Is Alexa your next business hire?

By Alastair Brown

Artificial intelligence and voice technology have become a big business, with sales of the Amazon Alexa reaching over 10 million (CIRP, 2017). The majority of these sales have been to people who want to use Alexa in their home, with “skills” allowing people to order pizza or book a taxi via voice command. But with all this interest, what does the virtual assistant, Alexa, hold for the modern workplace and HR?

Here at people management software company, BrightHR we have taken the home concept of Amazon Alexa and adapted it to the office environment by considering the everyday needs of business owners and HR professionals. When BrightHR integrates with Alexa, it becomes a digital office assistant that will answer absence related queries such as, “”Alexa, ask BrightHR who is out today?” and “Alexa, ask BrightHR is Dave out on October 23rd?””

Using cutting-edge technology like this is great for start-ups and small businesses that don’t have an in-house HR function or professional in their workplace to deal with absence related issues. For businesses that do have HR professionals, a virtual assistant can bring relief and improve mundane HR tasks such as absence management by increasing speed and providing greater consistency in answering frequently asked HR questions. As a result, this frees up time to focus on what HR do best: nurturing and working with talent.

There’s also no need to switch to browsers or open an app either. People can keep working while they ask Alexa a question. At the heart of this is the drive to reduce people workloads. Voice is a much more natural way to interact and if voice technologies continue to develop further this is likely to transform the way businesses interact.

At BrightHR HQ on top of keeping up to date with who’s out of the office, Alexa is also being used as a brew roulette where it decides who’s turn it is to make teas and coffees for their team, this is decided by simply saying “Alexa, ask BrightHR brew-lette.

With the fast paced and ever evolving world of business going through huge technological changes, it is important that businesses employ and effectively apply the power of artificial intelligence and voice technology. The technology is there. Alexa is ready. Is your business?

Alastair Brown is Bright HR Chief Technical Officer