Indian organizations banking on voice technology for stronger business growth: Survey

72% of Indian organizations view AI as a catalyst behind a successful voice strategy

Indian organizations banking on voice technology for stronger business growth: Survey - CIO&Leader

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted voice strategies into high gear and that this could be the ‘technology moment’ for voice, according to Cognizant’s Future of Work survey.

To learn more about how organizations are preparing for a brand landscape dominated by voice, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work surveyed 1,400 top marketing and IT executives at leading companies across 10 countries in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, including India. The objective of the study was to gain insights into the changes companies are making to take advantage of voice technologies, investments they are making, and the challenges to overcome. With headcounts ranging from 2,500 to 15,000 employees, the respondents represented 10 industry sectors: financial services, healthcare, insurance, travel & hospitality, telecom, media & entertainment, transportation & logistics, energy & utilities, manufacturing and retail.

Key findings among Indian enterprises include:

  • COVID-19: An inflection point for “gradual” to “sudden” voice adoption: 92% of Indian respondents believe the shift from “touch” to “voice” will only accelerate further in the future and 70% (regional average 74%) view voice as important or extremely important for their brand’s future success.
  • Top three drivers of voice adoption: The top three business objectives for voice responding quickly to customers (62%), enabling personalised experiences (58%) and elevating customer service levels (55%).
  • Voice means money: On average, Indian companies plan to spend 2.6% of their revenues on building voice capabilities in the next five years. They have high expectations for returns, as they are aiming to drive 6% of their revenue through voice during the same period.
  • AI is at the core of future voice strategy: AI is the catalyst behind a successful voice strategy. The research highlights that 72% of Indian businesses (vs. regional average of 75%) are keen to leverage AI (natural language processing, machine learning and other AI technologies) for their voice strategy.
  • Voice no longer an optional facility, but a prerequisite for business growth: 15% of respondents in India already have a formal voice strategy in place. However, within the next one to two years, another 58% of businesses (regional average 50%) will join those ranks.
  • Data privacy poses a big challenge: 91% of the respondents anticipate data privacy to be the biggest roadblock in their voice journey. This is followed by the challenges involved in developing a brand voice personality (83%) and shortage of required talent and knowledge (80%). 43% of Indian companies (regional average 40%) are confident about their ability to integrate voice with existing business processes.
  • Concerns about IT infrastructure readiness: While 75% of respondents in India said IT infrastructure readiness is essential for their voice strategy’s success, only 24% are confident in its readiness. Banking and financial services (22%) and insurance (23%) companies are least confident about their IT infrastructure readiness to support real-time voice experiences.

Interesting trends from APAC and the Middle East:

  • BFS (80%), Retail (78%) and Manufacturing (76%) are the top 3 industry sectors where voice interfaces are considered to be important or extremely important to the future success of brands.
  • Contactless - a primary driver for voice adoption: 93% companies feel that continued interest for contactless interactions will accelerate the shift from “touch” to “voice.”
  • A huge gap exists between IT infrastructure readiness expectations vs. reality. While 75% of the respondents said IT infrastructure readiness is essential for the success of their voice strategy, only 28% are confident about its readiness.
  • 40% of the companies are confident of their ability to integrate voice into existing business processes.
  • 82% of the organizations believe voice will become an important part of the customer experience strategy.
  • 86% of the respondents feel it is extremely important to develop a brand’s voice personality.
  • Top three business objectives for voice: Provide quicker response to customers (65%); offer personalised products/services (60%); improve customer service (57%).
  • Top 3 significant challenges in executing a voice strategy: Data privacy (89%); creating voice-centric content (84%); developing brand Voice personality (81%).

“Future generations, without a doubt, will look back on the virus as an important phase in human history, when voice technology witnessed a staggering rise, thereby triggering a lifetime change. Voice interfaces will expand beyond smart speakers and be embedded in chatbots, applications, products and services. Whether digital or brick-and-mortar, businesses will have to pivot to voice to be heard by their customers in the present and future. Just like companies needed an internet strategy in the ’90s, a search strategy in 2000 and a mobile strategy in 2010, they now need a Voice strategy,” said Manish Bahl, Associate Vice President, Center for the Future of Work, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Cognizant.


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