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Microsoft's acquisition of people analytics company VoloMetrix Inc. is expected to help enterprises using Office 365 wring more productivity from sales teams.
The software maker said last week that the algorithms developed by Seattle-based VoloMetrix would be used to draw intelligence from Office 365 email and calendar data. Such information could then be used to boost worker productivity.
Thousands of corporations have deployed data analytics to improve productivity, but measuring the effectiveness of such technology is difficult. "Rarely do companies say that they're getting sales efficiencies or sales effectiveness from these solutions," said Tad Travis, analyst at Gartner Inc., based in Stamford, Conn.
VoloMetrix is expected to be an exception, because it will draw logic from the unique data stored in Office 365, the most widely used office productivity suite. "VoloMetrix, in particular, is going to improve efficiency and effectiveness, because it's surfacing entirely new insights that the organization would have a very difficult time compositing without this sort of automated solution," Travis said.
Tad Travisanalyst, Gartner
Deeper access to Office 365 data and the benefit of Microsoft's Office Graph, an application that tabulates and displays information trending within a company, will let VoloMetrix build more "robust data models," said a Microsoft spokesperson. VoloMetrix technology will also be used eventually to draw intelligence from data collected in Dynamics, Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) software.
"VoloMetrix is one of the earliest companies I've seen that is building a turnkey big data solution for building a business graph for sales processes," Travis said.
VoloMetrix could also help Microsoft reverse the diminishing value of email, which is being threatened by next-generation collaboration platforms that combine instant messaging, social networking and video conferencing, explained Robert Arnold, analyst with Frost & Sullivan, based in Mountain View, Calif.
"The acquisition helps Microsoft add value to email, so that organizations have more reason to keep using it," Arnold said.
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