James Kippenberger, UK sales director for BigHand, explains how housing providers can get more done by installing voice productivity software (VPS). Used by thousands of organisations around the world, VPS enables end-users to record, edit and send voice files or verbal tasks via smartphones to office-based resources and access round-the-clock outsourced services. VPS recordings submitted via smartphones, such as the Blackberry, instantly enter the office workflow, and are tracked via status updates, priorities and alerts. In our experience, VPS helps organisations to expedite the document production process, reduce support and hardware costs, and improve customer service.
What is voice productivity software?
Digital dictation workflow and speech recognition systems have replaced analogue dictation equipment for many organisations in recent years, and are now seen as ‘voice productivity’ solutions that address outmoded document production processes and inefficiencies in task management. Analogue tape equipment creates backlogs and delays in administrative processes and therefore restricts efficiency. Furthermore, analogue dictation prevents true wireless mobile productivity as users need to physically hand tapes to assistants or secretaries when they return to the office or pay for courier services.
VPS is proven to help public-sector organisations increase efficiency while reducing overheads, plus enabling further convergence to a single device for multiple purposes. Offering both mobile and desktop access, VPS enables end-users to:
- Record and edit voice files, dictations or verbal memos-to-self;
- Send work verbally to office-based administrative support from any location;
- Mobilise staff by using VPS for smartphones;
- Outsource dictation securely to a transcription agency;
- Delegate tasks to team members faster via voice;
- Live progress tracking of work assigned to individuals or teams;
- Prioritise urgent work or set alerts to ensure important items get expedited;
- Share work with central administrative resources, maximising internal capacity;
- Control overall daily workload and tasks.
How does it work?
Voice technology enables authors to record bite-size chunks of dictation, instructions or memos via a smartphone, and instantly submit them to office-based or third-party outsourced support from wherever they are. The instant transfer of audio files removes the peaks and troughs in workflow caused by tape dictation methods, expediting the document creation process and improving customer service.
As each recording is submitted, the relevant assistant or team is alerted to the work, and any priority or due by settings associated with the file are flagged. Each individual can therefore easily see how many recordings have yet to be completed, the length of each and deadlines for the work. The ability to review work holistically encourages a work-share culture and items are therefore completed faster.
Tape equipment hides the volume and priority of work created, restricting the efficiency of support staff. Authors often record multiple files on a single tape, so that assistants are unable to easily share work among colleagues who may have spare capacity. Furthermore, during times of annual or sick leave, piles of tapes are often found on desks and expensive temporary cover may have to be brought in to help manage the backlog.
VPS enables administrators to review the volume of outstanding work, and simply ‘drag and drop’ audio files into other users’ folders, making full use of available resources to ensure all work is completed within the desired timeframes.
What are the benefits?
The productivity and commercial benefits of VPS for public-sector organisations include the following:
- Removes the cost of purchasing and maintaining expensive analogue equipment;
- Device convergence removes the need for specialist mobile dictation hardware;
- Administrative collaboration removes the need for temporary secretarial cover;
- Hosted versions remove the need for servers and associated internal IT costs.
- Work-in-progress tracking improves task management, prioritisation and control over workload;
- Workflow helps to smooth peaks and troughs of work;
- Instant submission of sound files expedites the document production process;
- Faster document turnaround times improve customer service;
- Improved team working across teams and offices.
- Confidential workflows and ‘ethical walls’;
- Mobile/desktop communication uses smartphone security;
- Remove the risk of losing analogue tapes or deleting recordings.
Many housing providers and local government agencies are already experiencing the benefits of switching from analogue dictation equipment to digital workflow technology, and those housing providers yet to do so should not be too far behind.
James Kippenberger is UK sales director for BigHand.