Almost every other consumer product today is enabled with a smart voice UX such as Alexa.  From audio/video receivers, Blu-ray players, electric switches and lightbulbs, to refrigerators, microwave ovens and TVs, smart voice assistants such as Alexa are ushering in the era of smart devices and appliances.

This transition to voice UX-first interfaces has begun reflecting in our day-to-day lives. Effort-intensive tasks like planning a trip, booking a cab, arming or disarming a home security system or receiving weather information are increasingly a simple question away. Our personal spaces are easier to navigate, smarter and friendlier than ever.

These changes raise an intriguing question: Why isn’t voice UX technology being actively deployed by enterprises? Why don’t business departments  enable Alexa or Google Home to enhance employees’ business activities? The average person spends more than one-third of his life working – wouldn’t it make sense to enable voice UX and get a smart assistant to assist us at work?  

  • “Alexa, are we on target with our revenue goals this year?”
  • “Alexa, what is the current status for cloud migration Project A?”
  • “Alexa, what are the top three features planned for Product X this year?”
  • “Alexa, are there any roadblocks in Project X?”
  • “Alexa, ask Salesforce to create a new lead.”

And the list goes on. By connecting a smart voice UX to relevant data sources, businesses can create an army of updated, smart, personal assistants for their employees.

In fact, several enterprise products have already enabled Alexa, including SAP Concur, Dropbox (which can be integrated with Alexa), Polycom and Salesforce.  

Voice UX at Work 

Here’s a simple scenario.  An executive at XYZ Corp. is heading for an important meeting and wants to be ahead of the curve with real-time revenue targets broken down by all business units. So, he gets help from an Alexa capability enabled within his organization.

User: Alexa, please ask our finance app to break down revenue targets by business units.

Alexa: I’m happy to assist. Who is asking?

User: “John Smith.”

Alexa: Can you please provide the dual authentication code I’ve just sent to your mobile?

User: 12345.

Alexa: Got it! Here are the numbers. Business unit A is up by $0.50 million, business unit B is down by $00.15 million. Is there anything else I can help you with?

User: That’s all I needed – thank you.

Here’s an idea of how Alexa could perform these steps:

voice ux

Reaping the Benefits of a Voice UX Capability

To get started on building a voice interface, businesses need to become familiar with creating invocation names, utterances, intents, slots, etc. Udemy courses are available for learning to build Alexa skills, as is an AWS Skills Kit

When businesses integrate a voice UX-enabled assistant with their business activities, they can realize an array of benefits, including:

  • Greater brand value. 
  • Increased accessibility to real-time information.
  • Personalized voice assistant opportunities.
  • Higher levels of employee efficiency.

Further, using Alexa’s Lambda function, enterprises get access to a serverless architecture that doesn’t require infrastructure to be maintained on the cloud. They can also take advantage of diverse coding practices (node.js, Java, Python, C# or Go) when they write Lambda functions.

Getting Started with a Voice UX

Using the tools now available, building an enterprise-centric voice UX-enabled app is no longer a monumental effort – indeed, with the newly developed tools and services from AWS, some can be built in a day. One way to get started is to survey decision makers, thinkers and doers in the organization on the utterances they would like to see to accomplish an enterprise-level task, prioritize them and begin delivering them as part of your existing projects.

Voice interfaces are the future, both in our daily and work lives. Enterprises that want to boost employee effectiveness and efficiency need to prioritize adding voice UX capabilities to their organizational goals and roadmaps, whether when they’re developing new applications or enhancing legacy code.

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Ramprasad Nair

Ramprasad Nair

Ramprasad (Ram) Nair is an Associate Director at Cognizant in the Cloud Practice, leading cloud assessments and migration projects for various clients.... Read more