On Wednesday, Microsoft announced the general availability of Workplace Analytics, a new tool aimed at improving employee productivity in customer organizations. Announced via a blog post, the new solution offers “unprecedented behavioral insights” that can be used to help understand how work is being done in certain fields.

Workplace Analytics can be added onto any Office 365 enterprise plan. It looks at metadata from an organization’s email and calendar in Office 365 in an effort to provide insights into how employees spend time and get work done, the post said. The data is de-identified to protect each user’s privacy.

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In the post, Microsoft detailed some of the ways that the solution could be used to improve productivity. In one example, a company used the solution to identify characteristics and patterns of their top sales performer, and used that information to help their other salespeople close more deals.

Managers can benefit from Workplace Analytics as well, the post said. To keep employees more engaged and improve retention rates, Freddie Mac leveraged insights to provide better access to leadership, to better distribute work, and more, the post said.

In another example, real estate company CBRE was able to lower their travel time for meetings by 46%, saving time and money.

Within the Workplace Analytics tool, users can create their own queries to generate specific insights for their organization. Data analysts choose from a given set of metrics, trends, and filters to accomplish this.

Tom Springer, a partner at Bain, said in the post that Workplace Analytics shows his firm “where and how our clients are deploying their scarcest resources: the time, talent and energy of their people. Workplace Analytics consistently yields unique insights into resource allocation, collaboration behaviors and organizational networks.”

Microsoft Workplace Analytics is generally available now. More information can be found here.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Microsoft announced the general availability of Workplace Analytics, a new solution that uses data analytics to improve worker productivity.
  2. Using certain metadata, Workplace Analytics can provide insight into how employees are spending their time and what they are working on.
  3. Users can also create custom queries, gaining unique insights for their business use case.