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How the quantified-self will redefine the future of the enterprise

Ryan Fuller

December 14, 2016

The last several years have marked the rise of the Internet of Things and Big Data.

These trends enabled individuals to gain unprecedented insights into their own daily behaviors through self-quantification technologies, ultimately empowering them to make healthier daily decisions. But self-quantification technologies won’t only allow us to control our waistlines—they’re also poised to help us reclaim our most valuable resource: time.

With this influx of technologies in our daily lives, the line between work and home-life is increasingly blurred, placing competing demands on our time and making it seemingly impossible for people to have any time for themselves. Ironically, technology itself is what will help us regain our time.

RECLAIMING TIME WITH DATA, VISIBILITY AND ANALYTICS

Today and beyond, the self-quantification trend will evolve beyond physical health to encompass all aspects of people’s daily lives—including time spent at work. Just as individual consumers have embraced wellness self-quantification data, including minutes spent moving and calories consumed, employees will embrace technologies, such as people analytics, at work to better inform individual and team performance trends.

The data gleaned through feedback and people analytics technologies will provide unprecedented insights around workplace habits, including time spent in email, collaborating with others, walking to meetings and even chatting with coworkers, sensed through near-field communications and micro transmitters. Personal dashboards can report on employees’ daily activities and provide feedback loops that empower individual employees, departments and companies to improve performance and efficiency.

External studies support the prediction, with a report published recently by the World Economic Forum suggesting that increased connectivity through new technologies and big data could result in $14.4 trillion of added value across global industries. These commercial gains are driven by the opportunity for improvements in employee productivity, asset utilization and innovation.

EXTRAORDINARY INSIGHT INTO HOW TIME IS INVESTED

People analytics and daily performance feedback technologies will essentially transform how organizations understand time investment and forecast performance. With data collected from these technologies, businesses can begin predicting employee performance and attrition based on their own internal data.

For example, an employee’s time spent in one-on-one meetings with a manager is highly correlated with outstanding sales performance. Using their own internal data, companies are capable of predicting a salesperson’s quota attainment based on time spent with management and other network characteristics. Furthermore, a salesperson can benchmark her own networking and collaboration behaviors using a personalized performance dashboard and course-correct before the quarter’s end.

IMPROVING THE WAY WORK WORKS

Just as consumer self-quantification technologies empower individuals to make healthier decisions, data assembled by people analytics technologies allows both individual employees and entire enterprises to invest time more strategically and predict overall performance based on real-time data. While many enterprises already use big data technologies externally, the workplace of the future will apply these analytics internally.

People’s fascination with their own data is seemingly insatiable. As emerging technologies empower individuals to make healthier daily decisions, people analytics and big data will help employees invest their time in ways that propel individual performance forward and drive business outcomes. In the future, the workplace will be the next frontier for self-performance technologies.

Ryan Fuller

Ryan Fuller was the CEO and co-founder of VoloMetrix, a leading people analytics company acquired by Microsoft in 2015. Within Microsoft, Ryan leads a business unit focused on making organizational analytics capabilities broadly available. Previously he was a management consultant at Bain & Company.