Indian companies to spend 2.6% of their revenues on building voice capabilities: Cognizant survey

Chennai: Indian companies plan to spend 2.6% of their revenues on building voice capabilities in the next five years, a Cognizant survey revealed on Tuesday. This investment strategy is fueled by high expectations for returns, as they are aiming to drive 6% of their revenue through voice during the same period. “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.

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.

Covid-19 has served as an inflection point for “gradual” to “sudden” voice adoption wherein 92% of Indian respondents believed that 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. “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,” said Bahl.

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The reasons for voice adoption is its quick responsiveness to customers (62%), enabling personalised experiences (58%) and elevating customer service levels (55%). The survey said that 72% of these organisations view AI as a 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. Interestingly, while 15% of respondents in India already have a formal voice strategy in place and in the next one to two years, another 58% of businesses (regional average 50%) will join those ranks, companies are concerned about data privacy.

As many as 91% of the respondents anticipate data privacy to be the biggest roadblock in their voice journey. Further, 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.



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