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Microsoft Bolsters Office 365 Analytics with VoloMetrix Buy

Microsoft has acquired organizational analytics software maker VoloMetrix for an undisclosed amount, the company announced on Thursday.

Founded in 2011, Seattle-based VoloMetrix makes software that taps into information about employee and team relationships in organizations. It also tracks the time employees spend using applications, such as e-mail, as well as time spent in meetings. It uses metadata from servers, such as a messaging server, to show graphs of organizational activity. The software works either as a service or on-premises, using an organization's servers.

Microsoft is making the purchase specifically to integrate VoloMetrix's solutions into the Microsoft Delve product, which also surfaces employee activity, based on Office 365 application use. Specifically, VoloMetrix's technology will be part of Microsoft's emerging Delve Organizational Analytics solution, according to Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president for Outlook and Office 365.

Microsoft first unveiled Delve Organizational Analytics at its May Ignite conference. Company officials haven't said much about this developing product since that time, but it was described as using Office 365 data within an organization to show a dashboard of trends, including "engagement, reach and work-life balance across individuals' interactions within their organization and with external teams."

Microsoft plans to launch an early preview of Delve Organizational Analytics "within the next month," according to Jha. It will get launched as part of Office 365 services "by the end of this calendar year," he added.

VoloMetrix's software uses aggregated communications data with the idea of improving efficiency. Ratcheting up efficiency is a common business notion with roots in industrial time-and-motion studies, except that it's being applied to internal corporate communications in this case. Users of VoloMetrix's software can see their personal activity in a dashboard view, which then gets compared alongside a graph of the group's activity. The employee can use the software to set goals against the graphed information. The main notion behind the software is that the time spent reviewing the time spent on activities can help employees improve their efficiency, and it can be used by managers to assess group efficiency.

VoloMetrix claims in its privacy policy that the metadata collected using its software get anonymized. The software uses "a machine learning algorithm" to filter out personal information, such as personal activities marked in an employee's calendar.

VoloMetrix currently serves Fortune 100 companies. It pioneered a new market in the organizational analytics space and plans to continue that work with Microsoft, according to an announcement by Ryan Fuller, VoloMetrix's CEO and co-founder.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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