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Q&A with Ryan Fuller

Future of Work & People Analytics Guru Joins Ambit as Adviser

Ryan Fuller is the Corporate Vice President of Workplace Analytics & MyAnalytics. He is responsible for leading Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics business aimed at leveraging behavioral data derived from the M365 Graph to reinvent productivity for individuals, managers, and organizations.

Ryan Fuller is Corporate Vice President, Workplace Analytics & MyAnalytics. He is responsible for leading Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics business aimed at leveraging behavioral data derived from the M365 Graph to reinvent productivity for individuals, managers, and organizations.

Can you tell us about yourself?

I have been helping companies make data-driven decisions for 20 years as an engineer, entrepreneur, CEO and strategic advisor. My company VoloMetrix was acquired by Microsoft in 2015 and I currently serve as CVP of MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics, two revolutionary products that comprise a new organizational intelligence category at Microsoft.

As CEO and co-founder of VoloMetrix and now at Microsoft, I believe that people are a company’s greatest asset. MyAnalytics empowers employees to better take control of their time at work while Workplace Analytics helps organizations explicitly measure and tie employee behaviors to business outcomes.
Analytics have been an integral part of my professional life as a former management consultant, a software engineer and a solutions architect. Prior to VoloMetrix, I spent ~5 years at Bain & Company advising executives on some of their most challenging strategic and operational issues. Before that, I spent years building and designing enterprise software products, running product teams, and selling business intelligence solutions. I was a Solutions Architect at Cognos and previously led product teams in two early stage start-ups focused on business analytics.
In addition to leading the product group at Microsoft, I am a frequent author for the Harvard Business Review and regularly keynote at global events on People Analytics, AI, and the Future of Work and have been quoted in a number of publications including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Inc, CIO and others.
I have an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Boston University.

Looking back, what are the top 3 lessons you learned as a founder?

 

1. People and culture are the most important factors.

2. Make your customer's problems your problems.

3. Grit is essential.

What attracted you to join Ambit as an adviser?
I had met and grown to respect Greg while I was still CEO of VoloMetrix and was excited to hear that he was starting something new. When he showed me Ambit, something clicked. I've spent most of the last decade of my life helping organizations measure communication patterns as predictors of success - and these patterns can be highly, highly predictive. However, mostly we are just looking at volume of communications and typically aren't able to get into the actual quality of communications. The approach Ambit is taking gets to that next level. We, as humans, are fundamentally social creatures and our ability to communicate with one another effectively is what makes or breaks our relationships - be they personal, organizational or even societal. Creating a technology that can meaningfully improve the quality of communications could have a huge impact on the world and it's exciting to see Ambit doing just that.

How do you see what we are doing evolving in the workplace?

Imagining a world in which people go to work and all communication is effective, inclusive, collaborative and enjoyable is pretty inspiring. Unfortunately it's very far from the norm in most companies today and I believe this is one of the primary reasons most people are disengaged in their jobs. Ambit could become not only an essential tool for training people to be more effective communicators, but could also potentially be built into very the tools and spaces people use to communicate providing real-time feedback loops enabling continuous improvement.
 

Why is decoding human connection in the workplace through data important? 
Human connection is a pretty fuzzy concept... most people would agree it's important, and generally know when it feels good or bad, but it can be very tricky to clearly define it or come up with a recipe for how to improve it. My belief is that this is just because, up until now, there has been a lack of useful data to describe it. While there is absolutely room for many different styles and personalities, having good data will help us all learn the pros and cons of different approaches in different situations and give us the foundations to experiment and learn how to be the best possible communicators.

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