Ben EubanksGuest Author

Microsoft Ignite: Creating Smarter Meetings and People Analytics

By Ben Eubanks

This week I’m attending the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta, and I was pretty amazed this morning to see some of the stuff coming down the line on the technology side. (More on why I’m attending an IT conference here.)

Microsoft bought LinkedIn earlier this year for $26 billion. At the time, many in the HR technology world made some observations and guesses about what might be coming down the line, and it’s still early to tell exactly how that will play out. However, the announcements at the opening keynote pointed to some amazing new tools that companies can leverage to improve the people side of the business.

Edit: after this was published I saw LinkedIn’s data integrated into Microsoft’s Cortana, an AI-driven assistant tool, to help users stay in contact with people in a business scenario. There’s one example of the Microsoft/LinkedIn integration at work.

Real People Analytics

One of the pieces of Office365 that was particularly appealing was MyAnalytics, which includes the ability to analyze individuals and their productivity metrics. Because of connections into email, calendar, and document management applications, users will have individual dashboards explaining how much time they spend on these types of activities:

  • Total meeting time
  • Total time spent on email management
  • Time spent working outside of normal working hours (work/life balance data)
  • Time spent multitasking during meetings (and whether that was “good” or “bad” multitasking)

This is pretty powerful, because companies want their people to be innovative and to drive value. One of the technology leaders at Tyco International mentioned during the keynote that he wanted his people “to operate with the mindset of a startup.”

This is a pretty classic case of hoping for “A” while encouraging “B.” We force employees to spend time in meetings, manage masses of email, and generally be unproductive. I believe this sort of insight will help companies to see how people are spending time and

The cynics might say that companies will be able to see who is important (or not) by looking at how “busy” they are in meetings or within email. But I subscribe to the belief of Henry Ford.

While we can’t track what people are thinking (yet), we can see the results of their work and hold them accountable for that. It’s exciting to think about how companies can leverage this data create the right environment for their best and brightest to create value for the business.


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