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Microsoft has announced that it is to acquire VoloMetrix, a provider of organizational analytics technology. VoloMetrix provides large businesses and institutions with organizational insights by applying advanced analytics and data-mining techniques to anonymized information gathered from corporate email and calendaring systems, such as Microsoft Exchange. This acquisition will bolster Microsoft Office Delve, the Office 365 component that helps business users discover timely and pertinent information.

"Knowledge is of two kinds: We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it"

Despite significant investments in enterprise social networks, intranets, CRM systems, and enterprise collaboration platforms, most employees still engage, communicate, and collaborate via the corporate email system. A ubiquitous and universal technology, email has the greatest reach and range of any "social network," and its use is deeply ingrained in the corporate cultures of large, established organizations.

Most corporate email systems are anything but "corporate" in the communal sense of the word. Every mailbox has an owner, and most owners consider the information stored within their mailbox to be private, even though the messages within it are mostly work related. This notion of mailbox privacy continues to impede the progress of knowledge management within enterprises, and actually increases the number of email messages each of us receives each day from colleagues asking "do you know where I can find…" types of question.

Initiatives to banish internal email have seen very limited success. This provides opportunities for companies such as IBM (Watson Analytics), VoloMetrix, and Morphix (MetaSight) to apply their big data, advanced analytics, and business transformation know-how to the challenge of extracting organizational insight and intelligence from the thousands of email messages and meeting invites that flow through corporate email systems every day.

As organizations grow, their complexity tends to increase. This complexity can impede knowledge-based business processes and collaborative activities, resulting in reduced productivity and low levels of employee engagement. The net effect is diminished growth, increased operational costs, and business stall. What company would not want to avoid this scenario? The business value of organizational analytics increases with the size of the company, so there is likely to be real appeal here for large enterprises.

The VoloMetrix team is led by business intelligence, data science, and enterprise analytics experts, so their own experiences, knowledge, and know-how will bolster the promising potential of Delve and enable Microsoft to offer Office 365 customers better insights into how employee behaviors determine business outcomes.



Richard Edwards, Principal Research Analyst, Enterprise Productivity & Mobility

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