Interesting article from SpeechTechnology “With Hard Work Comes Prosperity”.
Published by Leonard Klie, posted Jan 10, 2010.
Sweet for Self-Service
The financial results seen by these companies are typical of the speech industry in general, which by and large weathered the financial storm much better than most other industries. And inside the speech industry, perhaps no segment fared better than the interactive voice response (IVR) market.
“2009 was a great year for self-service—both voice as well as Web-based” says Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting. “Even with the recession, there was a lot of investment in self-service IVR.”
Fluss expected the total IVR market to reach $2 billion by the end of the year.
Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan was also bullish on IVR. At the start of the year, when the economy seemed at its worst, the firm surveyed call center operators to gauge their interest in and plans for speech technologies during the next 12 to 18 months. At the time, 17 percent said all new applications they implemented would have speech only, 52 percent planned to adopt applications that combined speech and touch-tone, and 31 percent said they had no plans to adopt speech.
“We did that research at the beginning of the year, when things looked their darkest and the economy looked its bleakest, and there was still a significant uptake in speech planned,” says Keith Dawson, principal analyst for information and communications technologies at Frost & Sullivan. “There was a marked increase in the number of contact centers willing to front-end their customer-facing applications with speech.”
And though the final year-end numbers are not available, Dawson expects his firm’s predictions to hold true. “I do not anticipate any kind of change,” he says. “One of the results of the economic downturn will be an increase in [the use of] IVR technologies. The industry has gotten the message through that speech self-service is a real viable tool for reducing costs and improving relationships with customers.”
According to Drew Kraus, research vice president at Gartner, speech-enabled IVR vendors reaped the benefits of a major shift among their customers toward cost reductions. “It was very much a focus on how a speech IVR can reduce costs. They wanted to see how it can save them money,” he says.
Most of the money that filtered into the speech arena came in during the second half of the year, Kraus adds. “In the early going we saw a lot of planning [and] companies prioritizing what applications they would buy when they got the money. Toward the end of the year, the money started to loosen. We saw a lot more activity in speech, probably double what we saw in the first half of the year.”
A great part of that, as well, has to be from the increase in hosted offerings. Last year will go down in the annals of speech history as the time hosting took over the industry. For the first time, hosted solutions and managed services accounted for more than half of all deployments.[…]