with their digital workspace. Analyzing how your employees use SharePoint helps you make it more engaging and efficient.

If you’re looking to get more out of your company’s intranet by using analytics, you should consider a few steps and questions before you choose software to analyze your data. First, you should understand the type of data you’re able to collect from this platform, and more significantly, what you can do with that information. Second, you need to decide how you will analyze your intranet platform, as a number of platforms on the market offer this service.

 What data can you collect with SharePoint analytics?

There are four types of data to collect and analyze in SharePoint: content, engagement, internal search and site collection performance. Most popular analytics platforms break down data the same way. Each category or report will give you different insights into how your employees use their digital workspace and what changes you can make to improve communication across your company.

pro tip

There is a plethora of useful information to learn from reports available in SharePoint analytics. However, an important first step in analyzing data is to do some goal setting. This way, you can determine what type of improvements you want to make to your intranet. 

The goals might involve, for example:

  • Improving intranet adoption 
  • Increasing engagement 
  • Optimizing user experience 
  • Ensuring the return on investment and optimizing the intranet platform for the most efficient use of storage space

Read this article to learn more about setting up goals for a SharePoint analytics project: 12 useful intranet KPIs your business should be analyzing

Let’s explore what type of data each of these categories has and what that information tells you.

1. The content report looks at file usage and activity across your workspace. For example, you can see what file type employees download most often, e.g. pdf or docx, or if people look at URLs or lists more frequently. You can also collect information on page edits and deletions in this report, as well as page views.

This information will benefit your company in several ways. For instance, if you’re looking at the statistics for when people typically download documents, this tells you the best time to publish information to ensure documents have the biggest audience.

2. The internal search tells you how easy or difficult it is for your employees to find information in your company’s SharePoint. For example, if you want to see how long it takes your employees to download your overtime policy, this report shows you how many times your employees must click through to reach the information.

Since you can filter the data by department or team, you’re able to see what different areas of the company are searching for, so you know what sort of resources or information they need. This way, it’s easy to determine what content type you need to create for your employees – or to figure out what policies or information isn’t clear for them.

3. The social engagement report measures what it sounds like it should measure: likes, comments, shares, and promotions of different pieces of content. The report shows you popular authors whose content people are accessing the most.

4. Site collection reports tell you how content is used and what type of information is popular. It’s a meta reporting tool that enables you to look at the frequency and quality of interactions across multiple reports. With a site collection report, you can look at how all the information in one of your departments is used.

How to analyze your SharePoint data

Before you decide which platform to use, you should ask some questions about your company’s needs. You want to make sure your choice fits with your organization’s requirements.

  1. Is SharePoint’s built-in analytics enough?

    In most cases, it won’t be. It’s not very effective, for a few key reasons. In SharePoint’s built-in tool, your data can only be viewed as raw data or a summary, making it hard to see patterns or trends. In addition, the data comes in different forms – including Excel spreadsheets and graphs – making it difficult to easily analyze large amounts of data.

  2. Can I use web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics or Matomo to collect SharePoint data?

    Google Analytics doesn’t work well for this either. It doesn’t have the tools to do an effective job and isn’t secure enough for an internal website. For example, Google Analytics doesn’t track a few specific metrics, such as list interactions, page-level interactions, and social metrics, so you would be missing out on useful insights if you use this platform.

    Matomo is another option, but while it ensures privacy, the platform lacks metrics specific for SharePoint. If your company is interested in analyzing your digital workspace in a meaningful way, you should consider a dedicated piece of analytics software.

  3. What should I keep in mind when looking for a SharePoint analytics platform?

    The most important question to ask is what type of insights your company is looking for. Whatever platform you choose should work with your current version of the software. Besides that, these things are worth considering:

    1. Do you want a standalone SharePoint analytics, or dedicated software that is part of an all-purpose analytics platform?

      A general purpose platform with a dedicated SharePoint analytics module puts all of your data in one location. If your company already has a product dedicated to web analytics, it might be effective to collect your intranet data using the same piece of software. That said, not every general analytics platform offers an integration with SharePoint.

    2. Do you need custom reports and dashboards?

      Both custom reports and custom dashboards make it convenient for you to get the information you want quickly. Many software companies, like Piwik PRO, have dashboards with customizable widgets tailored for your needs. In addition, you can create reports based on the specific data set.

      For example, if your company has offices in multiple locations, you might need to apply custom dimensions to your reports, such as time zone, location and content language.

    3. Will your vendor be able to help you integrate SharePoint analytics with your other tools?

      If you want to integrate one of your favorite tools and platforms into your analytics platform, turn to a vendor to assist with that. For example, many BI tools are compatible with different SharePoint analytics platforms, but your company could need help to ensure that the integration goes smoothly. Most of the SharePoint analytics products also offer an integration with Microsoft’s Active Directory. This way, you can get the information you require from day one.

    4. Does your team have the knowledge to be able to run analytics projects? If not, will your SharePoint analytics vendor provide you with the necessary training and support?

      Having proper support and training will help you get the most out of the analytics platform you choose. If your team is already well-versed in analytics programs, you’re all set. However, if your team will need training, it’s important to make sure the analytics vendor you select has a support staff to guide you through the setup, configuration and everyday use of the platform.

    5. Are there any particular features and functionalities that are the most important to you? 

      This is a question you should think about carefully. For instance, if data security and privacy are on the top of your priority list, then you need the proper data storing options and a compliant way to collect and process data. 

      What’s more, if you want flexibility and ease of use, then it would be good to have a platform that offers customization, can work with different file types and is user-friendly.  

    6. What are your needs regarding data security, privacy and hosting? Do you need to keep your data on-site or off?

      Processing employee data requires an extra layer of care, as you want to collect only the information you need. Furthermore, you want to guarantee that this data stays secure.

      Consider the privacy laws that affect data storage in your country. Those laws will help you determine whether to use on-site hosting or off-site. Finally, check with your organization, as some businesses have certain policies on data storage and proper data anonymization.

With the right analytics platform, your organization gains the information to make your online workspace more relevant and efficient for your employees.

SharePoint analytics vendors comparison

This table compares the top four platforms for analyzing SharePoint. If you are interested in more details, download the full comparison.

Piwik PRO SharePoint analytics CardioLog Analytics HarePoint Analytics Webtrends Analytics for SharePoint
Site collection performance, content, search and engagement reports
Custom reports and dashboards
Modern drag-and-drop report editor
Possibility to integrate with external BI
platforms (built-in integration or API)
Integration with MS Active Directory
Track and combine data from other websites, SPAs and mobile apps
Dedicated account manager & technical support
Cloud hosting
On-premises hosting
Private cloud hosting
Price

Author

Evelyn Aschenbrenner

Content Marketer

A writer with a background in journalism who’s dedicated to making abstract technical issues easy to understand.

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Author

Karolina Lubowicka

Senior Content Marketer and Social Media Specialist

An experienced copywriter who takes complex topics of data privacy & GDPR and makes them understandable for all. LinkedIn Profile

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