Bernie Hannon, founder, Speech Technology Associates
Why start Speech Technology Associates (STA)?
We saw the enormous, and largely untapped, potential behind speech recognition technology in the marketplace. Based on our experience in the industry, we knew that with the right amount of focus and commitment to the technology and to specific areas of customer needs, STA could easily add the value that clients are looking for in an applications development and systems integration company. We believe that clients and vendors aren't looking for us to be the best at everything. Telling them that we can do everything is unrealistic and they know that. The want to know those things we excel at and how that helps them. Our focus and commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction is the key to their and, ultimately, our success.
What types of customers are you serving?
Most of our clients represent mid-large size enterprise businesses. They come from the financial services, healthcare, utilities, manufacturing and distribution and retail industries. Most have used and have benefited from IVR technology in the past and their applications nearly all custom-developed. They like having their IVR applications meet their unique requirements rather than having to change the way they do business just to meet the requirements of a particular application. They know enough about speech recognition technology to also know that it is something they need in their businesses. What they don't seem to know is where to begin. There are so many choices, so many paths that can be followed. Our clients look to us to be their advisor; to help them understand what they need to know; to develop the business case and the ROI analysis necessary to sell the solution internally so that they can begin to take advantage of speech recognition technology as soon as possible.
So Nuance is a strategic partner and you are reselling the Nuance Voice Platform; why this focus instead of being partner 'agnostic' with your technology and platform partners?
As I said earlier, we know that we can't be all things to everyone. What we have done is to specialize on what we think is the best overall platform for IVR-based speech recognition technology, and the one that offers our clients the most value for their money, the Nuance Voice Platform. Our team knows this platform front and back, inside and out. Furthermore, we know Nuance very well and the relationship we have with them is strong. As businesses committed to innovation and customer satisfaction, we share many of the same principles and values. In fact, much of the value our clients realize comes as a direct result of our specialization on the Nuance Voice Platform and our relationship with Nuance itself.
How can you obtain significant ROI performance for your clients?
This is done in several ways: First, we take the time to fully understand our client's business problems and challenges, a process in the industry called "discovery". It can be time consuming, but without it, it's virtually impossible to provide an accurate ROI analysis and the applications that ultimately solve the business problems at hand.
Next, we employ the use of modular components in the application development process. These are application building blocks made up of a combination of VXML code, grammars and business logic designed to perform a specific task within the application. Because they've been pre-built and tested, we know they already meet our stringent requirements. Our clients benefit from a reduction in the time and therefore the cost associated with application development and testing, which can be two of the most expensive parts of any speech recognition project.
Our clients ultimately end up with a customized solution that takes less time and costs less than a custom solution built from the ground up, and without feeling like they have been force-fitted into a packaged application previously built for someone else.
Why should a customer choose STA over one of your competitors?
STA is committed to speech recognition. We're not burdened with supporting a legacy base of older, touch-tone systems and applications. We're not challenged by having to keep a technical staff current on multiple vendor's hardware issues, programming tools and programming languages. We don't position solutions to clients based on who offers us more money to sell their product that particular quarter. Simply put, we've done our homework and have selected the best technology in the speech recognition market today to offer our clients, the Nuance Voice Platform. We believe our strong working relationship with Nuance together with our expertise on the Nuance Voice Platform is unequaled in the marketplace. Clients seeking a solutions provider who knows the technology, takes the time to get to know them and their business, and has the support of the vendor to get the job done, will see a relationship with STA as an easy choice to make.
Where do you see STA being five years from now?
STA will continue to build our expertise in speech recognition by growing and expanding our strategic relationship with Nuance and other key technology partners in the industry. These companies will share the same vision as STA, knowing that the real power behind speech recognition technology is only just beginning to be realized. The potential to leverage speech recognition technology across our client's entire business operations is still in its infancy. Even now, Speech recognition is beginning to go outside the client's contact center. Virtually every contact portal, offering every possible opportunity to communicate with customers and employees alike, will be speech-enabled. In five years time, STA will, on our client's behalf, have found and delivered many more ways to extend the value of their investments in speech recognition to their businesses.
Bernie Hannon President Speech Technology Associates, Inc. Now You're Talking!!! Office: 978-692-5289 Cell: 978-846-1328