Focusing on SharePoint 2010, what can be measured ? What should be measured ? How to add that little bit of extra delight that get’s you noticed at the top table.

As Intranet and digital work place managers we must report on the services we provide.

From the many digital workplace professionals I’ve visited and intranets I’ve seen this isn’t done enough. So my challenge to you is to do what I outline as a bare minimum and ONE other thing that provides a little delight so you can sell your value to your organisation.

Bare minimum intranet reporting

The bare minimum you need to be able to report on is the following:

  1. You need to know how many of your staff visit the home page each day/week/month.
  2. You need to know how many searches are done on your site each day/week/month.
  3. You need to know how many searches with no results are done each day/week/month.

Can you do this with SharePoint 2010’s built in reporting ? Yes you can. Is it easy ? No it will take some hours to get your head around the way it works. IT IS WORTH IT! One hour a week on each of these three should be more than enough.

Extra information you should know, to turn the data you get into information that adds value :

  • Number of staff total
  • Number of staff in each office / region
  • Number of staff in each group e.g. sales / HR / senior management etc

Where are the reports in SharePoint 2010 ?

The key things we’re looking for are the here Site actions -> Site settings. You’ll then see two links  Site Web Analytics Reports and Site Collection Web Analytics Reports. Either one takes you to a summary page.

Security note – If you don’t see these menu items you don’t have security rights to view the reports. Pass this link on to your IT team and they will be able to provide you access to the reports.

Confusion NOTE – At each level of your SharePoint install you can see these reports Site Collection, site, library etc. I suggest you start at the highest level OR in the site that contains your home page.

OK so you should see something like the following

Analytics sp2010 analyze tab


There are a number of pre-created reports available from the left hand menu. In my opinion they aren’t that useful, but they give you a start.

Click on the “top pages” report which should give you a list of pages that are most visited by your users. Hopefully your home page should be the top one. You’ll see a report like this

sp2010 top pages rank report

Now this report by default shows you the number of page views. What is a page view ? It is when one web browser loads a page. So one person hitting refresh for the home page 10 times in a row will rack up 10 “views”. Which in my view is a pretty pointless metric, especially if the home page of the intranet is the default site for every web browser in your organisation.

More useful is how many actual users (real people) viewed a page in a day/week/month. The number of Unique users is what you’re after, because with that you can then put it over the total number of staff you have and report that X% of staff view the intranet each day. So where is this unique visitors report ?

number daily unique visitorsAt the site collection level there is such a report “Site Collection Web Analytics Reports – Number of Daily Unique Visitors”. Great let’s take a look .

The third link down is to the report we’re interested in. I will look something like the following.

unique visitors report


OK so you can now say that (in this case) on the busiest day of the week, Thursday, 800 real people visit the intranet. Which is 80% of the 1000 staff. Good work, pat yourself on the back. Now before you report this to your boss in the hope of a pay rise. Change the Analyze tab date range, to the previous month.

analytics sp2010 menu bar

Do the same calculations , do them for the month prior to that as well. Hey why not get carried away and do it for the past year. Now you’ll have rough numbers for some time prior to now and you will be able to perceive a trend! I hope it is a good trend. You’ll also notice spikes and troughs. Think about what happened int he organisation at that time and see if that offers a suggestion that explains the trough or spike.

Now take your data and present it in a way that makes it easy to understand. Next month you only have to do the previous 30days. Lots less work and shows you’re keeping tabs on things.

OK so we’ve done our unique visitors report, and come up with a trend line. Now you can present your boss with a suggestion to improve the trend line, implement it and MEASURE the impact. You’ve also discovered the most useful day to put a news item on the home page, keep that one to yourself so that the key stuff goes on the best day and the political stuff gets pushed to the less busy days 🙂

Site collection search reports

At the site collection level , click on the “Failed queries” report

failed queries menu


When you click the menu item you should see something like the following

failed queries results

You’ll see that some of the search queries “returned no results” and some list as “100%” meaning the search was done and the person didn’t click on any of the results.

My suggestion to you is that for everyone of the “returned no results” searches that you know to be important, or at least the top 10, you add a best bet to the search results. Some of the other terms you may not know or understand. Ask around for those that keep coming up and see if you can find out; what they mean, and where the information is. Add best bets for these. Do this for 1 hour per week and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed in the intranet support you build. How to add best bets and more detail on adding best bets.

