For decades, even before the age of the cloud or even of computers, people would look up at the clock and ask, “Where did the day go?” Sooner or later they would have to sit across from their manager and answer the same types of questions: “What are you doing with your time? Where are we making money? Who is costing us money? What is your department actually doing?” Such questions strike fear into all hard-working people especially when they do not have the answers.
But in an age where business moves by the second, and trends come and go with lightning speed, there is no time left to reflect and strategize once per quarter or once per year. Data is needed now, and the feed must be permanent.
The Art of War was written by Sun Tzu over two thousand years ago as a treatise on military strategy, and it has thrived in recent times as a manual for business strategy. One of its many pieces of wisdom is that every battle is won or lost before it is even begun, since a general must be aware not only of the strengths and weaknesses of his/her own army but also those of the enemy and of the battlefield itself. This is the call that Volometrix seeks to answer.
Their application extracts collaboration data such as email headers and calendars and merges the information to an organizational chart which draws an accurate picture of what an organization is focused on – from high-level to granular. In short, it calculates the connectedness between people, teams and tasks in a cross-functional way.
As Volometrix founder and CEO Ryan Fuller puts it, “incremental productivity gains aren’t enough to drive true innovation in today’s rapidly-evolving enterprise…CIO’s are challenged to reallocate resources to fuel real business growth.” What this means in practical terms is that certain vendors might be sucking up too much time or money from a department; or maybe they have too many points of contact within a company; or perhaps a team is spending too much time hand-holding a particular client while others go neglected. With continually increasing demand on people’s time and attention, it is very difficult to keep an eye on what is most important and where real improvements can be made. For that you need to get up out of the trenches and take a higher perspective.
The Volometrix solution appears as the missing link between the individual calendars and ToDo lists on employees’ computers and the strategic plans and financial projections in the corner office. This is the thousand-foot perspective that reveals the peaks, valleys, pitfalls and opportunities that no-one has the time to deduce on their own. As Fuller puts it, “Our analytics solution delivers actionable insights for senior IT managers, allowing them to diagnose inefficiencies and align their teams with the most important business priorities at the organization.”
In terms of privacy, Fuller is careful to stress that the VoloMetrix solution aggregates and analyzes anonymous communication and collaboration data to unlock vital information that already exists on the corporate network. By synthesizing the data residing in internal email, calendar, social network, and instant messaging applications, VoloMetrix creates highly visual ‘maps’ showing where IT services are allocated. In this age of heightened sensitivity towards discreet surveillance of emails and phone calls, Volometrix records only overall traffic patterns to help, for example, identify which business groups are using the most IT resources, and where the true costs, in people and dollars are happening.
Fuller states, “For the CIO who is trying to be a strategic enabler for the entire business, this is a fantastic opportunity to get more value out of our data.”
Volometrix is a web based app. It offers a series of dashboard charts and metrics, at organizational, manager and individual levels, and seeks in each case to extract clarity from the complexity of modern-day business.
“In a word,” Fuller says, “it’s about insights. Employees love getting this data. It is empowering to be able to go to a manager and observe what is happening with a department, and to ask that manager straight up, based on this data, which task should I be prioritizing as number one? Which should I be saying no to?
In an age where information overload has created gaps between people and had undermined their personal ability to both prioritize and communicate, the Volumetrix solution appears to offer a vital bridge.
By Steve Prentice