Automating Communications

How secure is your field of business? Are you likely to be offering the same services in five, ten, or even twenty year’s time? When we go into business we may expect some changes in product or service offering but we generally see these as being minor changes within an ongoing business model.

However, last year a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte predicted that 35% of current occupations will have been replaced by computerised solutions in 20 years time. Now those same researchers have taken their work one step further to look at the possible consequences of such changes both for the workforce and for business.

On the plus side this latest research indicates that whilst comparatively low paid jobs are being lost to technology, they are being replaced by higher skilled non-routine occupations. According to the research, over the last 15 years 800,000 low skill jobs have given way to technology but 3.5 million new jobs have been created.

Helpfully, in reporting this latest research the BBC has provided an interactive guide to 365 different occupations and the likelihood of them being replaced by technological solutions. Interestingly, whilst publicans, education advisers and healthcare workers are amongst the more secure occupations, telephone sales people appear at the top of the list with a 99% chance of being replaced by automated technologies. Telephonists also fair comparatively badly with a 96.5% chance of being replaced.

Of course these occupations are painted in fairly broad terms and we would argue that whilst some telephony duties are fairly routine others require a high degree of interactivity. But it is true that technological advances have enabled businesses to make the best use of automated telephony systems, freeing up their employees to undertake more interesting duties.

For example, virtual switchboards can provide all the functionality of a traditional PBX at a fraction of the cost. Call pathways can be programmed and reprogrammed quickly and simply to reflect changing business requirements with calls being transferred according to preset parameters. If the caller select option is chosen, calls can even be handled based on the telephone number of the person calling. In fact, the system can even be set up with individual messages to be played to callers based on their phone number; a feature which may prove extremely useful either in disaster recovery scenarios or when the business is running a targeted marketing campaign.

The Oxford University/Deloitte study concludes that technology driven change has not only created additional jobs, it has contributed to an increase in average earnings. Similarly, making the most of automated telephony solutions could help businesses to free staff from routine tasks, thereby enabling them to have more positive and informed interactions with customers and to play their part in developing and growing the business.

Written by Alison