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Measure SharePoint 2013 Usage with Site and Search Analytics

An important component of a return on investment analysis for software can be frequency of usage. SharePoint 2013 includes a web analytics service useful for this purpose. In a video overview titled Overview of SharePoint 2013 analytics features and implementation, Steve Peschka, Senior Principal Architect, Microsoft®, introduces us to the web analytics service for SharePoint 2013.

In the opening scene of this video Mr. Peschka presents a new feature of analytics for SharePoint 2013: it’s built on “Request Management” (not defined in this video). The analytics feature has been completely rewritten for SharePoint 2013. The rationale for the rewrite was a need to better equip SharePoint 2013 analytics to contribute, meaningfully, to collaboration objectives, foremost of these being the need for a method of demonstrating the popularity of specific assets stored in SharePoint in terms of user visits, pageviews, etc.

Usage of items included in SharePoint 2013 lists can now be measured, which was not possible with the analytics feature included with SharePoint 2010. The service has also been made more efficient, so smaller servers can be successfully implemented to run the analytics service. There is even an option to use a “Content by Search” web part, presumably to display visits in a manner consistent with the kind of visit counters seen in the early days of the web.

Metrics on usage, and item popularity can also be used in an analysis of return on investment in SharePoint 2013. We prefer this type of application of the data. In this video Mr. Peschka also speaks of reorganizing SharePoint 2013 search results based upon the historic popularity of specific items. This option is not attractive to us. We think the main purpose of SharePoint search is to expose the most relevant content stored in SharePoint when the search service is used for queries, and not the most popular.

The new analytics service can also be applied to specific SharePoint 2013 site collections. We tested the feature with our SharePoint Online, Office 365 implementation. The descriptive information included in this video presentation is entirely consistent with SharePoint Online.

Ira Michael Blonder

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