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This article was originally published on partners.wsj.com.
Like most organizations, Propel Insurance is constantly searching for ways to help its workforce operate with greater efficiency, freeing time to focus creatively on mission-critical tasks. To that end, building on a long-standing relationship with AWS as the company’s cloud services provider to integrate Alexa for Business into workspaces and conference rooms was a natural fit.
“You can walk into a conference room and start a conference by voice,” says Nancee Winslow, chief information technology officer at Propel. “You can end a conference or schedule another one. We have it integrated with our calendaring system as well.”
But voice-enabled conferencing is just a starting point. Winslow believes the potential for the development of Alexa for Business as an enterprise tool is significant—and Propel is working to integrate the service into its ticketing system and more than 500 workspaces, helping employees find a variety of efficiencies.
“There are so many things that seem small, but add up,” Winslow says. “Let’s say you’ve got somebody keeping a list for you. With voice, you can instantly have that list read back or set a reminder to get ahead of an upcoming deadline.”
And in the insurance business, where personal connections are critical, the ability to have a voice-based assistant capable of collecting and retaining customer-specific notes is invaluable. Winslow is particularly excited about creating opportunities to integrate Alexa for Business into cars.
“One of our top salespeople is extremely detail-oriented. So to remember what sports team a customer likes, where they grew up or their birthday, she can get into her car, say who she just met with and set reminders about that relationship,” Winslow says. “Instead of taking copious notes, she can use that time in the car with Alexa for Business as her personal assistant.”
Meanwhile, there’s the ability to create skills specific to the needs of Propel, covering everything from HR questions and simple office management to reference guides for insurance-related complexities. And unlike other interfaces, the learning curve is minimal, meaning adoption rates and satisfaction are higher.
“It’s so straightforward that you can literally ask a question and get the answer in seconds. There’s virtually no training,” Winslow says. “It’s hard to get pushback on that.”
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