The popularity of Siri and Alexa among consumers may be inspiring more businesses to consider launching a voice technology initiative, but 33 per cent admit they have yet to use it on the job themselves, according to research from Globant.
According to the IT firm’s 2018 Voice-Activated Technology Business Guide, which was based on a survey of more than 650 senior-level decision-makers in February, just over half, or 55 per cent, say they are ready to use tools similar to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to improve internal operations. The biggest area of potential value among respondents was customer service, cited by 34 percent. Less than a quarter, or 23 per cent, said they could see voice-activated technologies creating more conversational ways to connect with people.
The Globant team recommended companies think about their most manual or labor-intensive activities to figure out the right use cases for voice-activated technologies, acknowledging these may be less exciting as those that dominate the consumer realm.
“While a current fulfillment specialist likely needs to separately identify, order and communicate missing inventory, voice empowers a more streamlined experience,” the report’s authors offered by way of example. “The employee would simply announce the product in question, and then the voice system would log the event, place an order in real time and update inventory numbers across all touchpoints.”
There are already enterprise options for those eager to move forward with such ideas. Last year, for instance, Amazon launched Alexa For Business at its AWS Re:Invent conference, and IBM has been working with clients on custom applications.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Webmetrix Group CEO Imran Tariq said Alexa For Business uses simple voice commands to set up meetings, control equipment and other tasks.
“It also can report to the IT department about broken printers, etc.,” he said. “Looking longer-term, I feel one of the biggest value propositions of voice assistants will be the ability to automate mundane processes.”
As might be expected, the majority of the Globant report’s respondents said they are still in the “discovery” phrase of the buyer journey towards voice-activated technologies, with 37 per cent saying they were putting one to 10 per cent of their budget towards an investment in the right tools or applications. Thirty-five per cent of those surveyed, meanwhile, admitted they are using a strategic approach similar to what they’ve used with other technologies as they evaluate voice.
That said, there is undoubtedly a certain cache in using voice. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they typically think of companies that offer voice interactions as more sophisticated than those that cannot. A third, or 33 per cent, also said they believe voice-activated technologies could be their biggest differentiator.