Oracle recently announced the availability of Oracle Voice, a smartphone-based virtual assistant designed to work with Release 9 of the Oracle Sales Cloud. Enterprise software applications are perfect candidates for virtual assistants. Notoriously complex and cumbersome, enterprise software is a great target for disruption. With the new Voice technology, Oracle seems to be pioneering the use of specialized intelligent assistants to help users more easily navigate specialized business software applications–in this case a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
In their marketing material, Oracle describes Voice as a “fast, friendly, fun” “Siri-like Assistant.” With the emphasis on “fun,” it seems that the Voice assistant currently has a limited range of capabilities. Designed for sales reps, the Voice app helps reps speed up the process of preparing for and wrapping up sales meetings. According to a blog post from 2014, Oracle partnered with Nuance for the speech recognition software employed within Oracle Voice.
Sales reps can use the Voice assistant to post key insights into the CRM system as soon as they come out of meetings. They can also use the assistant to enter new contacts into the system. The reps use natural language dialog to make their notes. If speech interaction isn’t their preferred method of making updates to the Oracle Sales Cloud application, they can switch to a touch-and-type interface.
To improve the performance of the Voice assistant, Oracle has included many product and industry specific vocabulary items in the Voice assistant’s knowledge base. Siri doesn’t need to recognize words like “Exadata” and “Exalytics,” but Oracle Voice does.
Voice also helps reps update opportunities and add tasks. The Voice assistant prompts the rep for key details. For example, when the rep wants to create a new task, the assistant asks for the due date. Sales reps can also prepare for meetings by using voice commands to access notes, activities, and sales information.
Oracle Voice for Oracle Sales Cloud is one of the first application-specific assistants that I’ve seen in the enterprise software space. SAP offers voice-enabled commands for specific logistics functions and I’m sure there are others. I anticipate that we’ll see many more such enterprise software assistants in the coming years. To see this assistant in action, watch the Oracle Voice demo video.