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Have you tried our Pivot Reports yet? Here's another reason to clean up your Azure AD

7 Oct 2016 by Emma Robinson

The week before Ignite, we released a number of features including five new pivot reports, each providing powerful ways to manipulate your Office 365 data to get just the information you need. We’ve had great feedback on our new pivots, and it’s always interesting to hear the unique ways that our customers are using them.
One factor that can compromise the performance of pivot reports for your organisation (as well as being something that can be detrimental to your Office 365 environment) is a cluttered, inaccurate or incomplete Azure AD. Let’s look at why.
The new Pivot reports make it possible to see vast amounts of data grouped together by multiple attributes simultaneously. You can group them, count them, create totals, and drill into your information, making it possible to do detailed comparisons on large or expansive data sets. However, this information is taken directly from your Azure AD – and if it isn’t consistent or well-maintained, it’s likely that you will see some inconsistencies or duplicate attributes displayed in your pivot reports.
This means that it could look a little like this:
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As you can see, there are two ‘EMPTY’ fields, which means that these areas have not been populated correctly in Azure AD. In one of the ‘EMPTY’ fields, there is also a duplicate  ‘London’ office with 7 users who should be placed in the original ‘London’ location above (with 48 users). These inconsistencies mean that if you needed to get a total for the users in the London Office and find out their licence information, you would need to ensure that you identified and added the 7 people who have been misattributed to the other 48 users shown. Unfortunately, this would have to be done manually, as the pivot report cannot reconcile these two attributes automatically as they are separate in Azure AD. End result: it isn’t possible to get a neat, accurate list of locations and licences, and it leaves you at risk of omitting users or details that are not immediately visible or in the ‘right place’.
What can you do? 
Cleaning up your Azure AD can be a big job – but better, more accurate pivots reports are not the only reason to do it. As we covered in a previous blog ‘Why you need to clean up your Azure AD‘, there are a whole host of reasons why you should try to maintain your Azure AD as best as you can – and they’re important. Office 365 provides your users with mobility and multi-device access, if they struggle to log in due to authentication problems (which can be caused by Azure AD problems), then neither your users nor your organisation are getting the value that they need from the platform.
You could even use the pivot reports as a place to start in your search for Azure AD inconsistencies, perhaps you have an incorrect spelling for a location, or you have offices attributed to ‘UK’, ‘GB’, ‘United Kingdom’, and ‘Britain’ that should all be listed under a single attribute. It’s easily done, during the development time for these features, we certainly noticed all of the areas that we needed to take a look at!
Once you’re all cleaned up, if you use the pivot reports regularly to track licence charge-backs, adoption, mail traffic (or any of the other numerous uses), then you can simultaneously keep on top of your Azure AD, by verifying that all of your attributes remain consistent, populated and up to date.
If you haven’t tried Cogmotive Reports yet, why not sign up for a free 14-day trial, and see what detailed, automated, powerful Office 365 reporting could show you.
Cogmotive is the leading global provider of enterprise level reporting and analytics applications for Office 365. Find out more now.