Hey Voice Vendor: Hands off my host system!

*This post originally appeared on the Wavelink blog prior to the rebrand in January 2017, when Wavelink, LANDESK, Shavlik, AppSense, and HEAT Software merged under the new name Ivanti.

It amazes me how complex some traditional voice applications are to implement.  Looking at some of the workflow diagrams publically available from these vendors, I’m left scratching my head.  Voice is an additional mode of data capture.  It is the vocal equivalent of pressing a few keys on a device’s keypad or scanning a barcode.  It takes place at the point of activity – where the worker is picking product in the warehouse, for example.  It offers huge productivity gains for the business by making that mobile worker be able to complete tasks faster.  So, why do some voice vendors make it so complex? It baffles me that a voice vendor would require access to make changes to your host system (your warehouse management or ERP system) in order to implement their voice application.  Think about it: at some point, you made a significant investment in selecting the host system that best fit the needs of your business, and now, your voice vendor wants to make changes to it in order to make their system work.  Once they’ve made these changes, they’re locked in.  Every time you want to make a change to your host system software, you now need to include your voice vendor in those discussions (and expect to be billed for their services), to make sure any changes you make anywhere in your host system don’t break their voice application.  That’s frustrating.  To draw an analogy, if I want to have my electrician put a new light fixture in my house, I don’t want to have to pay my air conditioning contractor to be involved – just because the air conditioning system also happens to use electricity. Voice can be implement easily, and much more quickly, when voice is enabled at the point of activity.  With Wavelink Speakeasy, all the voice processing is done on the mobile device.  What does this mean?  From the perspective of your host system, the fact that the data was entered via voice is irrelevant.  As I mentioned earlier, voice is one method of data entry – part of a multi-modal approach to capturing data.  All the voice-enabling technology can take place at the point of activity, just as it does for the other means of data entry.  There is no need for your voice vendor to be touching your host system, nor charging you recurring fees every time you want to make any host system changes.