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I've seen articles on passively measuring and optimizing professional communication that appear to lead me to believe that such systems are both of value, and that people are okay with them being in place. MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory has published a number of papers on the subject, though I don't recall seeing any opensource software that would enable such a system that would integrate with common communication tools in a virtual office. I have found one company that offers service related to Sociometric Analytics, though unable to find any opensource software by them; company also appears to be using MIT's "Sociometric Badges". Any suggestions?

(If it's not clear, the basic function of such a system is to passively observe/report on how/who/when/why people communicate, how those measurements match up to other performance data/events/outcomes, and make suggestions on where changes might add value, or reduce lose. Also, by passively, I mean that this would be done in an automated way that would not change the current way things are accomplished.)

EXAMPLE-ADDED: A simple example of the concept would be a call center that uses speech recognition convert speech-to-text, then IDs the speaker, then uses natural language processing software to understand the nature of the dialogs between people as they relate to outcomes the business and customer need relative to the comes achieved by others in the past that took part in a dialog to achieve an outcome of similar nature.

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Probably not to the point of your question but might be useful: I have found so far the quantity of communication (until a goal is met) to be the best measure for communication effectiveness, no matter in a virtual or physical office. More communication means that more corrections, more clarifications, more arguments, more instructions, etc have been necessary.

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Could this not be done with a combined effort of Microsoft Project, Sharepoint, and Office Communicator(Lync)?

Project to measure tasks and task completion, Sharepoint as a communication point as well as having Office Communicator integrated so that via Sharepoint site and IM you could see when a particular person was available as well as an actual effective communication area to work in.

  • Unless I've misunderstood the meaning of your answer, it's really not ontopic or relevant to the question in my opinion. A simple example of the concept would be a call center that uses speech recognition convert speech-to-text, then IDs the speaker, then uses natural language processing software to understand the nature of the dialogs between people as they relate to outcomes the business and customer need relative to the comes achieved by others in the past that took part in a dialog to achieve an outcome of similar nature. Also, by passive, I mean automated, not manual analysis. – blunders Apr 30 '12 at 12:41
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    Maybe I'm misunderstanding then, or maybe it's because it's 9am. Most ticketing systems can be setup with automated reporting via something like Crystal Reports or a BIRT server that would allow you to assess the nature of the call and the most related resolution for the issue. – SQLSavant Apr 30 '12 at 14:10
  • +1 @cloyd800: True, such a system requires the reps to manually code the calls, to know how to code them, and will not code emergent patterns that occur in the dialogs. That said, it's more of an example, since what I'm talking about would include the dialog that happens between the reps, their managers, service-tech, ceo, etc. – blunders Apr 30 '12 at 14:34
  • It could possibly be setup. If calls were recorded, there are automated transcription applications that could do the labor for you in getting it to a text format. That being said, depending on the type of environment, in which most of the time it's different for every company, I could only see the reporting of everything like that happening if it was custom built for the environment itself. Reporting and Monitoring is usually generalized, and should be used as a guide and not a bible - getting that specific I believe would be detrimental. In that it would make managers less useful (chuckle) – SQLSavant Apr 30 '12 at 15:13

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