Each week I did 10 off this list, and published a news item about the ones I had added best bets for , often they were links to information in other systems (hence no results). This news item got me a huge amount of support in the organisation. So much so that I used to dig out the log files for failed searches and contact everyone who did a search that failed, find out where they got the information, then let them know when the best bet was live.


Extra delight you can bring

Run the most “top pages” report. Check all the top 10 or 20 are available from the home page. If they’re not work out how many clicks there are to get to them from the home page. Time yourself doing it. Work out roughly how many seconds each day/week/month you’ll save one person visiting each page, by getting the link on the home page. Multiply by the number of unique visitors that page gets each day/week/month. The total is the amount of time you’ll save most people if you add the link to the home page.

If you don’t have space on the home page, find out the least used links on the home page, use the numbers to support your moving of those links off the home page.

Check the most searched for terms, and make sure that there is a bestbet for each of them. You may find that they are seasonal, or have monthly swings. If so get a news item out prior to the upsurge to help with training staff so they know where to go without having to search.

Intranet analytics conclusion

My challenge to you is to find out your unique users each month (and add it to your trend information) , and add 10 best bets to your search results each month.

Let me know the outcome of this work or what you’ve already done that worked for you and your organisation



SP2010 analytics references

Intro to web analytics in SP2010

About different types of reports available in SP2010

Todd’s blog on reporting – good useful information

How to give access to the analytics reports without giving full access

Unique users report graphic

Failed queries information (annoying sound ads but some useful information)—Search-Reporting-(part-2).aspx

How to export reports to EXCEL for extra detail

How to add best bets to SP2010

More detail on adding best bets to SP2010

Intranet reporting
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8 thoughts on “Intranet reporting

  • February 25, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Dorje

    Excellent article! I couldn’t agree more with your approach. I too have observed that not many organisations provide any reporting around the intranet. Your approach above is certainly easy enough to implement and provides a worthwhile goal to aim for ie. increased use. Would be great to measure the impact that an intranet has on business outcomes but I find that many organisations put this in the ‘too hard basket’ because it’s too hard!

    Coincidentally I ran a poll recently that asked people to estimate the percentage of employees that would need to view and contribute content to the intranet on a daily basis for it to be considered ‘successful’. The results? 59.9% would need to view content daily, while 24.1% would need to contribute content daily. You can view the raw data below:

    How would you define successful intranet adoption?

    I did have a question for you. You say you need to know how many of your staff visit the home page each day/week/month. Do you mean people should choose one measurement period – say Daily for example. Or are you suggesting that people measure all three? If you are suggesting just one measurement period, what do you see as the pros and cons between measuring unique visitors per day V weekly V monthly?

    • February 25, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for commenting and your questions.

      I think digital professionals should have an idea (for the home page at least) of unique visitors for all three periods and some idea on how these vary across the year or life cycle of the organisation. For example if you are a consumer business and the bulk of your sales come in December and the bulk of your returns come in January knowing this helps you as the intranet manager provide the right information to staff.
      In my experience senior staff in any organisation have a reporting period they are used to. Matching your intranet reporting to this time frame, and if possible the format they are used to as well is valuable. If you don’t know, ask your boss what the period is and for an example of a report that they or their boss send to the top table so you can copy it. Once you’ve sent one or two up to the senior staff, corner one and ask for suggestions on ways to improve your report.

      Pros and Cons of daily/weekly/monthly reporting of unique visitors ?

      I’ll use the home page and news items to answer this question.
      Daily unique visitors to the home page isn’t going to have much meaning if everyone has the intranet home page as their browser default site. So if this is the case you need to measure unique visitors who spent 20 seconds or more on the home page. 20 seconds being long enough to read the headlines.
      If getting the unique visitors who spent more than 20 seconds on the home page, then you could measure unique users of any intranet page where the referring page is the intranet home page. This gives you a close approximation of all those who actually used the intranet on any day. The other way to remove the “default browser anomaly” is to remove the home page visits from the total number of unique visitors to the entire intranet and use that to represent the number of staff who use (rather than visit) the intranet on a daily basis.

      Using any of the strategies outlined above can then be applied to weekly or monthly measures. The key is to choose a methodology and stick with it over time so that you can demonstrate trends.

      Measuring unique visitors each week gives you a sense of how essential the intranet is to getting work done within your organisation.
      Monthly unique visitors provides benefits when you’re working at the site, collection and farm level.

