CIOs believe business will move to a ‘voice first’ strategy

New research from Red Box suggests that businesses will pivot to a ‘voice first’ strategy within the next five years CIOs believe business will move to a ‘voice first’ strategy image

Voice capture in the enterprise will be the next big thing.

However, currently, the majority of businesses are capturing only partial voice data sets and are not making the most of this highly valuable data set, as it is largely inaccessible.

Voice first

A ‘voice first’ strategy will be in place within less than five years, according to research from Red Box. This shows that a clear shift towards recognising the value of the spoken word is emerging — 95% of c-level executives regard voice data as ‘valuable’ or ‘very valuable’ to their organisation.

Despite this, businesses are struggling to capture organisation-wide conversations, suggesting limitations with current call recording solutions and set up. Data siloing is also an issue, with the data being captured being locked away and inaccessible for AI and analytics.

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Richard Stevenson, Red Box CEO, comments on the findings, said: “Today, voice is a critical data set for the digital transformation of the enterprise. It holds much more value than any other means of communication because it conveys context, sentiment, intent, emotion and actions, providing real intelligence and driving valuable business outcomes. The research we’ve conducted is quite astounding, showing how few organisation-wide voice conversations are being captured and how much of that data is inaccessible. This is a significant risk in terms of data silos and a missed opportunity that Red Box is looking to help organisations overcome.”

AI and analytics — only as powerful as the data that fuels it

Advances in transcription, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies has put the value of voice data sets within reach. This will provide organisations with significant business opportunities. However, the data needs to be easily accessible for fuelling AI engines and analytics.

Transcription is important in creating these structured voice data sets to fuel AI engines, but organisations need to embrace an automated transcription service to take advantage of this — currently, fewer than half of the conversations taking place across organisations are being captured.

The most common use cases for transcribing calls or wanting to accurately transcribe calls are for staff training improvements, customer service improvements and compliance. The top three uses for AI cited as security and fraud protection, customer experience, predictive analytics to influence strategy, reduce OpEx and increase efficiency. This shows the clear need for holistic and accurately transcribed data sets and for high quality audio capture in the creation of ‘AI ready’ data sets.

Jon Arnold, Principal of analyst firm J Arnold & Associates, said of the results: “Voice data is currently locked in a complex mix of cloud and on-premise telecom systems and disconnected from the services which can maximise its value. Insight lives across an organisation and high quality and complete structured and unstructured voice data sets are crucial to enabling businesses to benefit from technological advances, such as Artificial Intelligence and sentiment analysis. These are the true value-add for today’s enterprise.”

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Sector-specific results

Various legislation has been introduced into the financial services sector in 2018, including GDPR and MiFID II — financial firms now have to record all interactions with customers (for transparency). As a result, they are already capturing large volumes of voice data and looking at ways to maximise their technology investments beyond compliance.

This industry, often at the forefront of embracing technological change, still has a long way to go when it comes to using voice data for improving customer service, with 35% admitting they are not using AI for customer services at all. This figure is surprisingly high, given that they are trying to ensure they are doing what they can in a competitive market still marred by bad PR in a hangover from the financial crisis of 2007.

Industry experts feel that, while it is unlikely that Esma or the Financial Conduct Authority will abandon the transparency objective because of Brexit, if the UK and the European Commission fail to reach a political agreement that maintains a harmonised financial services landscape, it is possible that the market will soon face the prospect of a new iteration of the MiFID directive.

Retail organisations have advanced further in their utilisation of voice data compared to other sectors, but only half of those using technology to capture and analyse voice data are using that analysis for staff training, staff engagement, customer service and legislation compliance.

Government and public sector organisations lag behind; only 39% of these organisations use technology to both capture and analyse voice data.

“The idea of a ‘Voice First’ enterprise is clearly in the line of sight of the majority of CIOs in the near future, yet few of those that already capture voice data are exploiting its full potential. There is an opportunity to derive real competitive advantage by turning voice data into knowledge to serve customers in the most personalised way and empower augmented employees,” said Stevenson.

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