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Microsoft Acquires VoloMetrix To Apply Big Data to Worker Productivity

Microsoft Acquires VoloMetrix To Apply Big Data to Worker Productivity

Organizations across industries are constantly seeking ways to make their workers more efficient and productive, but it’s often hard for them to access the type of information about the day-to-day doings of their employees to make this happen.

Enter the emerging organizational analytics field to help solve this dilemma. This type of technology analyzes employee e-mail, meeting schedules and other work data to create relationships and opportunities for worker collaboration for more efficiency. Now it has a chance to go more mainstream with Microsoft’s recent purchase of one of the pioneers in the field — Seattle-based startup VoloMetrix.

Microsoft plans to integrate Volometrix’s analytics solution into its Office 365 suite, said Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president of Outlook and Office 365 and the company’s recently announced Delve Organizational Analytics, in a blog post on Microsoft’s website.

Jha compared organizational analytics to fitness trackers that help people understand health in their personal lives by analyzing personal data and their level of fitness activity. It’s been traditionally difficult to make sense of employee activity and behavioral data to provide similar insight in a workplace scenario, but technology like what VoloMetrix provides can now do that, he said.

“Giving people access to real data and objective, personalized feedback can lead to a virtuous cycle of improvement for both individuals and their company, “he wrote.

Specifically, VoloMetrix extracts and analyzes anonymous, aggregated header-level data from corporate communication systems without compromising employee privacy, according to the company’s website .

Using this data, companies can glean insight into the subject, timing and format of employee collaboration, as well has understand the role and geographic location of the individuals involved. Companies then can provide a holistic map of their communication and collaboration behavior to help make workers more efficient and productive, according to VoloMetrix.

Ryan Fuller, CEO and co-founder of VoloMetrix, said in a blog post that he and VoloMetrix’s co-founders started the company four-and-a-half years ago with the goal of transforming worker productivity through data, transparency, and feedback loops. In the time since, the company has had the opportunity to work with numerous Global 2000 companies to prove that the science of organizational analytics can make companies as a whole and the individuals within them more efficient.

Acquisition with Microsoft will help VoloMetrix bring its solution to the masses, he said. “Our work with customers makes it clear that there are massive opportunities to improve the experience of going to work as well as drive double-digit improvements in organizational productivity,” Fuller wrote. “By joining [Microsoft] we will be able to continue to pursue our shared mission and have impact at a staggering global scale.”

Microsoft did not disclose the financial terms of the deal with VoloMetrix. The company plans to launch an early preview program for Delve Organizational Analytics within the next month, and general availability of the first release of the integrated Office 365 service by the end of the year, Jha said.

Do you think this sort of "people analytics," applying Big Data to worker productivity would have an impact at your office? Share your opinion in the comments.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

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