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The Voice Data Gap and How to Close It

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Despite the fact that 95% of C-level executives regard voice data as “valuable” or “very valuable” to their organization, and 76% believe that a “voice first” strategy will be in place within less then five years, less than 50% of conversations are being captured.

This is according to a global survey of about 600 CIOs, general C-suite, and IT management enterprise employees recently conducted by Red Box. Red Box CEO Richard Stevenson says, “We commissioned this research to understand exactly how valuable voice data is to senior IT executives, what timelines they associated with a voice-first strategy, and to understand what, if anything, was holding them back from maximizing the value of voice data.”

The most astounding findings from the research, says Stevenson, relate to how few organization-wide voice conversations are being captured and how much of that data is inaccessible.

What’s Driving the Gap?

The gap here, says Stevenson, is likely driven by history. “Historically, call recording has been viewed as simply part of an organization’s telephony infrastructure, with use cases predominantly around compliance, quality assurance, and optimization of the workforce,” he says.

Today, though, advances in transcription, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning are opening up new possibilities. Perhaps most notably, these technologies mean that no longer must recordings be physically listened to in order to reap their value. AI and machine learning, says Stevenson, “make the value of voice datasets—previously only accessible by listening—realizable, providing organizations with significant business opportunities.”

Closing the Gap

To close the gap, says Stevenson, “organizations need to be able to capture all voice communications from anywhere, irrespective of source—whether that’s telephone, UC, mobile, trading, radio, or contact center platforms, whether legacy or new platforms.”

To move forward, he says, organizations need to consider these questions:

  • What percentage of the conversations taking place across the business are you capturing? Are you missing valuable conversations taking place across different departments/teams?
  • Is your solution reliable and resilient?
  • Are you getting high-quality recordings?
  • Can you get accurate transcriptions of those conversations to create structured voice datasets?
  • Do you have secure access to, and control of, the voice data being captured, or can you only leverage this within a specific application stack or those your provider considers to be complementary partners?
  • Does your current provider offer open APIs so that you can feed voice data into the tools and applications of your choice to deliver the business outcomes you need?

But before moving forward, as with any type of new business venture, organizations need to think strategically about how they will use the voice data they capture.

Thinking Strategically About Capturing Voice Data

Tracy Malingo, former president of Next IT Corporation and the current head of product strategy at Verint Intelligent Self-Service, says that before you can make effective use of voice data, you need to understand why you are collecting it. “Many organizations have been scared into collecting customer data—whether that’s voice or chat or something else entirely,” Malingo says. “But they haven’t yet articulated a business need for the data to map back to.” Instead, she says, too often organizations will begin collecting the data, thinking that later they can analyze it and determine how to use it to improve business decisions.

That, she says, is ineffectual and leaves organizations with “huge data lakes.” She points to research from Gartner which estimates that 80% of data lakes are inefficient.

The way to solve this, she says, is to develop a voice-first strategy that is fairly straightforward. Identify the areas in which you think voice data can help you. Formulate a specific business question. Set up your data capture systems accordingly.

Technology is not the answer—it’s a tool. Those who jumped feetfirst into the Big Data revolution quickly found this out. When considering how to close the voice data gap in your organization, it pays to start with the end goal in mind.

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