Microsoft Corp. launched a new tool to its Office 365 enterprise plan this week called Workplace Analytics, giving managers one more way to measure the productivity of their workforce.

Workplace Analytics is fed by data streams from Office 365’s email and calendar apps. It ingests sender data, subject lines, and time stamps; and then spits out a set of behavioural metrics. The dashboard offers views such as “Week in the life,” “Meetings overview,” “Management and coaching,” “Networks and collaboration.”

Microsoft says that it won’t be spying on your employees with all this user data. Customers own their Office 365 data and all the meta-data collected is aggregated from the entire company and stripped of identification.

In a blog post on Microsoft’s Office.com website, Ryan Fuller, general manager of workplace analytics, Microsoft, details some ways early customers have used the new product (some brands named are J.D. Power, Hershey’s, Macy’s, Gallup, Paypal, Johson & Johnson.)

  • A Fortune 500 sales organization identified collaborative patterns of its top sellers and trained the rest of the team to follow those behaviours. This boosted sales. (By the way, top indicators of effective sellers were: time spent with customers, size of internal network.)
  • Freddie Mac linked management behaviour to employee engagement and retention.
  • Real estate firm CBRE used data from employee calendar items to calculate travel time associated with meetings, and determined where to locate a new office space based on that information.

Customers can conduct customized queries with the application, selecting from different metric sets to try and illuminate trends. Metrics available include:

  • Time spent in email
  • Time spent in meetings
  • After-hours time
  • Network size
  • Filtered data sets by region, role, and function

Workplace Analytics is available as an add-on to any Office 365 Enterprise plan as of July 6. No price is listed by Microsoft.

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