SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Joe Baird
As Vice President of BroadSoft Hub, Joe Baird is responsible for the product management and development of the BroadSoft Hub...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Joe Baird | October 11, 2017 |

 
   

How Contextual Intelligence Solves Workforce Information Overload

How Contextual Intelligence Solves Workforce Information Overload Enhanced situational awareness about other people, communications, interactions, processes, and information helps users work smarter.

Enhanced situational awareness about other people, communications, interactions, processes, and information helps users work smarter.

Inundated with a suffocating volume of emails, messages, tasks, files and meetings, the typical worker now spends a good portion of the week just searching for and gathering information. This productivity roadblock is due in part to the phenomenal growth in computing performance, communications options, and social interactions overwhelming their ability to consume information scattered across disparate cloud applications.

As a knowledge worker, you know the information you need for each conversation or meeting is located somewhere, but the burden is squarely on your shoulders to wade through all your cloud applications to find it in an efficient and timely manner. The inability to do so is why workers spend so much time on the orchestration of work, rather than on the work itself.



Click to the next page for an infographic on how contextual intelligence can solve workforce information overload

To overcome this limitation, workers need "contextual intelligence" (CI), a "digital sixth sense enabled by a personal cloud of devices, applications and information," as described by Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm executive chairman. CI enhances a user's situational awareness about people, communications, interactions, processes, and information in order to offer actionable content.

Examples of technology vendors building CI into popular business and personal cloud applications suggest growing consensus on the need to shift the burden away from workers. LinkedIn recently unveiled a form of CI for its Messaging feature. The LinkedIn Messaging window suggests contacts to reach out to depending on site navigation. Browsing a job listing at Google might display a connection who works at Google or a "friend of a friend" who works there that could make an introduction. LinkedIn refers to this as "contextual insights."

More than half of LinkedIn's members utilize the feature each week, but to date it existed as a siloed window, not connected to whatever other searches or actions the member might be engaging in on the site. Now the Messaging window travels with the member as he or she navigates to group pages, job listings, etc.

LinkedIn is just one of many examples of how cloud business innovators are building CI into applications to enable smarter conversations, meetings, searches and, at a higher level, work. For businesses, CI should be leveraged in three key stages.

Stage 1: People Context
People context delivers on-demand information, enhancing a user's situational awareness of the immediate environment. Within a single application, users can access documents, emails, action items, events, or various applications, and then share the information with others while in conversation. For the mobile workforce, people context brings physical and virtual worlds together by presenting the user with real-time information relevant to their physical, in-person situation -- whether that's a meeting, conference, or a sales pitch.

Stage 2: Business Context
Business context extrapolates information based on a deeper understanding of relationships between people, processes, and information, as well as predictions derived from prior behavior and experiences. This includes presenting information based on predictions of user intent -- recommending additional staff members for a project based on optimal skillsets, identifying new information based on the perceived direction of the collaboration, and offering other anticipatory assistance, such as instant process validation.

Think about talking on a mobile phone to a sales prospect while riding the subway. Right now you have no easy way to quickly access the information that could help close the sale -- but through CI, you could receive the information relevant only to that person and meeting topic, based on the perceived direction of the call. For this example, CI could anticipate that you'd eventually need access to product collateral or a history of past messages exchanged and files shared with the prospect.

Stage 3: Learned Context
Learned context continuously improves the user experience by incorporating end-user feedback as well as responses to and interactions with information identified as contextually relevant. This means the contextual engine learns to deliver the relevant information based on users' feedback and preferences. In effect, this transforms the previous two stages from an algorithmic to a machine learning-based contextual engine.

Advances in CI -- and in some respects artificial intelligence -- will deliver on the vision of learned context faster than we might expect. But to achieve Stage 3, a few things need to happen:

  • First, enough data must be available. As we all know, this is not an issue in the enterprise. In 2017, the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will reach 269 billion, according to an email statistics report by technology market research firm The Radicati Group. What's more, this number is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.4% over the next four years, reaching 319.6 billion by the end of 2021.

    In addition to documents, presentations and spreadsheets, we also need to account for all the unstructured data residing in business apps such as Salesforce, Workday, Evernote, and so on. From 2014 to 2016, the number of applications that employees use grew 25%, according to a Forrester Research study commissioned by Sapho. Equally problematic is the time spent toggling back and forth between apps and work tasks.

  • Second, machine learning requires labeling this data so proper inferences are possible. Advances in computing technology allow for the quick processing of large amounts of text, images, and other data, eliminating the need for individuals to manually and inconsistently label data. For example, neural networks powered by Nvidia's Tesla P100 chip, released last year, can learn from incoming data 12 times faster than was possible using Nvidia's previous best chip. This is a greater rate of improvement than predicted by Moore's Law.

  • Finally, the contextual engine will need to be trained to recognize relationships between people, processes, and information in order to produce accurate predictions. If its suggestions are adopted, the CI can monitor without any direct feedback from the user. The resulting outcome is continuous refinement of the contextual engine.

CI is redefining our relationships with people, processes, and information with new applications that leverage these emerging capabilities. As these applications become easier to use and widely adopted, we will begin to see step-level improvements in business processes that reduce the burden on people to search and correlate information to their business context. And, in turn, these improvements will deliver significant boosts to business productivity and performance.

Click to the next page: Infographic, "How Contextual Intelligence Solves Information Overload"





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.