Collaboration analytics: Yes, you can track employees. Should you?

From email to video meetings and team chat, collaboration applications have become vital tools to connect workers. And by giving companies the tools to track employee use of these apps, software vendors can provide insights into working patterns and help organizations better understand how they operate.

The ability to view analytics data in collaboration and productivity software is not new; such products have long provided admins with a snapshot of app utilization. Typically aimed at gauging user uptake and tracking deployment progress, these metrics were otherwise limited in their wider business use.

Recently, however, software vendors have begun to add more sophisticated analytics that shine a light on broader organizational working patterns and trends.

“The big shift happening now is from adoption analytics to thinking about employee experience more broadly,” said Angela Ashenden, a principal analyst at CCS Insight. “You start to build organizational and HR metrics into the analytics framework; it goes beyond just adoption to being much more about business enablement.”

Vendors point to numerous benefits, including the ability to identify communication bottlenecks between departments, boost workforce productivity, and improve employee well-being. At the same, the use of employee analytics has proved controversial, with concerns about employee monitoring pushing software vendors to try and strike a balance between serving businesses data insights and protecting individuals’ privacy.

Though some industry watchers question the usefulness of employee collaboration metrics, noting limitations related to tracking a single vendor’s products or applying the same measures across different teams, the allure of analytics tools is strong. That’s especially true because they’re typically included with the vendors’ business and enterprise plans.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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