SharePoint Analytics 101

SharePoint Analytics 101

So here is the story, you have spent all that time getting SharePoint working and running perfectly in your organization, everyone has adopted it (as much as you can tell anyway), and one of the executives asks you what metrics can we see on usage within SharePoint?

The magic question that I hear quite frequently, how do we tell what is being used, what is being done and if the site is useful. SharePoint has had analytics in various formats for quite some time now, though not the greatest reports it can be quite useful to see what is going on within SharePoint. In order for you to get the most out of the analytics you need to first enable the ability to log information and or set properties of actions you wish to capture.

To begin with there are some standard places you can look first to help in building this picture. Accessing a document library or list you can simply select the “Most Popular Items” link.

This will return based on some basic analysis within SharePoint and list you what is most popular within the container. This page also allows for switching between “Most Views”, “Most Views by Unique Users” and “Most Recommendation Clicks”. 

These are quick and easy to get to and give you instance insight into the content you have within SharePoint. When the results are listed you also have the ability to click on “Popularity Trends” which will then download an Excel file containing raw data and charts.

This will give you even more insight into how popular content is within specific lists and libraries. Within the same library or list you can select an individual item and click the “Popularity Trends” link and that will also download the same spreadsheet of results.

Though these are great there are more reports that are available to us within SharePoint. Clicking into the settings of the site will allow us to access the “Popularity and Search Reports”.

Once on this page we are able to access various Excel type reports that delve into what SharePoint deems as popular and what is being searched for.

These reports are simply connecting to SharePoint under the covers using Excel and rendering out values that it has stored over time.

As an example running the “Number of Queries” report outputs the search queries performed within the site.

When looking to see if things like search are being adopted or even used properly, running the search query reports are ideal. 

These reports will list the result source, and then the query text that was typed. This allows you to look at key values that are being used within search and what you could add a new terms or search queries to help end users find what they are looking for.

Reports like this are helpful but for deeper inspection we need to look at the audit settings within the site collection. The two options within the site are “Site Collection Audit Settings” and “Audit Log Reports”.

The settings page gives you the ability to define what you wish to capture and the frequency.

Once these have been set then the audit process will begin capturing the extra information needed. At this point you do need to leave SharePoint for a while in order for it to capture this and allow it to be available within the reports. The reports themselves allow for greater insight into what the end users are actually doing within the site and specifically with content

Once the audit logs have run for a while, you can then click on any of the Excel type reports to see the data. You will need to first specify where you want to report to reside once it has been created.

Next you can then see the report within the SharePoint site. All in all, this is really what you get out of the box with SharePoint. Reports that run as you need them, allowing you to make better informed decisions on what to do next with SharePoint.

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