Heather Forrester, Director Outright Sales & Solutions, Bell Canada Enterprises

Bell Canada Enterprises is Canada's largest communications company. Through its 28 million customer connections, BCE provides a suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada.

Under the Bell brand, the company provides consumers with solutions to all their communications needs, including telephone services, wireless, high-speed Internet, digital television and Voice over IP. Bell offers information and communications technology (ICT) solutions to Canada's leading large enterprises, small and medium businesses (SMBs) and public sector organizations in Canada and abroad. It is also the trusted technology advisor to Canadian SMBs.

Speech Technology Magazine sat down with Heather Forrester, director outright sales and solutions at Bell Canada Enterprises to discuss the company's deployment of a speech-enabled attendant for internal directories and services.

Q. Why did you deploy the SpeechAttendant System from Nuance?
A.  Bell Enterprise, which consists of more than 5000 employees is a multi-region/multi-lingual organization and with recent initiatives regarding reducing vacant real estate and cutting company-wide capital/operating costs (flexSpace), it became more and more difficult to access employees across the enterprise in real-time.  Subsequently, MAYA allows Bell to call one number to access the entire enterprise group via multiple channels (office, cell, mobile, and pager).  This software simplifies our internal communications and simplifies our processes.  A simpler experience for employees often results in a simpler experience for our customers.

Q. Other than connecting to the person is there anything else the system does for the caller?
A. At this time, Bell uses MAYA as a SpeechAttendant in a "one number to many numbers" configuration.  It provides the caller with a reliable interface and consistent experience to Bell Enterprise.  Furthermore, for mobile workers, it increases productivity by enabling access to Bell Enterprise without securing a connection to the corporate directory.

Q. How much of an impact did your deployment of 'Emily' have on your decision to create 'MAYA'?
A. These are two separate deployments with different objectives using speech technology.  Our overall goal is to look at any and all avenues to simplify process for employees to drive productivity and enhance the experience of our customers.  These are the driving factors when deciding to implement new technologies.

Q. Why give the system a name?
A. Creating an internal "brand" allows people to make a product association with the service.  Implementing a new "speech attendant" doesn't have the same flair as implementing a branded product.

Q. Have you encountered any resistance in employees using this service?
A. At this time, we have not encountered any resistance.  Employees are finding out about the service through word of mouth and we are watching steady increases in use week over week.

Q. What type of internal marketing did you conduct prior to launching this service?
A. We did many things to ensure that Bell Enterprise knew of the solution through broadcast emails, a MAYA contest, announcements at the Sales and Marketing Kick-off rallies, and a ribbon-cutting with our executives and Nuance.

Q. Do you use speech technologies for additional employee productivity purposes at Bell Canada?
A. At this time, MAYA is Bell Canada's only internal speech-technology implemented for employee productivity.  All other speech-technology systems at Bell are for use by our customers.

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