New research reports businesses will pivot to a ‘Voice First’ strategy within five years


Red Box, the platform for voice, has announced the results of a global survey of CIOs, general C-suite and IT management enterprise employees into their views of voice capture in the enterprise, showing the majority of businesses are capturing only partial voice data sets and are not able to make the most of this highly valuable data set as it is largely inaccessible. 

More than three quarters (76%) of those surveyed believe that a ‘Voice First’ strategy will be in place within less than five years showing a clear shift towards recognising the value of the spoken word, and almost all (95%) C-level executives regard voice data as “valuable” or “very valuable” to their organisation. 

Despite this, fewer than half (49%) of organisation-wide conversations are being captured, suggesting limitations with current call recording solutions and set up. Furthermore, more than half (51%) of the data being captured is locked away and inaccessible for AI and analytics.

Richard Stevenson, Red Box CEO, comments on the findings: “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

Recent advances in transcription, AI and ML make the value of voice data sets realisable (previously only accessible by listening), providing organisations with significant business opportunities, however only 8% of those surveyed claim their voice data is easily accessible for fuelling AI engines and analytics. 

Whilst businesses recognise the value of transcription in creating structured voice data sets to fuel AI engines, only 52% were benefiting from an automated transcription service, which is compounded by the fact that they are capturing fewer than half of the conversations taking place across the organisation in the first place. 

The most common use cases for transcribing calls or wanting to accurately transcribe calls are for staff training improvements, customer service improvements and compliance, and the top three AI use cases seen to be enhanced by voice data are cited as customer experience such as sentiment analysis, security and fraud protection, and 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.”

Secure and Open

When considering security and accessibility to the data, 85% of businesses consider complete control and secure access to voice data to be “imperative” or “very important”. 84% of organisations express that it is pivotal to their voice strategies to have an open API approach, allowing freedom and options, feeding voice data into tools and applications of their choice and, crucially, not tying them to one provider. These could include CRM, compliance, business intelligence, AI and analytics tools, or even custom-built applications. 

Sector-specific results

Various legislation has been introduced into the financial services sector in 2018, including GDPR and MiFID II, which sees financial firms having to record all interactions with customers (for transparency) so 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 as a result 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. Yet nearly half of those surveyed (47%) cite they are currently unprepared for future legislation, despite having a host of technological tools to help them.

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. 

Stevenson concludes: “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.” 

Survey conducted by Sapio Research for Red Box, asking 588 IT Directors or C-level executives responsible for IT across UK, US and Singapore. For methodology on the research, please contact Sapio on +44 (0) 20 7236 1604.

Add a Comment

No messages on this article yet

Editorial: +44 (0)1892 536363
Publisher: +44 (0)208 440 0372
Subscribe FREE to the weekly E-newsletter