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How social analytics can improve enterprise IT efficiency

Sharon Florentine | Sept. 2, 2013
VoloMetrix's enterprise analytics technology uses social engineering to let CIOs quickly identify bottlenecks and pain points in their organization. Using that data, they can better allocate time, energy and resources. The only catch is they have to mine employees email to get that data.

Though it looks like a piece of abstract art, this enterprise sociograph is actually showing concrete connections and collaborations between employees. Each color represents an initiative, vendor or customer. And each line represents an instance of employee engagement with that particular initiative, vendor or customer.

VoloMetrix is designed to let managers and decision makers customize an organizational chart, strategic initiatives and customers to provide a unique, custom-tailored, weekly or monthly report that details how much time employees are spending in meetings, handling customers, dealing with administrative processes, Fuller says. "It's a way to see how many employees are engaging with each customer, and how much time each vendor, project or initiative is taking from your organization to make sure they're not either getting shortchanged or you're not going overboard."

Another Hit on Privacy?
As far as user privacy and confidentiality, VoloMetrix pulls only header-level data, not attachments, email content, contact names, specific calendar data, Fuller says. Privacy and confidentiality policies vary from customer to customer and even from country to country, but the bottom line is that the data streams used are completely anonymous.

"Conspiracy theorists and the uber-paranoid folks will always latch onto the issues of privacy and assert that they're always against this sort of thing," says O'Donnell. "They'll say, sure, the powers-that-be will tell you 'We're not actually reading your email,' but how do you know they aren't actually reading your email?'" O'Donnell said.

In fact, there's no legal expectation of privacy when dealing with corporate data from company owned systems like email, he says.

Fuller says that the solution is less about individual actions than it is a way to aggregate data to better view 'bigger picture' issues.

In fact, in many of VoloMetrix customers' deployments, Fuller says the product has opened the door for managers to better address employee concerns and to better distribute workloads, increasing productivity. (Fuller says VoloMetrix currently has eight-to-10 "very well-known, large, global enterprise customers." However, he added, they do not want to be named.)

Giving Insight Back to Employees
"We found that many CIOs and managers wanted to take this data and give it right back to their employees so they could see where their time and energy is going, and where the distractions, the obstacles to productivity were coming from," Fuller says.

The reports can quickly identify where bottlenecks and pain points are in an organization, and can actually empower employees — especially junior employees — to better their situations, he says.

"The more junior you are, the less control you have over where your time goes. Without hard data to back up your complaints, let's face it, often times, it's just brushed off as an employee whining," Fuller says. "But with these kinds of reports, employees can say, 'Look, I really am being pulled in a billion different directions, and let's figure out how to address that so I can be more productive and have better relationships.' It can be very empowering."

 

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