When we talk about technologies like Chatbots and IVR, people often have the idea that these technologies emerge fully-formed – that they’re integrated into an organisation, used for a few years and then replaced by the next big tech development.
In reality, technology grows and develops over years, regularly morphing into something new, exciting and unexpected and often proving far more valuable than you ever anticipated.
IVR is a perfect example of this phenomenon.
When Julian joined Inform in 2005, the company was focused on providing IVR technology and services. He describes how, to begin with, ‘our teams would listen to the voice files, transcribe them and send them through to the councils who would manually retrieve them and scan/index them and add to the workflow.’ While this was time-consuming, it was still an improvement on previous methods. Over time, Councils introduced digital forms, reducing the amount of transcription required. Today, Inform offers an IVR service where 80-90% of the transcription is automated and transcription receipt is almost real-time.
With IVR, developments were slow, steady and gradual. The technology matured into something far more powerful and valuable than the design originally conceived of.
Chatbots show the same potential. At the heart of this exciting technology are complex AI operations. Many ‘bots make use of machine learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Sentiment Analysis technology. While these tools are still in a developmental stage, AI is clearly the future of digital technology in both the public and private sphere.
This means that, while Chatbots have a clear value to Councils right now, they also contain within them the seeds of the next steps in the digital transformation process. As we develop our AI capabilities, Chatbots will evolve and acquire new abilities, becoming increasingly useful and allowing for greater savings and improved performance.