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Microsoft 365

Our commitment to privacy in Microsoft Productivity Score

Over the last week, there’s been a lot of conversation about Microsoft Productivity Score—a tool that helps organizations measure and manage the adoption of Microsoft 365. We’ve heard the feedback, and today we’re responding by making changes to the product to further bolster privacy for customers.  In this post, I’ll outline the changes we’re making to protect individual privacy, while still giving organizations the data-driven insights they need to manage their digital transformation. 

We recognize that the shift to remote work this year has brought new challenges and stresses to employees across the world, and there’s a clear need to help people learn how to use technology to navigate the new normal. Productivity Score gives IT administrators the insights they need to help their people get the most from Microsoft 365. Old habits die hard, but even small changes can make a big difference. For example, research has shown that when people collaborate and share content in the cloud (instead of emailing attachments), they can save up to 100 minutes a week.

At Microsoft, we believe that data-driven insights are crucial to empowering people and organizations to achieve more. We also believe that privacy is a human right, and we’re deeply committed to the privacy of every person who uses our products. As part of that commitment, we’re making the following changes to Productivity Score:

  • First, we’re removing user names from the product. During preview, we added a feature that showed end-user names and associated actions over a 28-day period. In response to feedback over the last week, we’re removing that feature entirely. Going forward, the communications, meetings, content collaboration, teamwork, and mobility measures in Productivity Score will only aggregate data at the organization level—providing a clear measure of organization-level adoption of key features. No one in the organization will be able to use Productivity Score to access data about how an individual user is using apps and services in Microsoft 365. 
  • Second, we’re modifying the user interface to make it clearer that Productivity Score is a measure of organizational adoption of technology—and not individual user behavior. Over the last few days, we’ve realized that there was some confusion about the capabilities of the product. Productivity Score produces a score for the organization and was never designed to score individual users. We’ll make that clearer in the user interface and improve our privacy disclosures in the product to ensure that IT admins know exactly what we do and don’t track. 

It’s important to note that the remaining three measures in the product— Microsoft 365 App health, network connectivity, and endpoint analytics—don’t include user names. These measures use device-level identifiers so IT can troubleshoot endpoint, network, and app issues to provide proactive tech support, minimizing disruptions and reducing help desk tickets.

These changes to the product will bolster privacy for end users, while still enabling IT professionals to measure and manage their organization’s adoption of the productivity apps and services in Microsoft 365. The service will continue to produce a single numeric score between 0 and 800 by adding up separate scores in 8 different categories: communication, meetings, content collaboration, teamwork, mobility, endpoint analytics, network connectivity, and Microsoft 365 App health—each with a total of 100 possible points. For more information on the details, see the product documentation.

The global pandemic has brought new challenges and stresses to employees, and there’s a clear opportunity for technology to help. But the adoption of new tools and capabilities often requires change management. Productivity Score is designed to help IT administrators measure and manage adoption so their people can get the most out of Microsoft 365. We appreciate the feedback we’ve heard over the last few days and are moving quickly to respond by removing user names entirely from the product. This change will ensure that Productivity Score can’t be used to monitor individual employees. At Microsoft, we’re committed to both data-driven insights and user privacy. We always strive to get the balance right, but if and when we miss, we will listen carefully and make appropriate adjustments. 

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