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Microsoft acquires quantified-work innovator Volometrix

Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Volometrix, an innovative quantified work technology company. The company can tap into the work graph information latent in email and document repositories to gain critical insights into operations.

The social graph below was generated by computerized email analysis across a company and analyzing the communication between the folks in various departments and their partners and customers.

I wrote about Volometrix several times in the recent past, including this December piece on the company’s series B round (see Culture-management tool VoloMetrix raises $12M in Series B). In my report on vizualizing work (see Visualizing Work: New Ways to Map How Businesses Operate), I explored the value of tools like Volometrix to help leaders gain strategic insight to what’s going on in the white space on the organization chart, writing:

The future of work is providing the ability to shift from one end of that dimension to the other, as needed, and to mine all the work artifacts available—documents, messages, chat, images, and so on—to get work done at the individual level and to understand the status of work at any level of abstraction, for example, in the C-suite.

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Companies such as VoloMetrix, Microsoft, IBM, and Smartsheet are taking quite different paths, but are building on analysis and visualization of the work graph to help drive strategic insight.

Microsoft must have seen the synergies of Volometrix’ approach, since they are now working to incorporate that technology into Delve in future iterations of Office 365, which was also featured in the Visualizing Work report.  I concluded that report

In the near future, we will see a growing demand for the visualization of work, and most specifically, the emergence of the work graph as the central motif in our perception of work on a social level. Its strengths are based on the intuitive nature of the work graph, and the mathematical rigor that underlies social network analysis. Plus the connections between people and the artifacts that they work with lead to contextually relevant collaboration, which is going to be a massive trend over the next few years, and which is driven by exploiting the work graph at a foundational level.

With this acquisition, Microsoft has positioned itself squarely as an innovative leader in this trend space.