The 2018 Voice & iPaaS Transformation: Enabling Business Process Automation
Will 2018 be the year of the voice-triggered enterprise?
As we reflect on the importance of the top technology trends of 2017, the mass adoption of advanced speech recognition and personal assistant technologies (Amazon Alexa for Business and Siri) are at the top of the list for cloud communications providers, but I expect that to change in 2018. While voice-based conversational interfaces rightfully received the 2017 technology spotlight for normalizing conversations between humans and computers, we will likely see these devices share their spotlight with Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) in the future. After all, iPaaS is the element making that “speak and it will be done” consumer-style approach to home tasks now applicable to complex workflows in the workplace.
iPaaS is the foundational enabler that unites speech recognition technology with other applications. Through iPaaS tools, companies are able to layer conversational interfaces over virtually any business platform, and technology engineers are now using it to infuse Alexa-like engagement into business technologies. The Amazon Lex chatbot is just one example. Speech recognition is the front-end interface, but it’s iPaaS working behind the scenes to make your mouth the commander of applications. Thus, the seamless coupling of these technologies are the future of our voice-triggered enterprise.
Triggering the Most Complex Workflows from Any Device
But, iPaaS is doing more than just connecting speech technology with single applications. It’s automating complicated multi-application workflows that sit behind the voice commands, making just about anything possible. The functionality goes far beyond simply starting a meeting. With iPaaS, companies can deploy complex integrations among cloud services without the need for coding and infrastructure management. Using drag-and-drop builders, the layman can easily connect applications and create workflows across tools like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Slack, Marketo, Hubspot, Basecamp, Google Docs, Twitter and many others. Masergy is providing these capabilities through its partnership with Cloudpipes, which enables Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) customers to connect over 150 cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications into their cloud communications platform.
I should note, however, that in the future our voice-commanded enterprise will NOT be dependent on Amazon Echo-like devices installed in every office. Instead, desk phones, mobile devices, headsets, and any other tool that can “listen” will be programed to record your voice, transcribe audio files into text, and use trigger words to launch workflows. iPaaS will put the automation power in virtually any device and thus into the hands of every office administrator and knowledge worker.
Use Cases: Enterprise Solutions in Development
Industry-leading companies are already leveraging iPaaS for voice-triggered complex workflows. For example, Masergy is working with its customers to explore capabilities that marry voice recognition, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics to automate back-end sales and marketing functions. The solution “listens” for key commands and performs actions such as creating a new lead record or updating a sales contact.
Other business use cases include:
- Human Resources: Voice-activated functions to manage onboarding and offboarding, including adding, removing, or modifying user account profiles
- Customer Service: Contact center agents can use keywords like “Ship Christmas pajamas #123456 to address XYZ ….” and computer systems will trigger associated workflows, task tickets, etc.
Anything is Possible
iPaaS technology is infinitely applicable, and Masergy’s cloud solutions are customizable by design, so the sky's the limit in 2018. With these tools in their hands, our customers will think of ways to automate their business in ways we couldn't imagine. They will create business macros to automate their processes in their own unique environment, maximizing efficiency and productivity in a meaningful way. This true digital disruption will earn our attention in 2018. In fact, Enterprise Connect 2018, an industry event coming up in March, is slated to spotlight speech technology companies advancing innovative enterprise use cases.
My Prediction: 2018 is going to be an exciting year in business process automation. Voice technologies coupled with iPaaS solutions will more than likely surpass personal assistant devices alone. This year, the most complex voice-activated workflows will share the spotlight.