Microsoft Analytics Aims to Analyze Worker Habits, Point to More Productivity Microsoft

Microsoft Analytics Aims to Analyze Worker Habits, Point to More Productivity

Get ready for your calendars, email habits and to-do lists to be analyzed. Microsoft Workplace Analytics is now available for Office 365 enterprise customers -- and that means anyone who uses Office 365 at work could find themselves on the receiving end of electronic nudges for improving their job performance.

Here's what Microsoft Workplace Analytics does:

Workplace Analytics taps into Office 365 email and calendar metadata, including to/from data, subject lines and timestamps, to shine a light on how the organization collaborates and spends time. It turns this digital exhaust—the data that comes naturally from our everyday work—into a set of behavioral metrics that can be used to understand what’s going on in an organization.

What this means for you as a user is this: A life with fewer meetings. Seriously -- when we met with the Microsoft Analytics team last fall, one of the features they demo'd was the ability to analyze the Outlook schedules for everyone on a team, see which members were attending the same meetings, then send nudges to a few team members suggesting that maybe not everyone has to be at every meeting.

In other words, one team member goes to the 10 a.m. project progress meeting, one goes to the 11 a.m. design meeting, and they email each other notes to make sure everyone's clear on everything.

This also means that how you do your job is up for analysis. Microsoft Analytics offers enterprise customers the ability to build and run queries within the Workplace Analytics product, then visualize data trends via PowerBI dashboards. A use case put forth by Microsoft this morning gives the example of a sales group in a Fortune 500 organization, where several metrics where analyzed -- including how often individual salespeople spent with different clients, how robust their internal network was with other colleagues -- in order to make suggestions about how people could change their behavior to improve sales. A second case study drew direct lines between one-on-one manager attention and employee retention.

Your behavior at work generates data, and if that data points to results that aren't working for your organization, you'll be prompted to change your behavior. 

If you're a worker, privacy concerns are understandable. Few workers would be thrilled if their boss called them in and said, "You're spending 33% more time on email relative to other people at your level in the organization. Stop that."

However, being able to collect and manage the data that shows how people are managing their time can help organizations diagnose what time-wasting behaviors they may be perpetuating. And it can help good managers and their employees talk about what specific work habits and practices are highly individual and which ones are universal.

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