CRM Meets Speech Technology
Since I began my run as editor-in-chief of this publication in 2000, we've seen speech technology evolve from an emerging technology into an essential mainstream application for successful organizations. With this edition, I pass on the guardianship of Speech Technology Magazine and SpeechTEK to Information Today, Inc. (www.infotoday.com), publisher of CRM magazine. I know ITI is going to bring a tremendous depth of experience and new energy that will be of great benefit to the industry and the people in it. It's a bittersweet moment for me, but one that I believe is necessary for the betterment of the publication.
There are so many people I need to thank, so I will just say a collective thank you to our readers, advertisers, exhibitors, writers, columnists, EAB members and industry friends. It's been a great ride for me and you've allowed me to become a friend. I'll be forever grateful to you.
--- John Kelly
Through our business and technology coverage, the editors of CRM magazine have watched the speech technology industry grow to its mature state today. Based on what we've seen of the industry's technological developments over the past few years, it's a small wonder why it has done so well.
In fact, CRM magazine's latest Service Awards issue (April 2006) honors two companies (one vendor and one customer) for their impressive speech technology initiatives. Interestingly, the only company to receive a Service Excellence Award this year is speech technology vendor Nuance Communications, thanks largely to ScanSoft's acquisition of Nuance. (ScanSoft subsequently took on the Nuance name.) The acquisition positions the combined company as a clear market leader in the speech technology space with a combined deployment of more than 3,000 speech applications.
Plus, the Service Awards issue features a speech solutions category in its Service Elite Awards, which honors customer companies for the impressive returns on their customer service technology investments. This year, Health Net Solutions, a healthcare insurance company, won a Service Elite award thanks to its implementation of Aspect Software's Customer Self-Service solution, a stand-alone IVR platform that also provides speech recognition, text-to-speech, and voiceprint identification. The speech-enabled system helped Health Net achieve some impressive results, such as reduce call volumes into its call centers by 50 percent, save more than $2.2 million in one year, and achieve a 90 percent customer satisfaction rating. Clearly, speech technology has earned its place in the contact center.
Because of the rapid developments in the speech technology industry and their contributions to the customer relationship management industry, speech technology stories are regularly making the pages of CRM magazine and its Web site (www.destinationCRM.com). One recent story ("Microsoft Talks Pretty One Day," July 2006) covers the latest developments with Microsoft Speech Server 2007. Also, look for a feature story on the latest developments in speech analytics and how it's improving CRM strategies in our upcoming August 2006 issue.
The synergies between CRM magazine and Speech Technology Magazine are significant. However, we recognize that speech technology is not only limited to the contact center. So in future issues of Speech Technology Magazine, we'll continue to provide articles covering speech technology trends in consumer electronics, Internet applications and VoIP, security offerings, manufacturing and logistics, and more. It's an exciting time for the speech technology industry and, with the acquisition of Speech Technology Magazine, we're happy to be part of it.
As a company, we hear about all sorts of merger and acquisition opportunities. Most of them are non-starters. They are either outside our domain, or they are bruised and battered properties that we would rather not darken our door. It's a cliché, but reputation in this business really is everything.
When we learned that there might be an opportunity for us to become involved in Speech Technology Magazine and the SpeechTEK conferences and trade shows, however, we pretty much put everything on hold to explore the possibilities. We saw speech technology as an emerging and vital tool in the arsenal of leading-edge companies. But even more importantly, we saw a magazine, trade show, and Web site that were the established and credible communication vehicles for the industry's community of users, vendors, and thought leaders.
We hope the speech technology community will accept the new kids on the block, even though we've only been a block or two away all the time, watching what you've been doing with admiration and amazement. We look forward to working with all of you in the exciting years ahead.
Tom Hogan, Sr.
President and CEO
Information Today, Inc.