IBM is rolling out a new data-analytics package designed to make workplaces more efficient and minimize the number of departing employees. The platform consolidates data from corporate surveys, performance reviews, social-media postings, and other internal sources. IBM claims the resulting analytics can give managers a view into how employees feel about a new policy, for example, or why morale is flagging near the end of a particular quarter. Merging information shared between employees with data from Human Resources can create a fuller picture of how well a particular company’s gears are turning—at least in theory. The platform’s elements include IBM Survey Analytics services, which relies on text and visual-analytics software to extract anonymous unstructured data from employee surveys; it also incorporates Human Resources data (subdivided by employee demographics) into a “heat map” of relevant employee trends, such as increased engagement. The other element is IBM Retention Analytics services, which leverages predictive-analytics software against Human Resources, CRM and social data. IBM claims this software can determine the causes behind employee departures, and suggest actions in order to retain that talent. "Knowing what motivates people can boil down to the data you capture and how you interpret it,” Dr. Bob Sutor, vice president of IBM Research’s Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences, wrote in a statement. Some of the assets for IBM’s new analytics platform derive from its 2012 acquisition of Kenexa, a recruitment and talent-management firm; Kenexa’s cloud-based services included performance management and employee surveys, as well as a “social solution” that allowed businesses to scour social networks in search of potential job candidates. At the time, the $1.3 billion acquisition was seen as a way for IBM to counter SAP, which had spent $3.4 billion on human-resources management firm SuccessFactors in December 2011, as well as other IT firms snatching up startups in the talent-and-careers space. It was widely assumed that IBM would use its own data-mining software to make Kenexa’s reporting and analytics portfolio more powerful—something borne out by this latest announcement.   Image: Stokkete/