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Microsoft buys ‘people analytics’ startup VoloMetrix

September 3, 2015, 7:19 PM UTC

Employee productivity is one of those topics any manager could debate for hours. Over the past several years, several startups have emerged to help quantify those arguments. Microsoft (MSFT) just bought one of the most visible ones, Seattle-based VoloMetrix.

The startup, which raised $17 million in funding before its exit, counts several dozen large companies as customers including Boeing, Facebook, Genentech, Qualcomm, Seagate, and Symantec.

The VoloMetrix platform uses data about an employee’s email habits and electronic calendar to provide a view into productivity trends across a company. Too many meetings, for example, could prevent teams from getting real work done.

In a blog post about the acquisition, Microsoft corporate vice president Rajesh Jha said the technology will become part of his company’s forthcoming organizational analytics offering, called Delve, which will be available for preview in October. Eventually, the service will become part of Office 365, which Jha oversees.

He writes:

Even small improvements in a person’s day-to-day effectiveness can add up to significant value for an organization and greater employee happiness. … Giving people access to real data and objective, personalized feedback can lead to a virtuous cycle of improvement for both individuals and their company.

Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. In his own blog about the deal, VoloMetrix co-founder and CEO Ryan Fuller hinted about several forthcoming updates. Becoming part of Microsoft will allow the team to scale far more quickly than previously possible. “Microsoft has a huge vision to reinvent productivity and a set of assets in Office 365 that are fundamental to how work gets done,” Fuller said.

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