      In summary the digital world makes it easy to measure stuff, making sure the stuff you measure is valuable information that can be used to help you and your organisation make decisions requires some thinking. As a start measure something! Then look for a test you can do that confirms the decision you think the data indicates. For example if you think no one looks at the home page because it is the default browser and unique user time on the home page is on average very short e.g. 5 sec. Test your idea, put a news item up that you know will engage your audience e.g. How to get a pay rise. Look at your reports, did the unique user time on the home page average go up ? If it did maybe all you need to do is make sure the news items are actually news and have good headlines, or maybe you need to begin turning the home page into the “place staff work”

      Thanks for a thought provoking question Andrew 🙂

  • March 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Dorje,

    Excellent post on how vital reporting is in implementing a successful SharePoint strategy. Your suggestions for analyzing the data and then taking these insights to turn into a strategy are right on point. Although you focused on “bare minimum” analytics in your article, I think it’s always important to look forward. That being sad, advanced analytic solutions can be particularly helpful in gathering detailed and sophisticated reports on portal activity. If you haven’t check out CardioLog Analytics, I invite you to download the solution or sign up for a demo to see what other kind of reports can be of availability to you outside basic reporting.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

    • March 2, 2015 at 2:12 am

      Hi Marlee,
      Thanks for your comment. I’d challenge you, or any other vendor of products for intranet teams, to provide use cases rather than broad statements. Looking at screen shots of Intranet portal reports on your site doesn’t show me anything that really get’s me excited. Other than the ability to group results by organisational group.
      Providing a use case for X report providing Y information that can then be acted on in Z way to produce a tangible benefit would be ideal.

      I look forward to your reply.

      • March 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

        Hi Dorje,

        Thanks for your swift reply. To answer your challenge, I can provide you with a couple items. First, if you’re a straight forward guy, I encourage you to sign up for a personal demo with us so you can really see how our solution works:

        If you’re more of a self-made guy, you can visit:
        1.) CardioLog Analytics Benefits for End Users:
        2.) CardioLog Analytics Benefits for Admins:
        3.) And finally, since you asked, Case Studies for how large enterprises have benefited from CardioLog Analytics .

        I recommend the Nordson case study, which shows how they were able to increase adoption rates thanks to CardioLog Analytics detailed reports.

        I hope this clears up any of your concerns 🙂

        • March 2, 2015 at 8:04 pm

          Thanks for all the links to your employers site.
          1 and 2 are infographics and there isn’t any detail about how the numbers were calculated or the methodology behind the conclusions. There is a comment at the bottom that they were created from responses to survey questions.
          3 has links to PDF case studies. Which are the same as those used by any large software vendor. Quotes from clients that support the product and the company, a challenge and how the product/company solved that challenge.
          The Allergan PDF contains one thing that stands out to me as the sort of thing the whole “case study” would ideally be about ‘saved money on technical journals’. That sounds like a really hard benefit.
          Now I’m not saying all benefits should be hard, many of the most valuable insights are when the human factor associated with an intranet is impacted. I am saying that the way software vendors sell their products to intranet teams needs to change.
          The Nordson PDF states at the very top “CardioLog Analytics increases newsletter readership and users by bringing portal adoption, interest, and engagement to astounding new heights.” Logically this is not possible so why state it. Installing a bit of analytics software will not change any user activity, it can’t because it isn’t visible to the user. The way the analytics information is translated into changes to the site by the intranet team is what increased the newsletter readership surely ?

          Marlee – from what I can see (and having used CardioLog back in the very early days) it is a useful tool, in the hands of someone who thinks about it and has time to test the changes in the analytics as changes in the site are made. In general I find software vendors use tactics that give the impression that their product is “The silver bullet”. This is frustrating because without training in how to use the tool much of the value it was purchased for is not taken up. This is true of most software products I have to say.

          So, I like that CardioLog provides a way to view analytics across mixed environments and into social tools like Yammer. Building solutions that do this on your own is very hard work. I like that big and small firms are endorsing your product because they find value in it. It would be great if your support site offered a way for intranet teams to upskill themselves in how to interpret the reports in CardioLog.

          A question for the community : Is anyone in NZ using CardioLog ? Let us know some of the wins you’ve had.

  • March 3, 2015 at 11:42 am


    Thanks for your comments above and continuing the dialogue. The last issue you raised regarding what reports really mean for the end user and the importance of being able to interpret them is a great point, as there is a huge difference between just staring at the dashboards that have been created, and actually gaining useful insights from them.

    That being said, we do offer consulting services for CardioLog Analytics, as well as free training. Sorry for the link (last one I promise!), but in case you’re interested, you can check it out here.

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